We have a number of pelagic species in Denmark – the ones primarily hunted are; Cod, Pollock, Sea trout, Sea bass and Mullet. Besides those, there is a bunch of other species – some are just summer guests, and some are here all year long, but rarely sighted.
Mackerel, Herring, Garfish etc., are all here in season – fun to catch, and good to eat.
THE TROUT –
One of the very best fish to eat (in my humble opinion). The trout, is not an easy fish to catch – it takes some skills to sneak up upon it … you have to go 100% Ninja – absolute silence, no splashing with the fins, no hard breathing, and no sudden head moves.
You can catch it doing Aspetto/Aguato along piers, behind rocks/stones, or by sneaking in the surface, in very shallow water – not more than 50cm deep – OR, you can go out at night time, and try to catch it, with the Fishloop (have a look HERE). You can use the Fishloop at daytime, as long as you are in Ninja-mode.
THE COD –
The Cod, is found almost anywhere in Denmark – on/in piers or on reefs. You want to go places with a lot of current.
But in some parts of the country, you have to go by boat to get them. I have a small 14ft Dinghy, that is fine for shorter trips – but for the long haul I prefer a Rib. The local club “Kattegatdykkerne” have such one, and besides that, I’m fortunate to be invited on a trip, on a regular basis.
When you go by boat, it is very common to hunt on wrecks. The narrow water passages of Denmark, is filled with wrecks. A lot of them are on depths, that are possible to get to by free diving.
The Cod hides from seals, in caves and cracks – so this is where you want to look. Bring a flash light, and a short speargun with a reel.
THE SEA BASS –
This is primarily a summer guest – BUT – I have caught Sea bass in every month of the year (at Djursland – where I reside). It is my favorit fish to cook – on the grill – in the oven – over a bonfire … you name it, it just taste sooooo insanely good.
We have a lot of different species of fish and shellfish in the sea surrounding Denmark. Far west, we have the North sea – with high salinity, this is where the overall quality of the fish is best. It is, however, the hardest place to hunt – the water here is rarely calm, the visibility bad, but on a good day, this is Paradise.
The island Bornholm, is the far east of the country – nearer southern Sweden than Denmark, with very low salinity water. This is the only place in Denmark, where you find rocks. Bornholm is especially good for Sea trout and Turbot. Some of the species, like the Corkwing wrasse, grow bigger here, than in the rest of the country.
I am situated on the peninsula Djursland – the nose tip of mainland Jutland. Around here, you can find almost any variety of fish in Denmark. You can always find calm waters, some better that others, but if you want to go spearfishing, you can!
Here I will try to post some of the fish/shellfish that I typically land throughout the year.
First up – the flat ones:
THE FLOUNDER – this is by far the easiest catch for the noob. It can be tricky to find – buried in the sand, but once you learn to spot them, you are in for a treat. Very tasty, plentiful, and since there is almost no commercial hunt on them, it makes it the perfect source for under water hunting.
You can catch the Flounder in water depths from 0(!) to as deep as you can go. Typically hiding in the sand, near a reef, bank of see weed or so.
The flounder, can be recognised by its rough skin, flat body and its slightly oval/pointy shape. The Flounder can have red spots, just as the Plaice, but the flounder has its rough, tough skin – so feel the skin to know the difference. Once you have caught a bunch, it is easy to tell the difference.
Flounder is called “skrubbe” in danish.
THE PLAICE – The slightly bigger, brighter and more expensive cousin. The Plaice, is caught commercially in great numbers. It is however quite common to catch for the spearfisher as well. Just like the Flounder, it hides in the sand, and can be quite hard to spot.
Speaking about spots – the Plaice always has very bright red/orange spots on the upper-side. The skin is smoooooth, and the Plaice also has a tiny bony growth on its gill-plate.
You can catch the Plaice in water depths from 3 meters, to as deep as you can go. You can be lucky to fine one in very shallow water, but the Flounder are more common here.
Plaice is called “rødspætte” in danish.
Here you can see the difference between the Flounder and the Plaice. A stack of Flounders, together with one bright-spotted Plaice on top.
THE BRILL – This quite odd looking fish, is one of the two big flatfish in Denmark. Often weighing between 1 to 5 kg. It is slightly more oval than the other big flatfish – the Turbot. They are the hardest flatfish to spot – sometimes buried totally in the sand, and it is very rarely more than a flick of a tail, or tiny traces in the sand, that you will see from this fish. Sometime, you can be lucky to find a shallow “crater”, where the fish has been hiding – this comes from the suction the fish creates when it leaves its hiding place. If you do, you can follow the direction of the imprint, and if you are lucky, the fish lies not far ahead. It is a very tasty fish, with pure white meat.
Brill is called “slethvar” in danish.
THE TURBOT – This is considered the best tasting flatfish, for some, the best tasting fish overall, in Denmark. I tend to agree, but I like all of the flatfish – there is a place and time for them all. The Turbot has a more diamond shaped body, with small “spikes” all over its skin – in Denmark,
Turbot is called “pighvar” in danish – “pig” meaning spike.
THE DAB – The smallest of the bunch. It often confuses the spearfisher, with its big eyes, it looks big when hiding in the sand, but the smaller body then the rest of the flatfish, it is often a dissapointing experience – BUT – it is however a very very well tasting fish, and they can grow to a decent size. The Dab has visible scales, big eyes, a pointy head, and a white underside with zig-zag pattern.
Dab is called “ising” in danish.
Here you can see the difference between a skinned Flounder and a skinned Dab – I am pointing at the Dab.
THE SOLE (Dover sole) –
The Sole, is the only flatfish in Denmark, that is really feisty – when shot/stabbed, it curls up like an untameable flat, spring loaded, slippery tongue. You absolutely have to kill it with your knife, before you take it of your spear, otherwise you will loose it. Almost impossible to grab a hold of with your hands, even when it is dead. The Sole can grow quite large, and in summertime, it comes in great numbers to the shallow water. Hard to spot at daytime, but lies free of the sand at night.
Whenever you want to jump in the ocean, with the purpose of catching or shooting something to eat, I suggest that you take a lesson or two, from someone who knows how to. There are a few, but very important steps, that will instantly make you a better hunter/gatherer. All over the world, you should be able to find a decent dive-school or shop, where you can learn these first important steps. At dykkerbutikken.dk, situated near Aarhus (DK), we are a handful of teachers, ready to do just that. Here you can buy the full package – all the gear you need + at least 4 hours of proper instructions, at the location, on how to find and shoot/collect the fish/lobster/oysters/shellfish/seaweed/!! you want.
Kleinsub, is a Danish high quality brand, started by Jonas Klein. They handmake spearguns, fins and finblades. Besides that, they sell a variety of other quality uv-hunt related accessories.
I use the Kleinsub V2 carbon fins – they are light weight, medium hardness blade – set up, in a Pathos “Fireblade” footpocket, with the blade in a 24 degree angle. They have enough power to shoot up from the depth in a hurry, and they are vary comfortable to use for the long haul trips as well.
Kleinsub V3 carbon – soft
I recently purchased these. They are very comfortable to wear – a little bit less effective than the medium fins, but good for the long haul trips.
I do a lot of teaching, and for that I use my “diesel-fins” – Omer “Eagleray”. They are very durable, and it is ok for me to jump around, to adjust the clients masks/spearguns, stand on the stony bottom, and so on, without having to worry about them getting smashed.
I mainly use this fabulous carbon speargun – a prototype of the “Ragnarok diablo Fusion”. It is a rollergun, but with the opportunity to use it with different types of elastic band set up. I use it in a Fusion1 set up. That is 18mm bands (25,5cm) on the underside, and 20mm (18cm) on the upper side. Connected with 1,5mm Dyneema, instead of having one long rubber, reaching around on both sides. To make this possible, the Roisub head “PrismaTS” is used.
The gun is a 75’er, Sigalsub trigger, with a 8mm Sandvik spear. In the wintertime, where the rubber becomes a bit more stiff, I use the same speargun with a 6,5mm Sigalsub spear.
Most of the time, the gun is mounted with a Sigalsub reel – with about 30 meters 1,5mm dyneema. This is good for any “soft” fish, and for hunting on wrecks/piers etc..
I hunt in different settings – sometimes just along the beach or at a reef, but once in a while, I go on a pier, to see if I can get myself a cod or perhaps a mullet. I need a shorter speargun, that allows me to search the cracks and caves in the pier. For that, I use my old “Lanara 75” speargun. It ain’t broke, so I dont need to fix it – I have had it for many years … probably bought on a holiday trip to Greece. Equipped with 18mm elastic bands, it packs a quite ok punch, and threaded tip allows me to change the head, if I happen to hit the pier (through the fish, of course).
This is my go to gun no. 1, when hunting in low viz., on wrecks or tight aspetto/aguato on piers. It is also very good, when hunting seatrout at daytime – when you have to sneak up on the trout, and where you often have very little time to react.
The gun is a Pathos Laser Open Carbon 60 – equipped with a KMdive 40 reel, with about 30 meters 1,5mm dyneema.
SPEARGUN IV – OR – THE FISHLOOP II
This is an odd one – but there is a good reason why it came to be:
In August 2019, it became illegal to hunt with a speargun/spear at night. It is still legal however, to hunt at night, using various other kinds of tools. You are allowed to use your hands, a fishing net, or other tools – as long as they aren’t mechanically driven/propelled, and as long as they aren’t “pointy”.
This “creature”, was invented, so that it would still be possible to catch pelagic fish – such as Sea trout, Sea bass, Mullet and Cod.
It has a loop, that allow the fish to swim through it – when you pull the trigger, the loop will tighten up in a spilt second, and gives you a very tight hold on the fish. When used correctly, you can catch any fish, that you can lure into the loop.
It is COLD in the wintertime in Denmark – so the solution is a thick (read: warm) neoprene, on both body, hands and feet.
COLD WEATHER WETSUIT – 7,5mm Salvimar Nebula:
It is made of the wonderful “Yamamoto 39” neoprene. Made, amongst other things, of limestone. Even though it is almost like a 100% smooth skin, it is highly scratch resistant, because of the special surface, made by “burning” the very outer layer of the wetsuit.
Occasionally, it is hot in Denmark too – so, in the summertime, I switch to a 5mm.
HOT WEATHERWETSUIT – 5mm Jak Boeno Thermoskin:
It too is made of the Yamamoto 39 neoprene.
I also have this suit in 7mm, which I use mainly in places, where the smooth skin Salvimar is to sensitive.
Nearly all pictures from my kitchen, features my old trusty cutting board. Nearly all the fish i catch, end up here. The board was a Christmas gift from my Dad, given to me many years ago. It was originally a left over piece of oakwood, from a kitchen table top – my Dad turned it into a cutting board – nice.
Besides my cutting board, the thing I use the most for preparing the fish, is my knife. A “Brusletto” – norwegian hi quality steel – 100 year jubilee edition.