Swedish angling profile Claes ”Svartzonker” Claesson goes fishing in Ireland

Lough Erne, County Fermanagh

In May, legendary angling expert, bait and lure maker, as well as chef, Claes Claesson, brought his Swedish fishing show Fiskefeber (Fishing Fever) to Ireland. Special guest on the trip was Swedish wrestling champion and Olympic bronze medallist Frank Andersson. We talked to Claes to find about his experience of the Emerald Isle.

What made you consider bringing Fiskefeber to Ireland?
I had wanted to go to Ireland to fish for many years. At the start we planned to experience fly-fishing for trout. I thought going in May was perfect timing as there are large mayflies at that time. Anyway, somehow the plan changed along the way… Instead we ended up fishing for pike, despite only bringing one rod for pike fishing so that we had to borrow a second one. But it turned out perfectly, and I decided to use fly-fishing rods to add an extra flare.

Where on the island did you go?
We went to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. This is an area well known for its angling and sport fishing, with its many lakes and rivers. We stayed at the Lough Erne Resort which is right on the Lake Lough Erne.

Lough Erne Resort
Lough Erne Resort

What idea of fishing in Ireland did you have before coming to the island?
I had heard about the pike fishing in Ireland, and as that is what I do best I was more than pleased when the plan changed and we decided to go for the Irish water wolves, the pikes.

What was the weather like?
We had perfect fishing conditions! It was late spring turning to summer, and Ireland treated us to all kinds of weather. We had a bit of rain, a bit of wind – from all directions! – and in between it was sunny and warm. I guess what you can expect from Irish weather.

Frank Andersson and Claes ”Svartzonker” Claesson
Frank Andersson and Claes ”Svartzonker” Claesson

Did you get to meet any friendly locals?
Before going over I was in touch with a local fishing personality, Frank, who also helped us out when in Ireland.  He was very helpful. The local hospitality was fantastic; this also included the staff at the hotel and especially the award winning head chef, Noel McMeel, who kindly let us use his kitchen to prepare our catch. Everyone was giving a little extra to help us out. In all, the Irish hospitality was absolutely super.

Claes and Frank preparing their catch
Claes and Frank preparing their catch

What do you remember most from your trip?
Apart from the fishing obviously, I enjoyed local meetings, such as going to the local butcher’s to get some of the famous Fermanagh black bacon, but also inviting my guest Frank Andersson into the gourmet kitchen at Lough Erne Resort and preparing the catch together with him. And the whole resort… the rooms were amazing, big and with a great view over the lake. I loved it! I only wish I could have stayed for a few extra days, to also have more time to go into town Enniskillen and try out the local restaurants, and to explore more of the area.

Do you think you’ll be returning to Ireland, and if so is there anything specific you have your eye on?
I will definitely go back. I would love to do a road trip around Ireland, and to also see both Dublin and Belfast. As for fishing, I’m dreaming of salmon fishing and sea trout fishing from the shores… but mostly to just hang around – I loved the vibes there!

Claes and Frank enjoying their catch
Claes and Frank enjoying their catch

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