A Guide to Coastal Fly Fishing on Bornholm

An Eldorado for the Coastal Fly Fisherman

Gordon Henriksen

Journalist, angler

Bornholm can be challenging sometimes. It’s possible to catch giant chrome seatrout here, but you need to put in the time and effort, and it helps concentrating on wind-exposed coastal shores with turbid and agitated water. There’s always a chance, of course, of bumping into a big fish on a quiet day when fishing dead-calm waters, but the truly big ones tend to show up where the coastal shores get pounded by waves.

Along Bornholm’s southwestern coastal shores, you’ll find an array of fishing spots with relatively shallow water where you can wade in and cast towards depressions, reefs, sand bars, and patches of aquatics weeds. Here, fly fishermen are provided with the perfect hunting grounds during the spring months. Generally, however, it’s about finding coastal spots in close proximity to deeper water and concentrate on the drop-offs and shelves – or fish near the estuaries. And if you’re skilled and persevering enough to tackle a bit of wind and some waves, look for the wind-exposed spots where the water gets stained.

When traveling to Bornholm to fly fish for seatrout, it’s important to bring along just the right equipment. It needs to be able to handle wind gusts and big waves along coastal shorelines that aren’t necessarily easy to wade. When fishing actively along reefs and big bays – moving a few steps with each cast, you’ll need a pair of tight-fitting wading boots with Vibram- or felt soles and studs. They provide you with the best chances of staying on your feet when wading across slick rocks and slippery bladderwracks. Also, don’t forget to pack insulating clothes (layers) and wind- and rainproof shell outerwear that will keep you dry, warm, and fishing no matter the conditions.

When it comes to the fly fishing equipment, it should enable you to cast efficiently with few blind cast while moving actively along the coastline. Bornholm’s seatrout often school up and congregate in certain areas, and – by constantly being on the move – you’ll stand a better chance of bumping into them. In order to efficiently cover a lot of water, a shooting head setup is recommended. Besides providing great casting distance with few blind casts, a shooting taper is great for cutting through the wind.

Depending on the weather conditions, a 9’ #6 or a 9’ #8 setup should be your choice of weapon. As for the fly reel, it should be based on a large-arbour design and needs to be durably built, saltwater proof, and up for a bit of abuse. Furthermore, it needs to come equipped with a steady drag system and 100 – 150 meters of 30lb backing. Every year, Bornholm delivers chrome seatrout of intimidating size and power – and, every once in a while, a fully-grown salmon will hit someone’s fly. When that happens, you’ll want your gear to be able to stand the test.

When it comes to lines, intermediate shooting heads (or WF power tapers) that settle somewhere below the waves at depths ranging from 0,3 – 0,5 meters, are the right choice. And if they come with prefabricated loops, make sure they’re strong! The leaders should be somewhere between 3 and 4,5 meters (shorter for casting big flies in heavy winds) and extend into a tippet section of 0,25mm fluorocarbon.

In addition to the fly rod, reel, and line, you’ll need a line basket. It’s rather essential actually. When moving along the coastline, actively fishing, all your loose line will easily tangle up on rocks, boulders, bladderwracks, and weeds – or simply get tangled in the waves, if you don’t have a stripping basket to collect the line in when stripping it back.

The fly fishing season stretches from the beginning of October, through the winter months, till April, and during the cold winter months, lots of local fly fishermen swear by small flies in sharp colours such as pink, chartreuse and pearl. Otherwise, imitations of small fish (gobius, stickleback, sandeel, and sprattus), shrimp and Gammarus work really well. Some of the local favourites include: Pattegrisen, Kobberbassen, Yellowtail Fry, Pink Glimmerreje, Polar Magnus, Brenda, Cutthroat Kutling, and Grå Frede.


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