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Cod fishing picks up at last

‘Fishing for cod has been very poor through the autumn and so far this winter, and we didn’t see a real spell of proper fishing until last Saturday. That was in the Thveráll Gully and that was a sixty-tonne day. This is easily the best fishing we have seen since this summer and there’s a certain nostalgia for the days when there used to be thirty trawlers all fishing and every one of them with heavy catches,’ said Heimir Guðbjörnsson, skipper of HB Grandi’s trawler Helga María, as they were yesterday landing 150 tonnes in Ísafjörður. 

This was the result of a four-day trip on Westfjords fishing grounds and the trawler’s last three landings have all been in Ísafjörður, with catches trucked from there to Reykjavík for processing. 

‘We had only been fishing for 24 hours when we called in Ísafjörður to offload 20 tonnes of cod. There was a bad forecast and the only option was to seek shelter. In the previous trip we had 120 tonnes, which was also landed in Ísafjörður,’ he said, and added that the HB Grandi trawlers have been using Ísafjörður regularly to land catches.
‘It’s not especially to reduce steaming time, but more because when cod has been as scarce as it has been so far this autumn and winter, it’s important to keep on top of the cod while  it is  there and to not lose sight of where the fish is going. This has more or less worked out, but before last weekend the situation had been dire. We were getting one and a half tonnes of cod for each towing hour during the night, and next to nothing in daylight. The Hali grounds were completely bare and it was normally in the Thveráll Gully or the Strand shallows that we could find anything,’ he said, commenting that there has been no sign of capelin in cod caught on the Hali grounds this winter, but they noticed some this weekend. 

‘There has been some capelin or other feed fish at the eastern end of the Strand Shallows during the winter but it’s only now we’re 
seeing feed on the Hali grounds. Before the last storm there was no capelin to be seen, but now it’s there and so is the cod.’ 
He said that other fishing has  not been very successful this winter and at this time of year golden redfish can only be found for a few hours every day. 

‘Redfish only show up in daylight and if it’s not dark we can find redfish from just before midday until dusk. There  has been fine fishing for redfish all through the summer and into the autumn, including in the Víkuráll Gully and on the banks off the Westfjords, but this has declined,’ Heimir Guðbjörnsson said. 


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