Published Jun 11. 2008 - 15 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 21. 2017

Niels' flies

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 about Niels Have who fishes his classical flies on a Phoenix silk line wound on a Hardy Perfect reel mounted on a Highlander two-hand split cane rod.

The Glen Grant - Tied for fishing by Niels Have
The Dusty Miller - Tied for fishing by Niels Have
The Baron - Tied for fishing by Niels Have
Some of Niels' beautiful flies
Martin Joergensen photos
Martin Joergensen

Now my good friend Niels is not quite normal - meant in a very positive and friendly way of course!

No offense!

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.

Yes, fishing!

Niels ties the most meticulously dressed true-to-the-original classical salmon flies... to fish with!

Lord Highfarm

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.

Some flybox! - Only very few salmon anglers will break open a box like this at the river - and fish with the flies!PS: the small note on the side says "Look but don't touch!"
Lady Amherst and Orange Parson - A couple of Niels' creations up close
A selection - Some of Niels' flies shot quickly by the water. Notice that these flies are tied on blind hooks with gut loops!
The whole collection - An impressing collection of full dressed salmon flies - all tied for fishing! From top left they are:<br />
The Butcher, The Glen Grant, The Black Doctor, The Green Highlander, The Dusty Miller, The Gordon<br />
The Mar Lodge, The Baron, The Silver Grey, The Mar Lodge, The Fiery Brown, The Black Doctor<br />
The Gordon, The Blue Doctor, The Dusty Miller, The Glen Grant, The Durham Ranger, The Baron<br />
The Butcher, The Durham Ranger, The Fiery Brown, The Silver Grey, The Green Highlander, The Blue Doctor
Black Doctor strikes again - This salmon from Norwegian river Tana took a full dressed, classical Black Doctor, but could have had its choice from the impressing box opened next to the fish right after the catch.
Flies and fish
Martin Joergensen - Niels Have
The Durham Ranger

The Green Highlander

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.

Skjern salmon

Surna salmon

Surna salmon

13' Highlander

The settings



Admirable - your neatly in the making of these flies, something for my inspiring and good example.

Niels is an inspirat...

Niels is an inspiration!

Very enjoyable artic...

Very enjoyable article.

The best flies I hav...

The best flies I have ever seen... Very nice

yes dave riding is d...

yes dave riding is definitely one of the best and still tying i know him well in fact he taught myself to tie flies in fact i will be going back this year for a course in built wing salmon flies

One of the best dres...

One of the best dress salmon fly tiers in England is Dave Ryding he only ties the traditional way this article reminds me of him well done Jan Johansen

It's sure nice to se...

It's sure nice to see people still using the traditional eguipment. I too, like cane rods and fish them when i can. The flies are beautiful.


Hello Niels,
is that Phoenix #10 weight-line a DT
and what linesize is you Mc Ginn please?
Thanks for giving me answer.
Willie Ostiadal
Chieming Lake Chiemsee, Germany


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