The last Fly Fair? ...we hope not!
Europe's largest outdoors fly fishing and fly tying show
The Dutch fly tying and fly fishing show Fly Fair in its 2000th edition was as entertaining and educating as ever. In spite of its success it might be the last in a long row.
Story by Martin Joergensen
May/June 2000: It is with somewhat mixed feelings that I write this. On one hand I have just returned from a great trip to the largest outdoors show for fly fishers and fly tyers in Europe, but on the other hand it might be the last time I ever did that. More on that later. Let me start with all the fun.
|Fly Fair 2002 will happen!
A while after the publishing of this article - charmingly time stamped in Dutch "woensdag 2 augustus 2000 12:30" - the following mail arrived from Bas Verschoor:
"I have been requested by Ad Swier, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, this morning, to advise you all that FlyFair will continue to exist. A new organizing committee with 5 members has meanwhile been formed.
Egbert Land and Wim Maurer are no longer on that committee. There is a possibility that the dates of the event will be moved from May to somewhere in the second half of September. Confirmation will follow by an official press release later this year.
My very best to you all!
On behalf of FlyFair
Bas A. Verschoor - Advisor to FlyFair"
Lake O. again
Since we at Global FlyFisher published the story about the famed Dutch lake known as Oostvoornse Meer I have had the chance to fish there myself a couple of times. As I was going to tie at the Fly Fair in the Netherlands anyway, I decided to join the merry crew, who planned to fish Lake O. before the show.
Air mileage brought me fast and conveniently to Amsterdam and a combination of a train and a taxi brought me to Bas Verschoor's house in Den Haag, where I was welcomed by Bas and Marvin Nolte.
We enjoyed the afternoon in Bas and his wife Diny's garden discussing retirement - a subject I was more than interested in and the two gentlemen were more than experienced in. On a side note: I'm 40, but it is always good to plan ahead.
Later Bart van der Schrieck joined us, and together we drove to the lake, located in Rotterdam's vast port area. We met up with a party already assembled in the Hotel Marion right on the lake.
As we had come to fish, we immediately proceeded donning our waders and jackets, tackled up and headed for the water.
This evening I had my only real contact during the days we fished the lake. It was a calm night, and the fish could easily be seen as they were cruising. Fading light meant spotting fish by surface activity - a highly thrilling way of fishing these large rainbows.
I was fishing a small section within the walls. The water is fairly shallow and easy to cover. The fish were active in there all night. Something made one particular spot very attractive, because every time I returned there later on, I saw fish. Paul Slaney later on dubbed it 'Martin's Pool' in jest. I kinda liked that name...
I fished a selection of different flies - mostly my standard sea trout flies - but none produced. When the sun had set and the light almost gone, I decided to try a voluminous fly called Rabbit-in-a-row. I cast it to a spot where fish had been consistently cruising and on my first cast a large bulge rose a couple of meters from the fly and a fish struck hard. I set the hook, the fish leaped, leaped again and ran. And what a fish! Probably in the 70-75 centimeters (28"-30") range, fairly dark, brownish... and strong. It shook the fly within ten seconds and marked the end of my short Lake O. success.
The merry gang
When fishing was over - an hour after sunset - we returned to the Marion for drinks, food, and good company. The crowd had already gathered. I recognized some familiar faces and heard some familiar names. We had people from many places: Germany, Holland, Denmark, USA, Slovenia, Wales, and Ireland. As usual the conversation was easy going. Fly fishers always know what to talk about.
Fly boxes, photo albums and assorted pieces of equipment was passed around and new and old acquaintances were forged.
We fished the next day too, and we were joined by more people. The weather was sizzling hot, not a wind moving. The large fish were obviously cruising for the midges we saw coming off the water. Linda Foote was in a tube dredging streamers over the bottom and did fairly well. Others also landed fish, but even though I saw fish both moving, jumping and feeding I did not manage to hook any. The prize of the day was taken by Slovenian Tomas Modic, who managed to hook and land a beautiful fish - on a San Juan Worm!
In the evening we attended the club meeting in NVG - a Dutch fly fishing and fly tying club that has a long history. Marvin Nolte did a presentation, where he once again told the story about the amazing Grainger collection - the world's largest collection of framed salmon flies. I had heard the story before, but rest assured; it has not deteriorated over the years. If you ever get the chance to hear Marvin recap the adventure, make sure you attend! It is a classical story that will find a significant place in the fly tying heritage, and Marvin is both a wise and entertaining storyteller.
The worm strikes again
We managed to squeeze in a few hours of fishing the next day before leaving. Once again I occupied 'Martin's Pool' and was amazed by the number and size of fish here. Again the weather was sunny and calm, and the fish obviously feeding on midges.
I had borrowed some small dries and one emerger size 16 or 18 from German/American Herman Schibli. As I had no floatant Herman let me dip into his and treat the flies once before I was off. I had no takes on the dry flies, but the emerger brought me three offers.
Casting to these clearly visible, slowly cruising, seemingly gigantic fish was a thrill in itself, but to see one go for the fly was enough to make your heart stand still. The mere thought of one hanging on to the fly and running off was scary. I tried 0.12, 0.16 nylon and 0.18 millimeter fluocarbon tippets, and a serious strike on any of these thin lines would contain a high risk of a 'Long Distance Release'.
Tomas joined me later, and like I he was thrilled and amazed by the number and size of fish. Tomas' San Juan Worm did the trick again, and he hooked a large fish. I didn't see it out of the water, but I saw it start out quietly and deep and then add steam and take off. When it was about 30-40 meters away, Tomas's rod bent double, his line was in a large curve and the tippet broke and the fish took off.
That marked the end of Lake O. for me. I returned to Marion to pack my things and get ready to leave for Zwolle, the location of the Fly Fair.
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