March - Spring is in the air and salmons are waiting…
Even though this has not been typical winter here in Scandinavia, no ice, no snow, the sound of a screaming reel wakening you from near desperation has been a distant dream for many trolling guys for winter months.

Many anglers view Atlantic salmon as the King of Fish. And for good reason, pound for pound no other species has the power, strength, and stamina of this silver torpedo. In the Southern part of Baltic sea our fellow fishermen are fortunate to be able to catch salmon almost year around as we “northerners” only have couple of months during spring and early summer to catch our dream fish.

For this reason it’s pretty common to see an army of trolling boats being trailered across the roads to reach the Southern parts of Baltic in Jan-Apr and from there you will see the same boats moving north to Åland Islands when salmon start to migrate towards their spawning rivers up in the north. Staying with these migrating fish is where you have the best chance of hitting that ultimate mark, catching that +20kg salmon.

Whether you’re fishing for “local/feeding” or migrating salmon, one thing is for sure, they have a lot of power and strikes will not be unnoticed. Every year you will hear stories about fish that spooled out some (un)lucky trolling guy, unlucky to be spooled out but lucky to experience that thrill and rush, memories of a lifetime. Fights can be long and just when you think it is over, they will make another 50m run.
Everyone has individual budget what they can spend on their hobby but one thing that I’d advise is to invest on the equipment you’re using. You will need a reliable reel with a smooth drag and big gear ratio. Typical salmon boat uses 10-16 rods at the same time but you can sure go by with less, quality over quantity…

When I looking back to my salmon fishing history, there’s one thing I’d change from my beginner years as a salmon troller; I’d rather invest in 6 sets that are really good quality than 12 which sort of work. In the 1st years our rods and reels were mixed brands and we put all of them in our spread, some of them which somewhat worked and we basically hoped that a salmon would strike on one of the better rod/reel combos.

Nowadays we’re using same reels and similar rods on all of our sets. Everything feels the same and you can use the same rod/reel combo on downriggers, planer boards or as a side rod depending on what works for that day. We typically fish with two downriggers, 2-3 rods stacked per downrigger and depending on the winds 3-4 inline planer boards on each side, using baitfish and a lot of flashers.

Our weapon of choice for our fishing has been Saltist STTLW40LCHA which has a great line capacity so we do not need to worry about being spooled out, a really smooth and long drag so you can easily adjust it for inline planer boards.
Using inline planer boards makes it possible to check and change the baits on the sides without having the need to clear everything else in between the boat and the planer board and this is where the line counter comes in handy. You can let out exactly the same amount of line that you had before and you don’t risk getting tangles with the other lines out on the sides. Especially when using flashers and inline planerboards you have more drag and with good gear ratio you will not have any problems getting your line in fast when you need to. It’s not unusual for salmon to make fast runs towards the boat and to counter that a big gear ratio comes to use when you need to keep the line tight.

Season gets closer day by day, make sure you and your equipment is ready!

See you somewhere on the Baltic…
Rgds, Tomi Kolsi
Trolling Masters Bornholm Champion 2014, 2019