After fishing together in Israel for many years, we decided to plan a fishing holiday abroad, so we started searching the Internet for information regarding fishing in Finland in mid-2016. Initially, Google came up with various results, but every option we looked at had some disadvantages.
Fairly early on we contacted a Finnish fishing guide who had been highly recommended by one of the travel websites. Unfortunately, this guide turned out to be neither cooperative nor informative.
Subsequently, we sent an E-Mail message listing our questions about fishing and accommodations in Finland to some 20 addresses we had found on the Internet. The answers started coming in – but still nothing seemed convincing.
Eventually, we came across Old School Trolling (www.oldschooltrolling.fi) through the Finnish fishing site. We logged on to their website and immediately realized that they were offering what we wanted.
That was how we established contact with Jari Käyhkö, the owner and operator of Old School Trolling, with whom we started communicating in January 2017 regarding a holiday in July-August of this year.
I can honestly say that since the very first E-Mail message, we BOMBARDED Jari with questions regarding every conceivable aspect of our potential fishing holiday in Finland. The man was unperturbed. He answered every single question with infinite patience and in minute detail. This on-going dialog helped build our confidence in Jari and we eventually booked our holiday with him in early February.
During the period between our booking and our actual arrival in Finland we continued to harass Jari with endless questions – which he answered magnanimously and promptly, providing us with all of the information we requested.
When we finally arrived at Jari's cabin on July 29, he was waiting for us as promised. We found the cabin fully prepared and equipped for our arrival: beds made with clean bedsheets and covers, a new washing machine/dryer, a fireplace and a sauna, clean towels, detergents, cleaning tools and a TV set. The kitchen was fully fitted with new electrical appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, oven/stove, microwave oven, coffee machine, toaster and even a hand blender), shiny cookware, cupboards full of tableware & glassware, drawers full of cutlery, utensils and kitchen gadgets. Outside, we found a barbecue pit and a Muurikka grill plus a smoking box. We felt stupid for bringing along our own kitchen knives....
Then it was Jari's turn to brief us – first on the cabin and subsequently on the boats and the fishing gear. In person he was just as informative, thorough and patient as he had been in our E-mail correspondence. During his briefing, we felt even more stupid than before – this time for bringing along our own fishing tackle!
Apparently, Jari had prepared everything we could possibly need plus lots of extras and spares: trolling and spinning rods and reels, lure boxes with a huge selection of lures (wobblers, soft baits, spinners, spoons, etc.), landing nets and all of the necessary accessories. He had prepared two full sets of everything – one for each boat. The boats were fitted with good Mercury engines and Jari had prepared a sufficient stock of fuel for us to use. One of my most important recommendations for future clients – do not bring along anything, as Jari will provide you with everything you need.
In the three days that followed, we took three guided fishing trips with Jari. We were deeply impressed by his professionalism and thorough knowledge of the area, but even more impressed by his easygoing, friendly, generous and helpful personality. This gentleman was genuinely interested in assuring us of a good time and successful fishing, and he went out of his way to do so. Our second guided fishing trip was particularly productive and we all managed to catch fish – particularly lots of Perch.
When we were left to fish on our own, Jari called us daily to provide more tips and advice. He promptly solved any problem we encountered and generally did everything he could to ensure that we were having a good time.
Jari's cabin is located in the village of Savonranta. There is a supermarket nearby that we used on several occasions and it was just fine. There is also a local restaurant that we have not been to. We had intended to check out a local nature trail but were unable to do it because of bad weather.
We drove into the city of Savonlinna (about 45 minutes from the cabin) a few times and did some shopping for fishing tackle to take home at the local Motonet branch. We did our grocery shopping at the Savonlinna branch of the Prisma supermarket chain, and also ate at a couple of local restaurants – which were very nice. We also attended a performance by Finnish singer Ina Forsman at a local club – a wonderful experience.
In conclusion, our fishing holiday in Finland was a wonderful experience. We absolutely loved Finland and everyone we came in contact with was exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Jari Käyhkö of Old School Trolling runs a unique operation, combining an excellent cabin, suitable for 4-5 people, with a complete range of fishing gear (boats and tackle) for 4 fishermen included with the cabin. Jari also offers professionally guided fishing trips on his own boat – at least one introductory fishing trip with Jari is a must for people fishing in Finland or in Lake Saimaa for the first time. Jari's rates are more than reasonable and his service standards are excellent. We have nothing but praise for him.
We warmly recommend Jari Käyhkö and Old School Trolling to anyone considering a holiday in Finland where the emphasis is on fishing.
Rami, Ron, Or &Tomer