The cod is one of the most frequent fishes here and can be found in almost all sizes. Cod is caught from minimum 47cm up to 120cm, in which specimen of more than 1m are not the rule.
Most of the caught cod weigh between 3 kg and 5 kg. To catch bigger cod, you should locate shoals of smaller coalfish and angle beneath that. Most frequent lures are pirks and shads. Cod can be caught the whole year off Bessaker.
The coalfish, also known as saithe, is probably the most frequent found fish in our area, representing especially the smaller specimen in great numbers. Fishes with a weight of up to 1 kg swim around in big shoals, being the food for bigger fish, which like to stay under those shoals.
At Bessaker coalfish can reach a length of up to 1.20 m. But those fishes are quite rare. Specimens of up to 1 m length are caught every year, but not in great numbers. Coalfish can very good be caught by using artificial bait – pirks – and shads. Going for fishes of the 2 kg up to 6 kg class is possible from mid of April and might continue up to November.
The pollack is a very frequent species here as well. It has been caught off Bessaker already with weight up to 12 kg, but it is not the rule here. Pollacks weighing 9 kg or a bit more are caught every year, but not so frequently. Average is between 2.5 kg and 5 kg.
Any lure – pirks, rubbermakks, shads and also natural bait can be used. Main season for pollack fishing is the summer, but depending on the weather conditions and the water temperature, it will be already successful from March onwards until November.
Haddock is not so often to catch as cod, coalfish or pollack in the region of Bessaker, but is caught in sufficient quantities. The shoals stay often closer to the shore and not at all so far outside.
Haddock can be caught very well with natural bait as lugworm, shrimp or small pieces of fish. Specimen of 4.5 kg and 85 cm length have been caught here, however those fishes are an exception and quite rare. Normally the haddock here reaches 45 cm to 65 cm. The haddock can be caught here all the year round.
Whiting is a very tasty fish, which is not getting too large. Its incidence here is not in large numbers. Whiting is often a by-catch only, when angling haddock or hake. Fishing whiting is very good with natural bait, although greater whitings do not reject a perk.
Whitings up to 65 cm are caught again and again, but the normal length here is between 35 cm and 50 cm. Whiting is caught all year round in our region.
Hake is one of the tastiest fishes you get in Norway, although it is very rare. There are always a few catches over the year, but you should not expect to get one. But if you get one, the surprise will be all the greater.
In the autumn – especially in September and October – the hakes move in shoals closer to the coast in order to spawn. At this time angling is best with natural bait. And, having found the right place, you might experience true great times. We see every year catches up to 1.10 metres – the average size is 60 cm to 80 cm only!
Photo: Av Drow male – Eget verk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5256958
Ling can grow to a large size and is catchable here the whole year round. Off our coast lings have been caught with a length of more 1.75 metres and a weight over 30kg, but it cannot be assumed to catch one of these giants, because catching the big ling is very special and successful at special locations only.
Ling up to 1m is always possible. Ling is often by-catch while using a pirk, but is best caught with natural bait. To angle in greater depth and with bigger bait increases the chances to catch bigger specimen too.
Tusk is very common in our region and reaches a considerable height here. Specimen of up to 1m and 10kg weight has been caught sometimes. The normal length lies between 50cm and 70cm. Unfortunately the tusk has a bad reputation with anglers, since it is often infested with parasites. But this is by no means the case with all tusks.
Tusk has a very good tasting white and firm meat. Best lure is a pirk, even better natural bait. If you are not going for tusk, you should angle a few metres above the ground, because the tusk does not like to leave the ground. Tusk can be caught here all the year round.
This species can be met here very often. There are two kinds of redfish, the small redfish which does not grow longer than 20cm and, for anglers more interesting, the deepwater redfish of about 1kg and 1.5 kg. Specimen of 2kg has been caught sometimes, but this is very rare and Redfish of that weight are quite old.
Redfish can be caught with pirk and “rubbermakks”, but best is with natural bait. Redfish can be caught off our coast from early spring up to late autumn, but the best time is in autumn. An interesting matter concerning the redfish: it has an internal fertilization and spawns free-living larvae.
The wolffish is not very common in our waters, but it is there. Specimen of about 8kg has already been caught. Normal weight is between 1.5kg and 3kg. Best angling is with natural bait like mussel meat or pieces of fish fillet; rare catches with a pirk are known.
Most fishes stay close to the coast, more seldom further out off the coast. Wolffish is catchable from early spring onwards up to June.
Photo: Av Ahnjo – Eget verk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8349349
Monkfish is not as rare in our waters as one may think. But, unfortunately, these species are not well-directed to catch, because they lie on ground in waiting for prey only and do not actively swim to the lure. That means, the lure must hit their mouth or must move very close to it, then the fish normally is snapping for it. Using artificial or natural bait does not matter.
The often catches by luck show, that the stock of monkfish is quite good. There have already monkfish up to 15 kg been angled, but professional fishermen caught much bigger ones. Monk- or Anglerfish can be caught – or better outwitted with a bit of luck – from April until October.
Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=300110
Still a few years ago it was quite rare to see a halibut in the fish-box. That has changed a little bit within the last years. It is still not an everyday matter to catch a halibut, but every year more and more are caught. Most specimens weighing up to 10kg. Even those weighing more than 20kg are caught every year, but in small numbers only. And there are even bigger ones. Our guests have outwitted fishes with no less than 80kg. Professional fishermen even landed halibut with a weight of more than 180kg.
Any bait fitting into the mouth of a halibut can be used. Pirk, shad or natural bait – all can be used. Especially shad is to recommend for use when targeting halibut. Halibut can be caught the whole year round at Bessaker.
Photo: Av Krüger – Illustrations de Ichtyologie ou histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Poissons Bloch, Marcus Elieser, J. F. Hennig, Plumier, Krüger, Pater, Schmidt, Ludwig, Bodenehr, Moritz 1795-1797 (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Offentlig eiendom, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10376975
Bessaker has a very good stock of flatfish and that right on our doorstep. That’s an advantage on those days, when the weather does not allow going on a fishing trip by boat and angling is aimed on flatfish. But this species of fish is very “moody”. That means one day plaice is biting like hell, the other day not a single bite.
Every year plaice is caught of about 60cm and weight up to 3kg, but the normal length caught here is between 35cm and 50cm. Flatfish will exclusively be angled with natural bait, like lugworm, shrimps or small pieces of fish fillet. Plaice can be caught the whole year round.
Photo: Av Arnstein Rønning – Eget verk, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15063287
Everything written about plaice applies as well to flounders. The same fishing grounds, the same baits.
Flounders grow not as big as plaice and are caught up to 50cm. Normal length here is 25cm to 40cm. Flounders can be caught the whole year round.
Last for anglers interesting flatfish species is the dab. Everything written about plaice and flounder applies as well to the dab.
It is the smallest flatfish out of these three. Length: Seldom more than 35cm. Catching time: Throughout the whole year.
The mackerel is one of our “summer guests”. These beautiful fishes may enter our coast in very large shoals. Mackerel is a very popular food fish, but makes very good bait as well. It is caught with weight up to 1.5kg, but most catches are smaller.
Lures used are Mackerel paternoster with small pirks or simply sea trout lures without by-catchers. Mackerel can be found in our waters depending on the water temperature from end of May until October.
Herring is very seldom angled at Bessaker. Professional fisherman land herring in the spring and in autumn, but the quantities caught are quite small. That herring still exists can be seen, when caught coalfish or cod retch out the same fish or the content of the stomach will be examined.
Often young herrings are fed by coalfish and cods. As bait the herring paternoster is used only. Herring is present here all the year round.
Garfish has not been caught here in earlier times, but since a few years these species of fish has been caught regularly here in autumn. The shoals can be watched feeding at the surface and can easily be mistaken for mackerels.
Length up to 80cm is common. Mackerel- and Herring-paternoster as well as sea trout spoon lure are used as bait. Garfish may be caught in August and September.
Photo: Av Krüger – Illustrations de Ichtyologie ou histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Poissons Bloch, Marcus Elieser, J. F. Hennig, Plumier, Krüger, Pater, Schmidt, Ludwig, Bodenehr, Moritz 1795-1797 (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Offentlig eiendom, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10375719
The salmon as a high quality food fish is very much in demand but quite seldom caught. It can be caught in the rivers (with a license only!) during summer, but also off the coast. On the outer banks salmon is mostly caught as a by-catch, when dropping or lifting the bait. Targeting close to the coast is possible as well. Best baits are sea trout lures ore natural bait, such as shrimps, worms or pieces of fish.
Salmon is very “moody”; sometimes you get three in an hour, otherwise no bite for days, even if you can see the fishes. In our waters salmons have been caught up to 10kg, but normally they are smaller and weigh up to 3kg. Catches have been made in early spring and in autumn, but the best time is in summer. The same applies to the sea trout, but they keep smaller. It is caught from to time with weight of about 3 kg.
This chap carries its name at right, because it is really able to grunt. Gurnard has been caught occasionally as by-catch when angling from the shore. It is a rather small fish, but as an exemption, specimens of about 50cm have been caught.
The meat is very tasty and in some countries a delicacy. Gurnard is normally caught with natural bait, such as lugworm, shrimp or small pieces of fish. Greater specimen bites on pirk sometimes as well. Best time for getting gurnard is spring until autumn.
Photo: Av Arnstein Rønning – Eget verk, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15062896
Sculpins are like gurnards small fishes and grow not longer than 35cm. This fish is also a rare shore-angling by-catch and may be caught with the same bait as gurnard.
This spiny chap is not very interesting for the kitchen and may be caught occasionally from spring to autumn.
Wrasses are nice, often colourful shimmering fishes. They are small and grow seldom longer than 40cm. Wrasses are used as cleaner fish in salmon farms, as they remove parasites from the salmons. Wrasses are not interesting as food fish.
In the summer they are occasionally caught as by-catch when angling from the shore. Bait is the same as that used on sculpins and gurnards.