Morten Villadsen,

member of the Danish freediving national team 2011, holder of the danish freediving record (71mt deep) and silver medal at the Nordic spearfishing championship 2010, will tell us about our sport in Denmark.



Where do you spearfish?

I primarily spearfish around the island of Sealand in eastern Denmark. The special condition here is represented by the water salinity which is very different from one side to the other. The best fishing generally takes place where the highest salinity or the stronger currents are. My favorite spots are in the straits of Øresund and Storebælt where you can usually catch flounders, turbots, cods, mullets and trouts.

What kind of seabed characterizes the stretches of sea you spearfish in?

Danish seabed is generally sand, sand and sand but occasionally you can find it covered in mussels or small stones. In some areas you can find rocky reefs (good for Cods) but generally it is all sand and a few big stones.

Is the visibility often low or not?

The visibility is often 2-3 meters and very much depending on the weather and waves. It is very rare to get more than 10m of visibility. In Denmark you need to spearfish in poor visibility otherwise you will have very few fishing days each season.

What is the average temperature during the year?

The water temperature is about 2-3 Celsius during the wintertime and only a few spearos are brave enough to dive at that time. In the summertime we reach 20-22 degrees. The best season is from April to November and the temperature ranges from 6 to 22 degrees in that period.

Are there currents or any other things that might limit the practice of this sport, if so which ones?

In general the Danish waters are calm and easy to spearfish in, except for the northern sea that can be really rough. You can spearfish in North Sea about 20-30 days per year as on the others days there are too many waves, too poor visibility and too much current.

What kinds of fishes are more common in your spots?

All kinds of flatfish, especially flounders, are very common then cods, mullets, trouts, basses and perches are also numerous depending on the location. Spearfishing can be mainly practiced from 0 to 25mt but I can ensure that 90% of all your fishes can be caught from 0-5mt.

Are your fishing spots characterized by anything in particular, like wrecks, natural barriers, etc?

The best spots in Denmark are nearly always characterized by big stones or structures, which is why most spearfishing are done near harbors, bridges and wrecks. However, I personally prefer to dive on more natural reefs and rocky structures if possible. The wrecks I dive are located in shallow waters between 12 and 25mt. Due to the water conditions I described above I set 25mt as my limit for spearfishing on wrecks. Luckily some of the best wrecks for cod can be found at 12-16mt.

Does a spearfishing culture exist or people do look at you like an alien if they see you handling a speargun?

There is a growing spearfishing and freediving culture in Denmark and it is getting more and more popular. We do have some clubs now and people are getting more organized. That is a good sign – and I hope it keeps going like that. The more organized we are, the more we will avoid misunderstandings. The organization in Denmark has this webpage http://sportsdykning.dk

Are there any spearfishing equipment stores?

In Copenhagen there are no spearfishing stores but www.kingfish.dk sells some stuff. Furthermore there is http://sportsbutikken.dk, an online spearfishing web shop with a physical location, but not really a store.

Are there any local laws about spearfishing?

In Denmark you can buy the fishing license at the post office. It costs 15 euro and it lasts 1 year. Beware of river mouth areas and mouths of small streams which are restricted. All freshwater spearfishing is illegal. All fish species have a minimum size, but if you go for +35cm for flatfish and +45cm for pelagic species you should (in almost all cases) be safe.

Would you suggest anything to anyone wishing to spearfish in your area?

Denmark is not very good for spearfishing compared to Norway, France and the Mediterranean, but there are some very good spots if you are lucky with the weather. Get in touch with some locals and give it a try. Should you be more interested or need to ask some info just visit http://undervandsitetet.dk where you can find some videos of good catches and spearfishing stories.

Well the questions are over, would you like to share one of your fishing experiences you like the most?

On a local wreck outside Copenhagen at 15m depth I was spearfishing in the early season last year. The wreck is usually a shelter for codfishes and we had seen a few that day. Surprisingly there was no current and almost 10m of visibility so diving was easier. I went down and with my torch I could see a tail of a big fish inside the wreck. The angle was difficult so hesitated until I was sure I could get this fish. The shot a bit too low but alright, I released the reel and went up to the surface where I passed the gun to my buddy who kept the line tight while I was preparing to dive again.

When I went down the second time I followed the line to the wreck and started to retrieve my spear which came out (with some struggle) with two (2!) cods on it. The latter one shot directly in the head. The cods were very big and weighted together more than 15kg, the biggest one weighted 9.5kg. It was later honored with victory in the national “Fish of the year” competition. That was a very lucky shot and I know it was a once in a lifetime experience.

Morten Villadsen

 Photo: Astrid Rosenvold, Matti Pykko and Knud Iversen



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