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If you thought that silk lines, split cane rods and full dressed salmon flies was something people used a century ago, you may want to read this article.
Now my good friend Niels is not quite normal - meant in a very positive and friendly way of course!
Who of us can plead fully normal anyway? I usually say that I'm the only normal person amongst the guys that I fish with. Not quite true, perhaps... Not that the others are normal per se... Well, I digress... back to Niels.
The reason that I declare Niels somewhat crazy is the fact that the flies you see on this page are all tied for fishing.
Niels ties the most meticulously dressed true-to-the-original classical salmon flies... to fish with!
Niels' full name is Niels Hoejgaard Have, which his classmates jokingly used to "pseudo-translate" word for word from Danish to English into Niels Highfarm Garden -- Lord Niels Highfarm himself! a very suitable name for a man who fishes salmon like they used to in the days of lords, earls and barons.
We have featured Niels' fantastic flies before -- here are some of his Wadingtons, some of his tubes and in this small intro you can see Niels with a box of salmon flies (also for fishing) dating back to the year 1999 and his take on a Lady Amherst.
Niels came visiting the other day and broke out one of his flyboxes - a hefty wooden box measuring 20 by 40 centimeters or some 8 by 16 inches. The box contained his latest production of 24 full dressed classical salmon flies featuring married wings, veilings. toppings and all the bells and whistles of the classics. No cheating there! Even though he does "tie them for fishing" as he says, most of us would break an arm to be able to tie for display in the quality he produces. He has been tying and fishing such flies for many years now.
We took the opportunity to shoot a bunch of images of the flies, of which you see a few on this page.
Highlander split cane, Hardy Perfect... and a silk line
But not only does Niels fish full dressed flies, he also fishes them on a Phoenix silk line wound on a Hardy Perfect reel, which again is mounted on a 13' Highlander split cane rod made by J.H. MC GINN in Scotland.
"My favorite rod!" as Niels says.
He uses this rod for his home rivers, the Danish Karup and Skjern, hunting for salmon and sea trout. When going to Norway's larger rivers he "cheats" and uses a 14' Hexagraph rod, which is a carbon fiber rod, but has the action and look of split cane.
With these combos he raids the Danish and Norwegian salmon rivers and as you can well imagine, attracts quite some attention when he reveals his gear and opens his flyboxes full of classical full dressed flies.
The line was a special order from Phoenix in France. I can't imagine they get many orders for 10-weight silk lines these days, and according to Niels the delivery also took many weeks because they had to make it for him. There are probably few two hand silk lines in stock anywhere. The line is beautiful and casts like a dream says Niels who has fished it a few times already. He tells me that the casting pace and rhythm of his setup has to be deliberately slow, but that both reach and presentation is on par with anything he has tried.
The reel is a newly made Hardy Perfect four-and-three-quarter inches - no. 215 of 250 produced. Not as expensive as it sounds, but not a cheap reel either. And so noisy that if you hook a salmon in the Norwegian river Surna it can be heard all the way to Oslo. It weighs a lot, but on the other hand it does balance the Bruce&Walker cane perfectly.
Niels will soon be off to his beloved Surna again to swing his silk line with these beautiful flies in the end over Norwegian salmon. According to his experience such flies look really good in the water and are surprisingly durable.
He may fish some wadingtons and some tubes also, but not on the split cane. When these more "modern" flies comes out, he rigs a carbon fiber rod and modern reel - that's a 25 years old Greys rod and a Hardy Bougle reel by the way.
No, he's not quite like the rest of us.