Published Mar 7. 2019 - 9 months ago
Updated or edited Mar 7. 2019

Danish Fly Festival Impressions

Another Danish Fly Festival is over, and as always it was a great experience. Lots of people to meet, lots of things to see.

Packed and ready
Packed and ready
Martin Joergensen

Every second year, the Danish branch of Federation of Fly Fishers, not surprisingly called Federation of Fly Fishers Denmark, or just FFFD for short, takes on the ominous task of setting up The Danish Fly Festival.
The Danish Fly Festival is a fly show, featuring fly tyers, fly casters, presentations and not least shops, manufacturers, outfitters, publishers, organizations, artists and more who have booths where they showcase and sell their products and services.

I don't come

there for the booths or for seeing new products or buying all the things that I don't need. I come there for the people!

I can illustrate

this with a description of my entry Saturday morning at 9:30.
After parking my car conveniently close to the entrance (one of the few blessings of being in a wheelchair), I entered the building and made my way through the people already waiting in line half an hour before the opening.

When I got

to the ticket counter I was greeted "Hi Martin" and immediately let in.
I need help to get down the few steps to the main hall floor, and was immediately approached by a friend, who gave me a shoulder while another friend lifted my wheelchair down the stairs.
Now, this hall isn't the largest super arena, but a humble, local sports facility, housing a few badminton courts. So walking from one end to the other takes a minute.
Not so in my case!
First of all, I don't walk, but that's another story. Secondly it took me about twenty minutes to get from the entrance to the tyer's rows in the middle of the room. Friends, acquaintances and just people recognizing me, greeted me, asked how I was doing, and I greeted back and chatted my way through what seemed an endless row of people I knew or who knew me.
What a nice way to start the day.

Andy Weiss and Jonas Andersson
John Mortensen and Kern Lund
Tyers
Martin Joergensen
Geert Werbrouck
Geert Werbrouck
Martin Joergensen

I eventually turned

the corner and passed slowly by the tables where the tyers were sitting looking for familiar faces, and suddenly I was greeted by that morning's largest smile, and a small, gray haired man jumped up, descended from the podium and approached me in a fast pace. Once he was there, he exclaimed "You are getting a hug!" and then he bent down and hugged me warmly.
I had met Geert Westbrouck, Belgian fly tyer par excellence and a good virtual friend, whom I met for the first time in the flesh that day. And what a meeting! Geert is quite a character (with all due respect, Geert!) and the creator of some stunning flies, and we met at last and immediately "clicked" as you say.
Before the show was over, Geert had gifted me with a fly, and I had bought a copy of the book on his flies, which he has published together with US tyer Dale Darling.

The show continued

in the same track. I bumped into endless rows of friends and acquaintances.

At one point

a man comes up to me in the passage between the two halls that house the exposition, and quickly introduces himself after which he promptly hauls out tools, wire and a box of shanks and flies. Having heard that I'm going to tie intruders at the show, he wants to show me the way he makes shanks. I had met Danish fly tyer Michael Grimm, and right there in the middle of the crowds with a stack of chairs as his workbench, Michael showed me the exact tool that I had been trying to find for making eyes on shanks, and demonstrated the way it worked – which just emphasized that I need such a tool. It later showed that Michael is the brother of Thomas Vinge a good friend, fly tyer and author, who also attended the show.

Louise Irene Nielsen
After show banter
Bjarne Lauersen
Stig M. Hansen
Endless
Martin Joergensen

At long last

I made my way to the back of the last hall just by the exit to the outdoors casting pools, and was greeted by Morten Valeur, one of the managers at The Fly Company and one of the forces behind the very successful hook brand Ahrex. Morten told me about the thoughts behind developing these hooks, and revealed a little about some of the future plans for the brand, which may include both "real" saltwater hooks – in the US/tropical style – and a series of shanks. We talked about the whole marketing, customers service, distribution setup that comes with breaking through to a large, international market. A very interesting and informative talk.

Low stance
My view
What I saw from my wheelchair
Martin Joergensen

On the way back

I passed between the halls again, and Thomas Züllich, a German expat living in Norway greeted me warmly and we chatted for a while. Thomas took a picture and offered me one of his beautiful Swedish wooden fly boxes as a gift, and cordially invited me to come and fish "his" river in Norway, Skålestrømmen, where he has started a lodge.

A box and two flies
Release tackle
Flies and a flybox
Martin Joergensen
The line outside the door
The line at the door
Jerk Sönnichsen

Since an estimated 3,000

people attended during the two days, chances of running into interesting people were pretty good!
In other words: it continued. For two days.
People greeting me. Me greeting people.
Old friends. New friends. Well known faces. Strangers.
Chatting, laughing, seeing new and old products and new and old ways of doing things.
Selfies were taken (with me in them) and I shot a handful of pictures myself.

I staid in

a Bed&Breakfast south of the show town Kolding, near Haderslev with my good friends Henning, Florian, Paul and Jens, and was treated with good food and beer and even some "leftover" scotch that Florian had brought. Who could ask for more?

So the list

of people is almost endless, and even though I can list both Anders, Katrine, Daniel, Jimmy, Henrik, Thomas, Allan, Kasper, several Jenses and Oles, as well as Claus, Kern, John, Stig and a couple of Jespers, that only accounts for a fraction of the people I met and talked to. If your name isn't on the list, blame it on the boogie! My memory isn't what it used to be.

Tying championships
At the B&B
Knife making
Impressions
Martin Joergensen
Erik Tveskov
Rasmus Elm
Contributors (in spe)
Martin Joergensen

A few things

will probably set some footprints on the site in the coming time:
Morten Bundgaard from Pro Sportfisher – who kindly helped me get my tying stuff in the car – promised that new products from the company would soon appear, and that he would keep me in the loop.
Rasmus Elm was showing prototypes of some really intriguing and extremely lightweight fly reels, and I made a deal with him to cover the process of making a reel from idea to product and make it into an article here. His site (in Danish for now) can be found here.
Erik Tveskov is an ever experimenting Danish fly tyer and angler, who is full of fun and interesting ideas. He showed me a small, linked housed caddis larva with a small disk that made the head and legs undulate. Erik promised an article on the fly and tying method as soon as the Danish version had been published on print.
Jens Bursell, a renowned Danish angler and author, showed me his release tackle concept and equipped me with a handful of his kits as well as a fly rigged with the tackle. Jens has promised to write an article on the concept for the Global FlyFisher, and that will appear as soon as we both get the time to do it.

So, another two years

will have to pass before we gather in Kolding again. I'll be there, and if you are anywhere near Denmark in the spring of 2021, make plans to go. It's worth traveling for.

PS:

I saved at least a hundred dollars on the show this year because Paul Morgan wasn't there with his book shop Coch-y-Bonddu Books. I should say thanks, Paul, but I missed you – even though you usually cost me money.

Myself and an intruder
Me at the tying table
Myself
Luca Barosselli - Søren Skarup
Luca and I
That Festival feeling
Luca Barosselli

Comments

Danish Fly Fair...

Sounds & looks very familiar Martin
The times we tied there in the early 1990's makes us seniors by now... :)

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The GFF money box
Martin Joergensen

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