That we missed the exit, one could hardly blame Lars; Lars is a Viking and therefore not responsible for anything. And we couldn't blame Chris either (much as we wanted to); Chris was fast asleep or if not fast asleep then he was at least pretending to be so. I refused to take responsibility; my eyes were shut and I was involved in the long and complicated task of seeking forgiveness for all my sins (just to be on the safe side). Carl said that he could not be held responsible either; he was driving far too quickly to see the turn-off.
This was true.
We were embarked upon the last day of our, according to Lars, "Danish Plunder" and following the dramatic and unprecedented activities of the previous day, where the unbelievable grand total of two sea trout had been caught amongst only four anglers in one momentous and euphoric evening, it was felt that we should either go to Monte Carlo, there and then, in our waders and stake everything we owned on black, or else do the completely unthinkable and travel to Mariager Fjord to see if we could catch yet another sea trout.
Carl was all for driving to Monte Carlo, said he thought that given a clear run we could be there in six hours. Lars looked worried, he said he didn't know where Monte Carlo was, but he didn't think that they'd let him in without a fight, not that that bothered him of course, said he'd like nothing better in fact, but Chris didn't look like the sort of chap who could handle himself too well in a tight situation.
Chris said: "Look guys, give me a six-weight and I'll take anyone on, but we came here on a mission, you guys have all caught fish, even Paul, now it's my turn, let's go to Marriage Fjord"
"Mariager Fjord", I corrected.
So that was it then, the Gods had decided (by way of Chris) that we should go fishing one more time and see if Chris who had been fishing very intensely for the last three days (although not intensely enough according to Lars) could do the unthinkable and catch a seatrout out of the sea, on the fly.
That we reached our destination at all was a miracle in itself of course (Carl).
The name "Mariager Fjord" conjures up strange mental images (at least it does if you have an imagination like mine). I half expected to see a couple of Viking ships lying in wait for us. I also expected something more akin to the New Zealand Fiords, with steep impassable climbs. We would need rope and provisions as well as the normal fishing tackle.
Mariager Fjord disappointed me on all scores that's the problem with expectations and a good reason to just go with whatever happens. It wasn't a fjord to my mind. It was a valley with a bit of an estuary thing happening. Fjord made is sound overly impressive. Still it was pretty and that's a nice thing in any landscape of course.
Carl said he would rather sleep in the car.
It was also cold and a bit foggy. Chris said he thought he would catch, although why he thought this exactly, he could not say. If you ask me, I think he was just trying to divert our attention away from the Monte Carlo thing.
Lars said that if he wanted to catch a seatrout, he would have to concentrate at all times. Chris obviously had a bit of a problem with this, I could tell. We left Carl fast asleep in the car.
We fished intensely for many hours. Following on from the great success of the previous day, I at least felt that we knew what we were doing. Here we could move around a lot more and there was an area which I cleverly described as a drop-off (Carl later would agree as it happened, when he nearly slipped in). Naturally we focussed our attentions on this area, as well as a wind lane that hinted at a convergence of currents.
Carl slept on.
In the end we decided that we should have a break and do some casting stuff together. Lars was in the final preparations for his FFF instructor's exam and he wanted some tips. Chris and I duly assisted him before he went on to improve our jump roll casts. In fact my jump roll (Vikings call it the Switch Cast just to confuse matters) is now so much better that I'm going to go over and have another lesson - just as soon as I can free up some time.
By now we were involved in some pretty fancy casting stuff, you know: mouth casts, quintruple snake rolls, Viking Plunder Loops and Carl waded out past us with his dog nobbler attached.
It wasn't the first cast (hey this is saltwater fly, it takes years to catch these babies). And it wasn't the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th cast or anything like that, but it was pretty quick, I mean we didn't have to shave in between (although Lars should have done of course).
Carl said: "A take!"
In saltwater fly that can mean only one thing: there is a fish in the near vicinity. And that can only mean one thing: everyone should immediately drop everything and go fishing; hell it could be years before another such opportunity arises.
And then it happened. In one brief spell Carl caught not one but two sea trout, Chris caught one (yes I know Chris!!) and even I caught one! Now I know that no one will believe me. Right now you are probably thinking that I'm just making all this up, you know just for sensationalist purposes, in fact you probably stopped believing me when I said that Carl caught two (even I have a problem with that bit). But it really happened and just like I've said.
Naturally we were all speechless: this sort of thing doesn't happen very often, or at all. Lars looked a bit worried, said he'd never heard such a thing happening before, that it could be a bad omen and we all should leave at once and never look back.
The impossible conclusion
So we reeled in quietly and fled. Carl even took special precautions on the journey back and used the brakes a couple of times.
So that was our Denmark Trip. I'm not quite sure what I learned as I am still assimilating the information and trying to make sense of it.
I suppose that I learned that a round of beer in Denmark costs the same as a mortgage in any other country, that Carl is one mean dude behind the wheel, that all Danish women are blonde, that they don't find waders kinky, that sea trout fishing is a bit like damsel nymph fishing on a large stillwater, except that you are more likely to catch one on a stillwater, yes even Rutland where they don't even have seatrout, that you have to concentrate at all times and of course that Vikings are great people to know, and especially Lars.
We thanked Lars, exchanged gifts, including flies, wine, reels, flyboxes, lines, chocolate, bits of leader material, I offered to leave him some of my socks behind, he graciously declined, Chris raided his flyboxes and with a cheery wave, a promise that we would return one day and accompanied by the smell of burning rubber, we took off for Berlin (the wrong way as it turned out).
On the way back Chris sighed and said "my goodness, so that is saltwater fly". I quietly nodded and closed my eyes (as we smoothly passed the 200K/hr mark); I had some sins I wished to repent.