Longtime Sport Fishing contributor Johnny Jensen recently showed us some amazing photos from an adventure to fish the wild coast of Greenland. He’s allowing us to share those here with SF enthusiasts.
“This Greenland trip was centered around a Discover Channel documentary series of the world’s largest sharks,” Jensen explains. Danish clothier Geoff Anderson sponsored clothing and fishing tackle. “We stayed at the famous Hotel Arctic in Illulissat, where the food was absolutely world class.” Jensen said with lots of local assistance, “We made sure we had plenty of fish guts, dead seals and so on. It was all very disgusting but apparently irresistible to Greenland sleeper sharks.”
While a majority of viewers probably won’t be rushing out to book a similar trip, you’ll find the images compelling, fascinating and unlike anything within your frame of reference.
AT THE ARCTIC’S EDGE
A graveyard near Illulisat, with an ice-strewn fjord and Disko Island in the background.
The rocky, snow-covered, austere coast of Greenland near Maniitsoq greets us on approach to our destination.
Local fishermen show us on a map where we should find Greenland sharks.
One of the initial steps to fish for Greenland sharks calls for drilling holes through the sea ice.
One of our first catches wasn’t a shark but a spotted wolfish, flashing an awe-inspiring, tough-guy grin as we hauled up into the ice hole.
The powerful jaws of the wolffish demand caution. This one weighed about 25 pounds.
Ice fishing on the edge — and only to be attempted when wearing a survival suit, as here.
I was able to join the Discovery Channel film crew to film Greenland sharks underwater.
Another large wolffish (known as catfish around much of Greenland). These are a superb-eating fish.
Anglers on a calm morning headed to the shark-hunting grounds. These sharks are taken both through the ice and from boats when the waters are open.
In some areas, smaller pieces of ice bergs and ice fields drift about in lower Davis Strait, making travel by boat hazardous.
It was eerie to see huge Greenland sharks rising near the boat from cold, deep waters of the Arctic Ocean.
A local fisherman shows the tackle he uses to catch Greenland sharks.
Whole, rotten seals like this are used to get the attention of Greenland sharks. Also, we typically we chummed an area with fish intestines and putrid seal meat.
Greenland sharks are one of the largest species of shark, approaching the size of great whites. While they eat mostly fish, they’re known to prey widely on seals as well.
The rugged coastal landforms here are home to great numbers of Arctic seabirds. These are blacklegged kittiwakes.
We stayed in this hotel, perched atop a rocky headland.
A coast guard vessel slowly makes its way through the icy morning mist off Illulissat.
I don’t know about the Greenland Shark Challenge guys, but they’re on the internet and appear to offer the chance to do what we did for anyone brave enough to try.
For general information about Greenland, see Visit Greenland.
The beauty of Greenland can be breathtaking. In addition to the gargantuan sleeper sharks, these waters offer anglers the chance to catch wolffish, Greenland halibut, redfish (similar to the rockfishes of the Pacific) and, for fly-rodders, sea-run Arctic char in good numbers.