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Wednesday, July 27 Update Part 2: Sea Angling with Special Tours

We have loved our whale watching trips out of both Húsavík and Reykjavik. But I recently discovered that Special Tours does something that I haven’t seen anywhere else: they meticulously document every single whale watching trip they take. How many whales did they see? How was the weather? It’s really quite impressive.

Having had our fill of whale watching trips, we decided to try something a little bit different: Sea Angling with Special Tours.

special fishing boat small

There are some fishing charter trips in Iceland where you need to know what you are doing. But this tour is for everyone:

“If you haven’t been sea fishing before, don’t worry, it is very easy! Our crew will happily show you the ropes, advising you on bait and passing on their knowledge of the seas.”

So I rounded up a few of our kids and headed out. If you look at the picture of our boat above, you may notice that it’s much smaller than the typical whale watching boat. Here is the Special Tours whale watching boat for comparison:

special whale boat bigger

Whale watching trips typically can take up to 60 or 70 people; Sea Angling with Special tours can take only a maximum of 18 fisherpeople.

special fishing poles

Not only is this boat smaller; it’s also much faster. This was a really fun and fast ride out to the fishing area:

special fishing boat fast

rainbow spray

After about 10 minutes we reached our first spot and started to fish. In general, the boat would stay in one place for 15 or 20 minutes or so, and then move on to a different spot. The kids haven’t fished much at all, but they got the hang of it very quickly.

3 fisherman

From what the guide told me, this was an unusually slow fishing day. Now, we all caught fish, and there was plenty for our dinner. But it sounds like it is more typical for everyone to catch several fish, and for there to be enough for people to take some home with them.

My theory, and I doubt this is worth very much, is that these days there are a lot more fish further out in the bay. Fishing boats generally don’t go out nearly as far as whale watching boats do. On a whale watching boat, you may spend an hour or more heading out to sea to locate the whales; with fishing, we cruised out for 10 minutes. And even though it’s a faster boat, we were much closer to shore. Anyway, this could explain why whale watching in Reykjavik has been so good recently, and fishing hasn’t been as good. Further out you’ll find lots of fish, and the whales. Closer in, there is less going on. (Does anyone think this is reasonable?)

Anyway, our group of around 16 people caught maybe 20 fish. On a better day, some of the smaller ones would have been thrown back, but today, we kept anything larger than bait-sized.

And that leads me to the staff, especially our guide. I didn’t get his name, but he was from Scotland. And he was fantastic– he was always working hard re-baiting fishing lines, de-tangling fishing lines, filleting fish, and on and on and on.

special fishing guide good

Everyone on the staff clearly wanted to make sure we all had a great experience. I guess it would have been great if we each caught 10 fish, which supposedly happens sometimes, but we still had a lot of fun.

I should note that our 5 PM tour didn’t get back to port until 9 PM! So maybe leave your plans somewhat flexible after the tour. I think we spent extra time trying various spots to see if we could catch more fish. But eventually, we stopped, and the staff started preparing our meal.

special fishing grilling fish

The only kind of fish my family caught was haddock, and that’s almost all anyone caught, though we had some mackerel as well. The meal includes the seasoned fish we caught, along with some potatoes we didn’t catch.

special fishing dinner

It’s not fair to call my kids picky eaters, but a couple of them are pretty picky when it comes to fish. But everyone loved one (or both) of the types of fish we had. It was a fantastic meal. There was as much fish as anyone could eat, though there was none left over.

Dinner was ready just as the boat got back to port; you can then hang out on the boat eating your meal for as long as you want, or take off whenever you want. It’s a great ending to an enjoyable trip.

Let’s talk about prices. The trip costs 12,500 krona for adults 16 and older; 6000 krona for kids 8-15 (so less than half price!); and free for kids 0-7. There are a number of things in your favor here. First, these prices are slightly cheaper than comparable tours. Second, you can get 10% off for booking online. Third, the 0-7 age range is usually 0-6; this is a big savings if you have a 7 year old!

You are paying more compared to whale watching. Whale watching trips with Special Tours are 9,900 for adults and 4,950 for kids. And 0-6 is free instead of 0-7; go figure!

So that’s an extra 2,600 for adults and an extra 1,050 for kids (ignoring 7-year-olds). But, you’re getting a smaller tour, and a delicious fresh fish dinner. That’s a pretty good price for a fish dinner in Reykjavik. I guess the dinner isn’t guaranteed, but I assume they don’t send you home hungry if you don’t catch anything?

If you can only do one tour, you should probably still opt for whale watching. But if your family loves being out on the water, sea angling can be a great addition to your vacation.


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Wednesday, July 27 Update Part 2: Sea Angling with Special Tours was last modified: January 12th, 2017 by Eric