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"Fly fishing isn't just a sport - it's a state of mind!!"

Check out earlier issues of Pol 32 mag

February 22, 2010

Fishing vs. Sexy wife.

I had this magnificent joke sent to my mailbox today by a friend of mine - and there is a certain amount of truth in it.

It is a matter of priorities - With age comes wisdom !


A guy is 74 years old and loves to fish. 

He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, 

'Pick me up.'

He looked around and couldn't see any one. 

He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice say a gain,

'Pick me up.' 

He looked in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog.

The man said, 'Are you talking to me?'

The frog said, 'Yes, I'm talking to you. 

Pick me up then, kiss me and I'll turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.
I'll make sure that all your friends are envious and jealous because I will be your bride!'

The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully, and placed it in his front pocket.

The frog said, 'What, are you nuts?  Didn't you hear what I said?  I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride.'

He opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said,  

'Nah, at my age I'd rather have a talking frog.' 
 

February 21, 2010

Blue Green algaes - a plaque for our oceans.

I live in Denmark, and we are surrounded by water. Water that is partly salt and fresh. Salt water from Kattegat (the little ocean between Denmark, Sweden and southern Norway) and fresh water from the Baltic Sea. This combination of fresh and salt water, creates perfect conditions for huge fish populations, and trough history we have been a country with proud fishing traditions, that goes way back in time.
In old photos you could see fishing boats, loaded with fish from a day trip. Herrings, Mackerel, Cods, Horn fish, Salmons and a lot of other species - photos of a time long gone.
Today things have changed 200% - political decisions made in the name of progress, have created a sad development, regarding the water quality in the whole region.


The red crosses indicates dead zones for fish around Denmark's coasts in 1981!
Source:  environment studies from Århus University

I remember my youth, we caught heaps of fish every day with our rods, we could easy catch between 40-70 cods on a good nights fishing. Today the cod is more or less gone from the whole region, very sad. Have a look at this graph published in  2002, showing the development in the cod stock from 1971 - 2001 in Kattegat (a small ocean).


This graph shows the weight per 1000 tons caught cod (blue graph)
- and the weight in brood-stock (yellow graph)
Source: Munch-Petersen 2002

What happened more precisely?? - it's simple - the oceans became the sewers for every thinkable thing we needed to abolish - "out of sight, out of our minds".
One of the biggest problems in this region, are the many different political governments, all with a different sight on how to make the right priorities.
And sadly we humans always have a tendency to make money the most obvious first priority.The result in a long term, is of course an environmental chaos, with one big loser at the end - us humans, and our children in generations to come!!!.


Heavy Cyano bacteria (blue-green alage) attack, a warm summer in Denmark!!!!!

That caos is showing it's ugly face already - and very clearly!!! - simply because it is a fact that every warm summer we have, and these day that is quite often, a massive explosion of green algae is a reality - a disgusting reality!!!
Why does this happen - what is the biological explanation of this phenomena ??

Oxygen wastage is one of the mayor factors in this development, witch is directly related to what is disposed into our oceans, by our industry in general and huge farming industry in the whole region.
When nutrients and nitrogen from fertilizing and industry, are washed out into small rivers and lakes, and then runs in the oceans, as a result of a wet and rain full spring period, followed by a warm summer, then we get a dangerous cocktail, that turns our oceans into a " " thick green oatmeal" - witch is quite disgusting, to use a mild term !!!
These pictures are shot a warm summer day in 2006 i Øresund (a little ocean between Kattegat and The baltic sea), where I live very close by.
From a distance it looked like a "tempting Caribbean ocean" - but when you got close, it was a whole different story. The pictures speak for themselves !!!!!! :o/






The level of oxygen in a healthy marine environment should be around 8-10 mg. per liter ocean water. The definition of a serious oxygen deficiency is when the level drops to under 4 mg. per liter of sea water. If it drops even more, to a level around 2 mg. - then we are talking about a serious situation, and fish in these areas will try to escape, before they die!!.
This next graph from 2001 shows the oxygen level measured in Kattegat - 10 years ago!!!!!


Oxygen level per liter sea water from 1975-2000 in Kattegat!!!


The last couple of years we have been blessed with colder summers (I must be the only one in Denmark who want's cold summers!! :O) - and therefor we haven't had the same serious amounts of Green algaes in our oceans - luckily we also had a lot of windy summer periods, witch also is a very healthy combination for our water quality in general. And as I'm writing this blog right now, we have the coldest winter i over 20 years outside, witch is perfect for this development a well.
How this situation is going to evolve in the future are hard to predict, but I pay for a much higher political willingness among all of the countries in this region - but also for much more awareness among us humans as well, simply because we are the ones who vote for the politicians, who are going to make the necessary decisions, for the future perspectives of this region!!!

One thing is for sure - it is an extremely fragile situation!!! - and once we spoiled the ecosystem, it probably never will recover 100%.


We have to look at our oceans in a much more holistic way, and as very important recourse for all of us - and our future generations. Hopefully we will, but I'm not too optimistic, I must admit!!

Tight lines
 .¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ )><((((º>


If you want to learn more about the situation in the region - then here are some relevant danish links :
1) DMU's rapport archive on the subject (english version is available on site)  :  http://www.dmu.dk/Vand/Havmiljoe/Iltsvind/Arkiv/

February 13, 2010

River Årgård - 47 salmons, Sunrayshadows and no sleep !!! :O)





The Årgård River Lodge

Last summer FiN - the very good and highly recommended nordic fly fishing magazine (Fly fishing in Northern countries) brought an exciting article about a small river north of Trondheim in Norway, called River Årgård, not far from the famous river Namsen.
This article described a place where fly fishing and nature came together in a sublime way, with an accommodation beyond you imagination.!!! - It had to be explored closely!!!.
So, as usually the internet is a brilliant tool - search, send mail and wait for reply
- "all the usual suspects"!!!
After a couple of days I made contact with a guide in Mörrum - Mattias Holmquist - who had been there. We spoke in the phone, and the story he told was beyond my imagination, it simply sounded too good to be true!!
Mattias provide me with a phone number to Jörgen and Angela Stenberg, who runs this fantastic place - and a few hours later I spoke with Jörgen and I of course asked about the fishing - "don't worry, he replyed - we are catching lot's of fish right now!!" (it was very hot and very dry conditions!!! - could that really be true??).
We agreed that I could come right away - I packed my stuff, got into my car, 16 hours later I arrived to a small city called Namdalseid, one of these very small towns where you se a road sign saying "Welcome to Namdalseid" - and then 400 meters later you se another sign saying "Welcome back" - this was without no doubt a very quiet place - perfect!!!





My GPS found The River Årgård Lodge - four very exclusive wooden huts, placed beautifully, overlooking the whole valley, with the river floating quietly through.
Here I met the Stenbeg's, welcoming me to their little remote fly fishing paradise.
Mattias was absolutely right, the accommodation was beyond every imagination. Four brand new Norwegian wooden huts with the most fantastic view, and as if that wasn't enough, these huts were exclusively arranged with every modern facility you could imagine.
The Northern Gods were smiling my way!!!
Sauna, jacuzzi, flatscreen, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, heat in the floor - and I could go on and on - BUT on top of it all - I instantly fell in love with the view over the quiet wally. A view witch is hard to describe in words, it was simply breathtaking with pure beauty and fulfilled quietness. After a week I didn't know where the remote control for the TV were located, I didn't even think about watching TV for a single moment - this view gave me much more than a TV ever could match.




Fly Fishing conditions

The Årgård River lodge is fantastic in every way. The fishing grounds are all within walking distance, so you don't need to stress around in your car, finding parking places etc.
And the Stenberg family run this place perfectly. Only a few fishermen are aloud to fish, so you won't experience crowded conditions and the river i literally full of salmons. You constantly see fish jumping, out of the water - very motivating.
The first day Jörgen took my down to the river, and just walking along the riverside we saw several nice fish jumping, I couldn't wait to get my fly out there. I was shaking like a little boy before Christmas.
We walked up stream to a perfect pool called Svarthölen, and the fishing began.
1st. cast - contact, 2 nd. cast - I caught a 3 kg salmon, 3 rd. contact again, 4 th. cast another salmon 1-2 kg......
That day I had so many contacts with these strong fish, it was unbelievable - I had found a place, with some of the most amazing fly fishing conditions - life was a gift for a while :O)








You are allowed to take a couple of fish every day, a catch you will make in only an hour or two - that's how many fish this fantastic little river holds.
The week I spend at The Årgård River Lodge, fulfilled my wildest dreams, and I caught 47 salmons - and lost just as manny. The biggest fish caught up there is close to 10 kg. - and on a one-handed rod #7 it is great fun I can promise you. Dry fly fishing for salmons is also a possibility at River Årgård, and I highly recommend this approach, it is an extremely entertaining way of catching salmons - especially the method called "Rifling hitch".
The Stenberg family are very nice people, and the whole place is kept in a superb way - a permanent thermometer has been established by the river side, there are small pontoon boats you can use for free, jacuzzi and sauna - if you feel like relaxing after manny hours of fishing. By the way the sauna was build with a whole wall of windows, so you could overlook the river and wally, while siting inside sweating.
They thought of every little detail in this amazing place - it is simply build to spoil you, because nothing will ever be the same after a week at The Årgård River Lodge.
Angela, Jörgens fantastic wife, has a unique sense for keeping this place very exclusive and the whole atmosphere were so delightful and calm.
By the way, both Jörgen and Angela were great fly fishers - and seeing them together walking down to the river every day, were just a great sight.

Mr. Stenberg in action :O)

I had so manny fantastic experiences from this trip, but one that I really recall well was from  my last day in this little paradise. I had taken one og the boats, an rowed through a small channel through a wilderness, to get out to the main river. My goal was the pool called Sea pool, a deep pool that were full of fresh fish. On my way out through this small channel that were connected to the main river, I saw a huge moose - just standing there watching me very quit, while I slowly and very quit drifted past it - Wow!! - well back to my main the story!!

I arrived to Sea pool, here I placed the boat by the river side, walked carefully out to a small passage. While I were pulling line from my reel, so the first cast could be made. But a salmon took my fly before I even made a cast, just a few meters from me - BANG!! - I wasn't ready at all, then it ran way over to the other side, and here it unfortunately got stuck in some trees lying in the water - Good advises are welcome in such a situation!! - back into the boat, started rowing slowly towards the opposite riverbank, while holding my rod between my knees (not something I can recommend at all). As I got closer I could se the salmon, a silver blank fish around 4 kg, standing underneath some branches. I took one of the oars and with a little luck I got the line free, but then the salmon suddenly got spooked and disappeared like a rocket again. I nearly lost my rod and reel into the deep. I was very lucky, just grabbing it with two fingers in 30 cm of water.Then the the fight continued, and this extremely strong and fresh fish pulled me around the pool for at least 10-12 min, before I could land it - amazing a fight, amazing a fish, amazing a place!!!!

Since it never really gets dark during these summer nights in this place, you tend to "forget" to sleep, you just want to fish, fish and fish some more!! - Hey!! - with conditions like these, what else is there to do.

Sea Pool and my very difficult catch



The only thing that I had a against me on this trip - were the tiny Knott, the very small mosquitos. Everywhere I go, they seem to LOVE my blood - those small vampire devils!!
But with the amount of fish, this place holds, you forget about it, and after not sleeping much for days, you are just tuned in to the environment - you just hook in and hold on!! - and smile a lot :O)
But I am sure that the Northern Gods are behind this "tiny arrangement", it isn't supposed to be too easy for us fly fishing freaks, that's why they created the Knott - those bastards!!

The Årgård River Lodge is a place I have to go back to - and I can't wait for it to happen, it is simply a paradise for every fly fisher on this planet.





Tight lines out there.
 .¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ )><((((º>


Take a tour at The River Årgård Lodges website here: http://www.argard.nu/ (In English)

And explore FiN Magazine's website : http://www.flugfiskeinorden.se/
(PS. it's written in the Northern languages but it's a really great fly fishing magazine)

February 7, 2010

Robert Stroh - a "Bamboo Guru"




Some years ago I was fishing in Austria, in the beautiful valley of Innervillgraten. When I arrived to the river I noticed an elderly man fishing in the crystal clear pool. His casting was excellent and very, very elegant. That kind of casting technique doesn't come over night, it had without doubt, taken years to develop these casting skills.
I just had to sit down and watch him for a while, deeply fascinated by his casting, I noticed a big brown trout further upstream, feeding on drifting mayflies underneath some trees, a very difficult catch indeed. It demanded an extremely precise cast. And in these clear water conditions you only had one maybe two casts, before you would spook the fish, so it was an absolutely difficult catch.
I knew I couldn't make this cast, my casting skills were not at that level, at that time, so I went down to the old man and told him about the big brown a little further upstream, from where he was fishing. He smiled and said "well, this is the first time ever that another fisherman has offered me an opportunity to fish, on a fish he has spotted!!" - I simply had to se him make this very difficult cast :O)
We walked closer to the feeding brownie, and slowly he got in position, calculating every little detail before he even began to loosen the fly from his rod.
And then it happened, like in slow-motion, he made one perfect placed cast, and the fly landed 1-2 meters upstream from where the brown trout were feeding. It drifted slowly in a perfect angle towards the fish - and BANG!!! - that's how it's done, as simple as that!!!
The brownie weighed around 2 kg. -  it had a very beautiful red spotted pattern and was fat like barrel - he landed it gently, a quick photo and gave it it's freedom - everything was just perfect and by the book.


After this demonstration of sublime casting, I praised his technique highly, but the old man was very humble about it all, and he just replied that it was the rod that made the whole difference - it was his "Magic Stick", as he called it :O)
Then he very generously offered me to try it, I took his offer, and began fishing with his custom made splitcane rod - a #5 - 7 ft long rod build in Germany - and he he was absolutely right it was a "Magic Stick". 
This amazing rod had a softness, and yet a stiffness perfected balanced in it's spine, witch made it absolutely a dream to cast with. I got very curious and started to ask a ton of questions about this rod, but his only reply was get in contact with Robert Stroh, he is a "Bamboo Guru", and the maker of this fantastic rod - I of course wrote this name down, this had to be explored when I came back to Denmark again.
I just had to own one of these "Magic Sticks" :O)

Several months later I found that little note in one of the pockets of my fly fishing west - I had been to busy and forgotten everything about this wonderful incident. Instantly I made a Google search and found Robert Stroh's website, then I mailed Robert regarding prices, size and delivery. Few days after I got a kind mail from Mr. Stroh, and apparently there was a long waiting list, so I had to be patient - I wasn't the only one who had experienced these "magic rods".
I ordered one, a # 5 . 2,13 m long - BUT it would take 8-10 months before I had it in my hand, as they say "all good things comes to those who are patient"!!!! :O)


Time went by and I was going to Austria again the next summer, and when I told Robert about my traveling plans, his reply was - "why don't you come by and pick up the rod, then we could go fishing together, in some of my favorite waters" - I couldn't say no to such a fantastic invitation. We agreed to met and that's what happened.
Nearly a year after I ordered the rod, we met up by a small hotel in Germany. I had my daughter with me, and Robert had his son with him - perfect!!. We had a delicious lunch, and then off to the river Robert knew. My daughter - Marie - by the way, shot all the photos from this trip, witch were great for all of us, because then we could concentrate on the fly fishing :O)
Roberts son - Valentine - a great little fly fisherman, caught several nice fish, and seeing those two fishing together was a pure pleasure :O)


Concentration!!
Big smiles :O)
The catch!!!!
Bigger smiles!!! :O)




Robert took us to an amazing place, with nice an clear pools and lot's of fish all over - what a treat, what an experience - to buy a rod, and then suddenly we were fishing in a private river surrounded by the most beautiful quiet nature, in a river full of graylings and trouts - this experience were more positive than I ever had expected it would be - but what were even more important - the rod Robert had made to me, were perfectly balanced and "full of magic". I loved it from the first moment, and I still do!!.
Besides all these fabulous events, an even better thing happened - we became really good friends, and I can honestly say that I am very happy I meet that old man in Austria the year before, who introduced me to his "Magic Stick" - because if it hadn't been for his extremely precise casting skills - I probably never would have meet Robert and his great family. Sometimes life treats you very nice :O).




When it comes to the rod building, Robert was so kind to show us his home, and his secret little workshop where all the magic appears - and it was very interesting to listen to all the details, seeing all the amazing designs, but most of all to explore the soul behind it all, the great pice of personal engagement behind every rod - as Robert expressed it "every time I sell a rod, it's like a little pice of my soul is sold with it" - and after seeing how much work there is behind a building split cane rod, I know exactly what Robert means by this statement. 
Robert even goes to China, so he personally can inspect and cut every bamboo by hand him self - quality is essential and not to be compromised!!!! - this is why these rods are so great, every little detail is thought trough - "The Magic is hand made"!!! - with NO compromise!!!




Have a look at Robert Stroh's website - www.rs-flyfishing.com


(PS. all photos are shot by Marie Wengler)