Thursday, December 1, 2016

Season summary 2016

December is here and this means that our fishing season is now officially over for this year. Once again it's been a great year and it feels a bit sad to find out that the season is ended. As always, I will hereby share a longer summary of the season in text and pictures, I hope you'll like it!

This year we were quite busy with attending several sportfishing fairs in early spring, which forced us to open officially a bit later than what we normally would do. The first sportfishing fair we attended was in Karlskrona in mid March. Actually, this fair was arranged by the local sportfishing companys together in a step to develope and secure a healthy pike situation now and in the future.

We also attended Sportfiskemässan in Stockholm just a week later in March. Me and Andreas had a good time talking to many anglers and as always when attending these fairs, our energy on the last day when we got back to Karlskrona was equal to zero. Well worth it though and funny days!

Fishing this year started out very well. It was a warm winter and we only had ice for about two weeks in January. In late February and beginning of March I had some very nice fishing sessions with several days of more than 40 pikes in the boat per day. Also, a few days with several +100cm pikes in the same day.

Since spring came early, spawning started in the middle of March this year. As always fishing gets a bit tricky during a few weeks after spawning process has started. Some guests had really tough fishing during these weeks, while other guests found those right spots with active fish and caught both good numbers and sizes. I remember a session with Philip in the end of March were we caught three pikes over the meter margin and also a few just under the margin. Excellent day!

April was a busy month for us as always but maybe even more this year since Jakob who were suppose to work for us was out of duty and I was more or less alone. With many guided trips on my schedule, and about 80 new anglers coming every week, it was tight to find time for everything. Fortunately, Willy graduated from school and started at our camp in May. A great addition to our staff and very nice to have a guy available that already knows the archipelago and fishing here well.

During more or less whole April, weather was variating a lot. Same as with fishing results. I remember that some groups left us with less than ten pikes in a whole weekend. Just a week later or earlier, a few groups could reach 80 pikes in a day per boat. Several really big pikes was caught by our guests with the biggest ones measuring 117 & 119cm.

May is normally one of our best periods for fishing. This year weather went crazy in May and we more or less lost the after spawn pike fishing inside the bays since temperature went up very fast. About 25 degrees in middle of May with very warm night temperatures as well. Instead of staying in the bays for some weeks, it felt like most fish was moving out from the bays to deeper waters and by that got harder to find and catch. Of course we had some days with superb results in May this year to, but overall I must say that fishing didn't reach my expectations this year.

In the end of May we had some very good days. Both guided trips, guest reports and my own private trips went well. Some days more than well. I remember that the two lasts guided trips in May went very good. A four hour trip resulted in 23 pikes and the next day I had returning guests from Sweden out on a full day trip. We had a nice 105cm pike in the boat that gave one hell of a fight on light equipment. We also had a very big follower in the end of the day that didn't bite but I was going to have the last word with that lady a few days later...

Together with Philip from Stinger Productions I went back to the same area as where I have seen the big fish on the guided trip. I dropped the anchor on the same site and I told Philip "Well, let's catch that fish!", and so we did. Philip striked a big pike after just a few casts and it showed up to be the same fish. How could I know? Well, first of all I did see that the pike had a small wound on its head when it was following our lures a few days earlier. But also the fact that pikes of this size doesn't really show up everywhere and everytime. The fish weighed in at 12,51kg and 118cm! The fish was caught on a BeastlyTail 23 from Renz-Stein lures.

With increased inquiries of fishing packages during peak seasons, we decided to invest in another brand new Master500 boat in the end of May, equipped with 40hp Selva. With this boat in our fleet, we can now proudly offer 20 rental boats. Two of our Master500s is locked as extra boats, in case if any of our ordinary ones would struggle or be unavailable for any reasons. It feels nice to always have a boat ready in case if we need one on short notice.

As always, June - August is a bit of a calm period when it comes to fishing in our area. Our camp is busy during this period with regular camping guests and other holiday celebrators. During these months we arrange pike safari every week for our guests and this year was no exception. Willy helped me out with all these events and of course we have a little "battle" between ourselves since we're going in separate boats. This year, Willy and his boat guests outclassed everyone and won six out of seven safaris when it comes to longest fish. Impressive!

In the middle of June we experienced great fishing! Several times when I went out on my own I had 15-20 pikes in half day trips. My top fish was 104cm when I was out with Philip on a sunny day. The funny thing with fishing in June is that the pikes are very strong, weather is pleasant and you can fish more or less everywhere in the archipelago.

We fast forward to the end of August since July wasn't a very fishy month for us. No time to go out and not to many guests here for fishing purposes only. We had a returning group of guests visiting us in the end of August that had good results. About 85 pikes in a weekend and approx 16-17 degrees in the water at this time. Me and Philip tried our luck a few days in the end of the month as well with OK numbers and sizes. A good start on autumn season for sure!

September is always a busy month for us and for many anglers the favorite month for fishing pike in our area. This year the whole month of September was very warm. I remember several trips in the middle of September when we had about 20-25 degrees and many of our guets actually went fishing in shorts.. in September! Some days offered a bit to "nice" weather. 25 degrees, no wind, locals sun bathing on most islands, some jet-skies driving around. Didn't really invite to good pike fishing possibilities but hey, I guess it's bad to complain about it!

Results variated a lot as always, but I would say that overall, September was a good month. Many guests had good numbers, while others maybe didn't have extraordinary amounts of fish but still left us with a new personal best in size. Several guided trips in September was very good with some +100cm pikes in the boat and some days with more than 30 pikes caught in a day. The biggest fish caught by our guests in September (as far as we know) measured 115cm. In amounts, the best boat in September had a little bit over 90 pikes caught in one day, one boat.

Like most busy periods, time is flying away and suddenly October was reality. This year, most weekends in October invited to big fishing competitions. In the first weekend of October we participated in Blekinge Pike Festival which is one of the biggest pike fishing competitions in Europe. About 600 anglers are starting, almost half of them from Dragsö and the rest devided on three other starting points. This competition is arranged over two days and this year we didn't have the luck with us. No good pikes to report, and no good numbers to cheer for. Next year, maybe! Anyhow, the biggest pike caught during BGF was 114cm.

Continuously, we had a few weekends without big competitions in October and during these dates we had many guests coming for pike fishing. Some days offered very slow fishing, those kind of days when you really need to fight to even reach a handful of pikes. There was also many days in October when you easily could reach 30-40 pikes in a day, or even more. We actually had two or three boats that reported about more than 80 pikes in one day, per boat. I guess the local tackle store Båt&Fiske sold plenty of rubber baits during October...!

In the third week of October the final of Sportfish Masters was arranged in Karlskrona for the second time in a row. This year, the final was arranged over two days with many of the most skilled anglers from Sweden. About 510 anglers were competing for the title and they were doing so in very difficult conditions. Water level was running up and down the days before the final, and rain was pouring down most of the days. Our co-worker Willy did very good with his team Karlskronafiske and actually won the whole final! They were rewarded with a brand new Linder boat, loaded with good stuff, but also a ticket to participate in Youtube series Fly vs Jerk 9 which will be sent in 2018.

November is still a rather calm month for us, if you compare with earlier in the autumn. In my opinion November is a very nice month for fishing since there are less boats on the water, temperature is dropping and the big ladys are located in shallow bays. Last year November was quite warm while this year offered very mixed conditions for us. In the second week of November we got plenty of snow and cold nights. So cold, that many bays were covered by ice for days.

Before those cold nights fishing was good. Very good for some guests and local anglers. Me and Björn Nettelbladt (Nettelbaits) had a good day in the beginning of the month with 55 pikes caught and many more pikes lost. Just a few days earlier I had almost 50 pikes in the boat on a guided trip as well with a meter pike on top. If you find the right spots in late autumn, you can for sure be rewarded big time. During the same days, I know several other boats barely caught a single fish. So sometimes it's very clear that the pikes gather up togehter were the best conditions for living is at the moment.

From the middle of November and onwards we didn't have any guests at our camp for fishing purposes. This is also the time of the year when we pull all of our boats up for service and maintaining. In the middle of November we also shared some great news regarding the boats for next season. We will replace eight of our engines on the boats which will make our boats have 40% new engines, 40% with engines used one or two seasons and the last 20% with engines older than two years but still of good functionality.  

Just a few days ago I also mounted a Minn Kota Terrova with iPilot on our guide boat. For sure about time and a great complement which for sure will increase our results next year.

During 2016 we were visited by anglers from 15 different countries if I remember right. Most of them coming from Sweden (obviously), Poland, Denmark and Netherlands. Some groups also came from Germany, Ukraine, France, Belgium, Slovakia, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Switzerland and Hungary.

Our fishing season is now officially ended but of course we ourselves will be out on the water as long as there is no ice on the water. It's also possible to come with your own boat all year around as long as it is possible to fish.

Well, this is the end of this years summary and for those of you who still are reading, thank you for doing so and I hope you enjoyed it. I want to thank all of our guests, readers, sponsors and cooperating agents/partners for a great season. Camp Dragsö Sportfishing is continuing to grow and you are the biggest reason to it. So thank you very much!

Me myself will continue with making everything ready for spring season and before the next season starts, I will go to Asia for a well needed break. Four weeks without even touching a fishing rod (I think!).

Down below you will see some mixed pictures from this year. Enjoy!

// Daniel Wickman