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2001 edition

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96 pages 55 images in duotone. Published by Aperture



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Flyfish's Reports

Finnish International Fly Fair

in Tampere,

Finland

April 2001

Fly Fairs vitalise our beloved fly fishing.

Like the recent fly fair in Sweden, the Finnish Fly Fair in Tampere is based on the long Scandinavian tradition of fly tying which was recently highlighted so sadly by the death of Simo Lumme one of Finland's most renowned fly anglers. This Finnish fly tying tradition has a very wide impact encouraging people from a very young age to start tying. And perhaps it is only logical that it is a Finn who also initiated and still runs the Swedish fly fair too.

Apparently Finland is also the Nordic country where the increase in the sale of fly fishing equipment is greatest. Therefore it is not surprising that it was the first Nordic country to arrange the World Fly Fishing Championship in Kuusamo 1989.

But at the same time it is also the country where the number of anglers fishing for their daily meal is probably the largest. Fly fishing is still one of the methods of really catching fish, as in northern Sweden. And C&R is therefore a hot topic to discuss in many parts, and "mouth fights" about a good venue or a hot holding place could be a loud reality on the rivers.

However earlier fly fairs and this year's show only happy faces, and as with the increasing multitude of gear, activities and shows this year, lead to cover a larger show area.

Tampere - where the fair is held - looks well placed geographically. But perhaps a move closer to the bigger cities of Helsinki and Turku would help to raise the number of visitors to the same levels as in the Swedish fly fair or the Danish Flyfestival in Kolding. Normally the visitors to the two day fair are about half the number of the three day fair in Sweden or a bit less than the Danish Flyfair. This year's fair had less fewer visitors and a reorganisation was said to be to blame. Also many important tackle dealers and brands were missing this year.

But from a viewers point the only obvious change to previous years was the doubled show area for the fair. This really made it possible to watch and participate in casting instructions. There were also competitions fought where the altmeister and former Finnish world champion in 1963, Carl-Olof Granfeldt showed how he still masters accuracy casting skills. One of the competitions was won by the young Finnish female caster Marianne Kosonen. .

But even if the larger area was for casting, the major activities were concentrated around the fly tiers. On one stand one of the instructors was Risto Vekara, who with an 8th placing in the Finnish Junior Fly Tying Championships really knew how to tie. He inspired many more young tiers to visit his booth and was keen to share with them his seecrets. At the other end of the scale of skills, the English fly tier Terry Ruane was excelling at his craft on Partridge hooks. Some of his flies were so realistic that they easily could be taken for real insects.

Another big attraction was the Finnish magazine Pohjolan Perhokalastaja with all the current and back issues of the magazine for all fly fishers loaded with articles and info. Among them one article on the famed Super-pupa, another on Finn-Biots and field reports on gear, fishing destinations and also one on how to fish the Finnish Sculpin and more.

For those interested in how various wet-fly materials behave in water, still another stand displayed a plexi- glass water tank, where a constant current helped to give life to the flies and their dressing. This was especially attractive for the children that visited the fair.

Heikki 'Pompero' Anttonen, one of the "regulars" at the fair instructed casting especially the style adopted for dry fly fishing for Atlantic salmon with his Bomber varation the Pompero. And his Pompero flies were also on display. Actually it is a fly that has proven very effective also for brown trout and grayling.

If tying a fishing fly from various materials in most cases is a skill with artistic virtues, the assembly and making of a fly rod, especially a cane rod, is a passionate craft. In Tampere Juha Viista, previously in the Finnish international fly fishing team, really showed how to make that delicate instrument for fly fishing we call a rod. Although not made from Bamboo but from graphite, his rods showed exquisite craftmanship.

Apart from the tackle dealers, fly tiers, importers and accessories found at the show, there also were some hot fly fishing destinations. For example the Teno river, various rivers in the Kola peninsula and Lapland caught the eye with competitive prices and excellent fishing.

The remaining feeling of the Fly Fair is the display of vitality of Finnish fly fishing, especially with its firm grip on youngsters. But even if one of the famed founders of one of the largest Finnish fly tying competitons is a woman, Maria Renforss who was sent by her father to England some 80 years ago to learn to tie flies, still more women would be utterly welcome in fly fishing to vitalise it still more.

See you on the waters

Harry

For any questions or further information please mail: Flyfish

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Copyright © April 2001 HS Skriv & Utred, Harry Salmgren.