Not that I needed to as such. In Denmark we get financial educational from the state, but not enough to pay for a three-week-autocamper-trip through Montana. So I worked in a store, did some work for a whole sale company and tied flies. Thousands! So I’ve fallen down all the rabbit holes myself, I think. I rather than digging my way up, I dug further down. In many ways I still do.
I’ve been an amateur photographer longer than I have been fly fishing, but those two hobbies just fell into each other so well. After I took up fly fishing, apart from being a “semi-professional”, I suppose you can call it, I’ve built rods (never progressed to cane - thank God!), designed lines, tied flies, done stream restoration, dived deep into the huge rabbit hole of fly fishing history, enjoyed so many different types of fly fishing, travelled, become an instructor - and travelled as one as well, become an examiner, I’ve written articles for two different printed magazines in Denmark (and of course about 484922 front pages here), I write weekly blogs for a Danish hook brand and probably more that I can’t think of right now. Sometimes I wonder how I find time for a full time job and a family as well?
Now I digress a little again, because the latest rabbit holes I’ve fallen into is dyeing fly tying materials. I’ve done a little, every now and then for years. Just quickly dyeing 20 feathers for a particular fly when I needed them on a Sunday. And now it has, of course, taken off. But it’s fun and I like doing it. And sometimes it comes in as a very handy skill to have.
After I began talking dyeing with my friend, Claus Damsgaard (Mr. Seal’s Fur), my skills have progressed. Claus knows everything about dyeing, so he’s great to have on hand. Because there really is slightly more to than dissolving some dye in a pot and boiling a neck. First off, never boil - it’ll kill most materials, but this is not about the method itself.
Yesterday evening I sat down to tie some small, slim, long Icemans. I wanted to use squirrel and I was out of blue. Then I remembered that last time Claus was here, he gave me some blue dye. Out came the small stove and the pot, and two hours later, I had the most lovely, blue squirrel tails and 10 small, slim, long Icemans.
Bleached and dyed squirrel is impossible to get in Denmark and hard to get in a proper quality anywhere. By bleaching myself, I can careful monitor the progress and stop when the tail’s just right. And then go on to dyeing. Had I not had this skill, I’d probably have to order some from abroad (maybe even the UK, which is a unbelievable hassle after Brexit). But instead I had dyed some - and had I not, the world would have kept turning, but it was quite satisfying. And of course a bit luck I had an un-dyed tail and blue dye.
I’m slowly getting into another - enormous - rabbit hole. Classic salmon flies… I’m certainly not getting into the original, rare materials, but sourcing (not too expensive) adequate substitutes is hard enough.
Be very careful about which rabbit holes you get into - you’ll easily lose your way in the vast tunnel systems.
Have a great weekend!
PoD: Result accepted! What a fantastic, deep, royal blue, if I may so so.