The dream fish: The story of the fish of life

Drömfisken: Berättelsen om livets fisk

Roughly a week ago, I (Jens), my partner Klara and our dog Wolger were out fishing as a bit of an end to the season here at home in Jämtland. The vast majority of flowing waters up here close on 9/1, so we've been trying to max out the last few days of August to get as much fishing out as possible before the rivers close.

As late as August, the trout start to get ready for spawning, and the large individuals that otherwise like to swim in lakes tend to start moving more and more towards rivers. This fishing for migratory trout, as it is called, is a favorite fishing for many fly fishermen as you have a chance to succeed in fooling large individuals that otherwise rarely stay in the rivers during the summer.

And Sunday was the day when the stars aligned just right for me.
Below follows a short story about how it happened when I took a new personal best, about the feelings and the experience.


We got out a little later than we thought. A slightly too long sleep in the morning combined with a dog that was in no hurry to do so dragged out the time. The weather was changeable to say the least: Sun, calm, rain, wind, sun and rain and wind at the same time.. Classic big trout weather, and not at all unusual up here in the mountain world.

It started well right away. Klara waded out a bit upstream and it didn't take long before she shouted " YES! " and the stretched line formed a nice rod bend in her hand. Not long after, the first fish of the day was in the net. A nice and fighting trout of 1.3 kg. A few quick shots later it swam home, and we were embraced by the feeling that if it continues like this, this is going to be a really good day. '

Klara holds up a nice trout of 1.3 kilos

Little did we know then WHAT a great day.

Because apart from a small trout that stepped on a small dry fly, it would take 6 hours for the next fish, and which FUCKING fish it was.

Jens shows his dream fish in the net

I stand a little way out in the river, really as far as I dare to wade out considering how strong the current is. I stand and routinely throw as long as I can because I think I have the best chance of catching fish then.
But then I see, about 4-5-6 meters outside where I'm standing: There are wake rings from a fish that got up. It looks like a ring after a very small wake, but I've just brought the whole line home and think I'll try putting the fly in there anyway, even though it looks a little small. After all, it's been 6 hours since we felt anything in the stuff.

I really just put a paw length out and swing the fly past where I think the fish is - first cast nothing, but then I think I'll try again, but with a little more movement in the fly this time. I put it out again and I barely have time to start stripping the fly when it snaps. The fish of life.

The cut is so hard that a shock goes through the whole body and it was like I put the hook in one TRAIN !
Pretty soon the fish is up and tumbling on the surface, and I can't see the whole fish, but enough to realize that this is something out of the horse's way I have on the hook. After this, my memory starts to fail me a little, because I go into FULL panic.

Klara stands about 20 meters upstream from me and sees everything. Everything from the way the fish roll in the surface, how my eyes are STRAIGHT OUT at the same time as I just scream that " OK IT'S AN AS IT'S AN AS ". I'm calling for help. Embarrassing many times.

Klara acts quickly and wades to shore and starts guiding me in what to do, because I'm in total panic and not in the game at all. It might sound strange that someone who has been fly fishing for almost 15 years should panic when you have a big fish on the hook, but this is not just a big fish. This is the fish of my life. And the panic is not the same as when you run and are chased, or the panic when you can't find your phone or keys in the first two places you look. This is another panic. It is more in the direction of anxiety, the anxiety and fear of losing the fish of my life that I managed to trick into taking my fly. My bow tie that I tied during one of the winter's dark evenings, with just such a late August evening in mind.

I stand completely paralyzed in the current. The power at the other end of the rope is something I've never felt before. It is so FUCKING strong. I feel almost powerless as the fish rushes 70 meters downstream. Somewhere in the middle of this, my line gets tangled in the line basket and I have to rip it loose so it won't come off. I try to fiddle with the brake to tighten it but I spin it the wrong way and loosen it before I can get it right and when I try to crank I'm so nervous that at times I crank IN THE WRONG DIRECTION and thus the fish gives the line instead of reeling it in..
I'm simply very, very nervous, and I say several times in almost a trance " I don't want, I don't want ". What I don't want, of course, is for the fish not to come loose, but all I can come up with in all the stress is: I. Wants. Not .

Jens shows the back of the dream trout

And here I am so incredibly grateful, happy and lucky that I have Klara. So my amazing woman. Not only does she keep me calm when I'm standing like a frozen juicer out in the stream just screaming with stress, but she also guides me in what to do and somehow manages to push through all the anxiety about losing the fish and all the stress I feel .
She calmly says that I must back in to land, keep the pressure and try to stop the fish before the next rapid. She repeats several times that I should take it easy (it didn't make it through the stress), the fish sits and we will get it up , but that it will take some time because it is a very large fish. And she says something that really sticks during the drill.

I promise I'll rake it for you.
A promise. Perfect.

So finally it starts to approach where we are standing after following it a little bit downstream. The fish is up to the surface several times showing what a huge tail fin it has but we haven't seen the whole fish yet.

Klara has gone a bit downstream to reach and rake the fish, while I stand a bit upstream and try to push it in towards where she is standing.
All of a sudden, it doesn't matter that the current is strong - this fish just goes up.

Somewhere around here, I'm starting to be a little more in the game, and can take what she tells me to do so that we can land the fish.
But even if the stress has started to subside, the anxiety takes over more and more.
To understand this anxiety, I should add that basically all the big fish I have been in contact with this summer have come loose. Some have torn off the tab, others have torn the fly, while the majority have simply come off. It has not mattered if they have been sitting for a long time - just before raking, they have come loose. A classic when it comes to big fish.
It has characterized the whole summer, and it is that anxiety that is now taking over.

I see that the fish is approaching where Klara is standing. I also see the net, and am completely convinced that the net is too small. But in the midst of all my anxiety so Klara stands perfectly upright, is on her toes when the fish turns in the surface and in a completely magical way she scoops up the biggest damn trout I've ever seen.

Jens screams his happiness over the dream fish

If I screamed before, you can imagine how I scream now.
It is a scream that cannot be reconstructed, it is an abysmal roar that the body just gets out of itself.
I can't believe it's true. Oh god damn it. I have to check several times to make sure the fish is in the net for real and not just in my dream. It's the sickest thing I've ever been a part of.

And I am completely convinced that if Klara had not been there and with her calmness, her experience and her ability to "get into the zone" and guide me through this, this would have been a story that ended like so many others - with a fish that came loose just before netting.

Jens holds up the dream trout

After weighing, measuring and photos, it gets to swim home again - and like this a week later, I still get shivers and am moved when I see the pictures and video from it.

This I will NEVER to forget. Thank you life for giving me moments like this. Thank you Klara for being you EXACTLY who you are. Thank you dreamfish for giving me this THE EXPERIENCE for life.

80 centimeters long, 42 centimeters in circumference and 5.6 kilos heavy.


Now I'm going to have a cigar myself.

1 comment

  • Lars Åkvist

    Fan vad häftigt! Stort grattis till en drömfisk. Trevligt med en berättelse till korten och din känsla utav ångesten att tappa en "stor " fisk känns igen :)

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