The first meeting of GFF readers and contributors
It was the Branislav's fault!
It was the Slovak who started it!
It wasn't me!
Branislav AKA Vanuz was the one who posted a message on the discussion forum asking whether it was an idea to set up a meeting.
It started out as a seemingly harmless post:
fishing trip or meeting
...just been wondering if you (Martin) have ever considered organizing a GFF fishing trip for a small group of the GFF members. Or maybe just a meeting or so...
There, right there you have the clear evidence that I have to blame Branislav: Martin! It says my name, playing the ball directly onto my part of the field and laying the responsibility on my narrow shoulders.
I could have let it pass like I didn't notice or just have replied “not a chance”, “too busy” or whatever lame excuse I could muster.
But no, I had to answer:
Sure, it would be a great idea to go fishing together...
...I'll see what plans I can make and keep you all posted through the site.
The replies to Vanuz' original post were positive, and came from Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the UK and a few other places.
I also thought it was a good idea, and seriously started playing with the plans of setting something up.
My next post even named the event, and with that done we were already beyond the point of no return:
I will see what I can do regarding a GFF Clave here in Denmark. As far as I remember a clave has to have people from several countries and preferably some from far away (thousands of miles/kilometres), but we will be willing to let anybody in... even locals. Let's dub it the GFF Summit 2006.
Before three pages of discussion had followed we had decided on a Danish coastal trip on the island of Fyn in September and on trying to keep the budget low.
I had established an online list of people interested, and that list was growing. At first slowly, but suddenly we were closing on on 30 potential participants – a lot more than I had expected I must admit, but I was so much the happier.
We were discussing the options, and people were writing me to get details and offer their help.
It was Svend's fault!
Svend was one of the Danes who were interested. Off list he contacted me with a message telling me that he had a friend who ran a hostel in Odense, the largest town on Fyn. Svend offered to have his friend look into the options of accommodating 24 anglers a weekend in September.
Other people offered to help, and I was now toying with several different tracks regarding places to sleep which included camping, cabins a summer cottage and the above mentioned hostel.
Svend's friend was the first to return, and with a very attractive offer too. We could have three rooms sleeping eight each for two nights including breakfast two mornings, dinner and wine one evening at the very fair price of 520 DKK per person. That was too good to turn down, and I pursued that track going forward with my plans.
Down to 16
Once September got closer the cancellations started rolling in. A lot of people had to bail out because of work, family and other reasons. A few never replied when I did the final roll call, and when the list was finally settled we were 16 people give and take a couple. A nice number and a perfect match for two rooms at the hostel, who kindly reduced the number of participants without increasing the price per head.
So we were on, and the list was closed.
A couple of anglers registered late anyway, but we decided to improvise and manage the accommodation in some fashion.
Getting people gathered from all over the country plus a few from abroad always will be a logistical challenge. Organizing rides, setting up meeting times, getting in some fishing on the way and what else can be thought of does mean exchanging a lot of emails, numerous phone calls and just getting things into order in general.
But when the day arrived, most items were covered, and I felt fairly sure that everything would work out fine.
We were a few that decided to go early on the Friday and fish our way there. The wind was easterly, which would leave some of our favorite spots in a perfect condition. It was a hard wind, but not worse than we could overcome.
My good friend Henning and I made arrangements to pick up Atli on the way. We would meet up with another good friend, Asger, who had taken the day off for the purpose of fishing since he would have to leave already Saturday night to return to the family.
Branislav would probably join us and I tried to give him directions to a place that we would most likely fish.
We picked up Atli and headed for the coast. Once there we entered the water and fished for a few hours. Both Henning and myself were in luck and each got a nice sea run rainbow within a few casts. Unfortunately that was it, and we did not see or feel more fish that day.
But we heard of fish. Already before noon Ripley would call and tell about the most fantastic fishing that he and Steve had on west Fyn. I got several messages and calls from him, where he was all wound up because of the really fabulous fishing. We were tempted to go there but it would be a long ride, and the chances that the good fishing was going to last were slim. So we decided against it, and just fished on where we were.
Branislav arrived and after having greeted him, we started moving towards the bridge that crosses to Fyn. We fished a bit on the way, but soon we were on the road to Odense Danhostel to join the others.
The hostel is in Odense, the largest town on Fyn, and located withing walking distance of the center of town. It's large and has plenty space, and already on the big parking lot in front of the large yard we were greeted by fellow GFF Summiters. Before long we were having a beer in the yard of the large rebuilt farm, which is the hostel. People started dropping in, and I will take this chance to list the participants:
Asger Sondergaard Olesen (Denmark)
Atli Sigurdsson (Iceland, living in Denmark)
Branislav Ondrejka, Slovakia, living in Denmark
Frank Oksborg (Denmark)
Hans Jacob Schou (Denmark)
Henning Eskol (Denmark)
Henrik Leth (Denmark)
Jari Wiklund (Denmark)
Jesper Kamstrup (Denmark)
Kai Nolting (Germany)
Kasper Mühlbach (Denmark, living in Sweden)
Les Austin (UK)
Martin Joergensen (Denmark)
Nan Austin (UK)
Paul Kalbrener (Germany)
Ripley Davenport (UK, living in Denmark)
Steve Wade (UK, living in Denmark)
Quite an international group as you can see.
We chatted and looked at pictures of Steve and Ripley's fantastic fishing. Jari, Jesper, Asger, Branislav, Atli, Hans Jacob and Paul decided to go fishing while the rest of us would go grab a bite to eat in town before turning in and sleeping to be fully rested for the perils of the coming day.
We didn't get up too early, but on the other hand we didn't want to waste the day on non-fishing activities. The train of cars headed west towards the exact spot where Steve and Ripley had caught their fish.
This is a beautiful place and roomy enough to hold all of us – and then some. We had no problems finding space and no problems finding fish. All of us got a fish this day, except for Branislav, I think. Some got more than others and some got bigger than the rest.
There was a lot of cozy time and lazy talking on the beach and during lunch the lineup of fishing rods was a most impressing sight. Everybody seemed to be having a good time, and when lunch had been devoured, most went back to the water while others took a well-deserved nap on the beach. If you found a calm spot, the September sun was really soothing.
I think we all agree on that this was a very good day. Weather was pleasant, the location beautiful, fishing was good and the company exquisite.
After returning we dined in the hostel and had an excellent meal, which was included in our package. This was followed by fly tying, picture watching and chatting in the hostel's TV-room. Most of us tucked in early to be prepared for another day of fishing.
Unfortunately Branislav and Asger had already left to join their families.
Fishing started in a different location this day. We had some trouble getting out of town because of the Odense Marathon, which was run on this day, but after scooting around Odense for a while, we managed to get to the location, where most of the troops were gathered.
Some had taken the opposite direction and fished on the north-east part of Fyn, while the majority went west again.
We had a nice but slower day: slower movements, slower fishing and luckily also a slower wind.
The fishing was not quite as good as Saturday (not to mention Friday... for some), but fun a good time was had.
What we caught
We tried to count the number of fish caught between the 17 of us, but lost count (really!). We had at least a hundred fish to hand during this weekend and a lot more if we counted Ripley's and Steve's fish caught Friday.
That is way beyond what can be expected from a couple of days of Danish coastal fishing – even when there are 17 people fishing.
As the day passed, people started leaving, and late afternoon most were on their way home after an excellent weekend with good friends and great fishing.
Not the last time
The GFF Summit 2006 was a success! In spite of numerous cancellations, we managed to assemble a large International group of anglers and get some real quality fishing. We even caught bunches of fish, and I'm sure everybody would join a repeat event without blinking.
There will be a GFF Summit next year too. Trust me. I think we will aim for something else than sea trout. Pike fishing anyone? Or some nice stream? We'll see.