Summary of 2011 – the turn around year

If there is one thing that is a sort of tradition in my blogging it has to be the yearly summary. A reflection of the year that went by and the events that passed in it. I really like this myself because it gives me time to reflect and remember. Something of a closure of the year.

Let’s just start with establishing the fact that 2010 was a terrible year. A lot of bad things happened and eventhough there were just a few really bad, like the passing of my mother in law, things sort of pilled up and made 2010 a year that I think I am gonna remember along with 2007 as a couple of the worst years in my life. So it was with with quite a lot of anticipation I gor rid of that year and stepped into 2011 with hopes and dreams, among other things Grayling Dreams.

Yes, because what I had started planning for real during 2010 came to life early 2011, my own distribution company that I’ve been running now for a full year beside my regular day job. And in January I was just starting and didn’t quite know what to expect, but I knew that I had some really interesting products with me that I was gonna take to some of the dealers that I knew well and who knew me. There were a lot of things to learn and to draw experience from early on, but I set a goal to have delivered products to 10 dealers by the end of the year.

January was also very much about winter, the coldest and snowiest winter in a hundred years. It had started already in mid-november and didn’t actually go away until late march. This was very hard on all of us who are fly fishermen, but for me it also prevented my local fly fishing for pike that I during normal conditions would be able to do most of the winter. For my family it was also a hard time because my fiancée was still very much suffering from the serious leg fracture she had conducted back in november and spent most of her time in a wheel chair. Getting out in four feet of snow was not the easiest of task.

We tried to make the best of it, tried to be out with the kids in the snow as much as we could and also got visits from both my brother and sister and their families a couple of times early in the year. But all I wanted was for the winter to end. I tied quite a lot of flies in January and also did a lot of experimeting with lightboxes and my camera. This period of the year often results in a new pattern or two for the comming fishing and show season, this year it was very much the “Still got the blues for you” baitfish that was the newest and hottest from my vise, at least in my own opinion.

As February came I started to plan for the coming big show in Sweden, the Swedish fly fishing fair in March and started to tie up a few flies for that. Winter was still at large and it was really getting hard not having fished since November but we began to slowly see an end to the dark times.

Work was hard and I found myself being tired and moody most of the time, as so many times before my fantastic kids were my saviors and kept me floating above everything else. I keep thinking to myself that no matter what disappointments life  throw at me I will be okay as long as I have my kids with me. I will never ever let them down because they are so much bigger than anything else in my life.

March came and it was time for the highlight show of the year, the one that kinds kicks off the season; The Swedish fly fishing fair. This year was probably just as fun as always, for me it was extra exciting because I was tying with a lot of the products that I now was distributing trough my company and at the same time my friends at Stockholms flugfiskecenter had a big booth there selling all the stuff too.

It was successful for both of us, but the fair it self was struggling having failed to attract any of the big brands like LOOP, Guideline and Vision. I got to meet old friends like Chris Reeves and Simon Graham who had the misfortune of catching some kind of stomach bug during the fair but also got to meet new friends, and a living legend in A.K. Best. I think that was one of the highlights for me this year getting to meet him, watch him tie and chat a little with him. A very nice man and very funny.

The best thing with March was that I finally got to get out and fish, this years premier happened on the 28th of March and it was a little bit too early. A lot of ice still in most bays when me and my friend Magnus got out. It didn’t really matter, I got to spend a day in my home waters that I had missed so much and got to swing a rod for a day, it was a start of the first real fishing season for me in over two years. Because even if I had fished more during 2010 than the year before it was still very few days compared to previous years. I got out again ten days after that and caught five pike in an hours fishing and was happy like a tornado on a camping.

Then another week after that it was time for the annual Elmer goes pike trip when my fishing buddies come down to my waters to fly fish for pike for 3-4 days and just have a great time. This year was slightly different though, first of all I started the trip one day early and brought my oldest son Kristoffer with me and secondly we got some very nice company for two days. That extra day with my son was special, very special. I had one clear aim for the day, to get him to catch his first pike. And we succeeded in that, he did catch his first pike, and somehow the circle was closed. I had now taken him to the same spot that my father took me to when I caught my first pike some 30 years ago, and now I have planted the same seed in him. A proud and more happy father I was right there and then trying to hold my tears back when he lifted that little pike with a big grin.

The rest of the trip saw me, Magnus, Anders and Roger fish tough conditions with quite lousy fishing from time to time. We did in the end catch a few pikes but it was a clear set back after seing a clear increase of pike during the last three years. What was fun though was that my friends Marc Fauvet and Jeanette Linnarud came to fish with us for two of the three days. Marc is a great guy, very warm and kind and funny, and Jeannette is  equally warm and fun so it was just a very pleasant time we got to have together. Too bad that the fishing was not at its best but that’s fishing, you never really know. Also it would have helped it my boat had been in better condition so that we could have traveled faster and fished more spots but it was okay anyway.

I got to fish three more times that spring, with mixed result, the fishing was actually at its best in early may when I got down to fish with my brother and my uncle for the first time in over 10 years. I regret that I didn’t get out more in may because I think I  could have had really good pike fishing based on how the fishing progressively got better and better in April.

Things were looking lighter now, winter was gone, I had fished quite a lot and I could almost smell summer in the air and with it came the dream of the north, small streams with crystal clear waters and dry fly fishing for trout and grayling. Yes, I was about to go to my first real summer trip since 2008. As I said I’d had two years with not much fishing at all, and my anticipation for comming up to the land of the midnight sun was high to say the least. Camping, fishing, hiking and just being with friends, nothing come close to it in my book.

April and May had seen the start of a very turbulent time at my regular job, global restructuring was at hand and there was confusing and a lot of uncertainty for me and my colleagues, something that would gett progressivly worse during the year. But I was not too concerend about that just then because I had my long summer vacation and my northen trip to look forward to.

Before it was time to go away I needed to tie flies for my own box for the first time in a long time, so I started this project on the  blog where I went from a totally empty box and filled it with dry fly patterns for the trip. It was so much fun to do this, and also so much to share it on the blog. Classic patterns like the Klinkhammer and red tag was mixed with some of my own like the SRM emerger and the ant.

My long summer vacation started in mid june. It was supposed to have started with me goin to the Brittish fly fair but again I had to cancel this great event. 2010 I had to cancel because of the accident with my fianceé and it was partly because of this I had to cancel again. We had suffered echonomically from the injury with very little income on her part for months and I found myself in a position where I had to chose wether to go to the show in England or go to the fishing trip later that summer. I chosed fishing.

I got to fish a day at the Tiveden fishery in mid june too, a great day out with friends I hadn’t met for a long time. The weather was lousy, and I didn’t catch any fish but it was still a great day. Something of a preview of the days to come later that summer. While waiting for that I spent all my time with the family, enjoying summer weather with swimming and exploring and just being outside. It was a great time, litteraly no clouds on my sky at that point.

And then it was time finally for the summer trip to Dellik river, the Crystal river as we came to call it. It was a week that had all that I had dreamed of and then some more. Some might have seen the fishin we had being not so good but I was happy with it anyway, I didn’t catch that 3 pound trout that I had hope to but I got to fish some fantastic water and catch some amazingly beautiful trout on dry fly.

Here’s all post that talks about this trip for you to read more if you want:

This photo somehow summarize it all for me, a fantastic spot in a fantastic river together with fantastic friends.

When I got back home again it was of course with a strong loonging to get back up there but also with a feeling of feeling stronger, more confident and more whole as a person again. This was exactly what I had been missing and the short two day trip the year before had not been close to enough. I won’t go as far as say that I was a changed man but I was more close to the man I am supposed to be.

Summer went past quickly and work got hectic all autumn. The uncertainty that we had during the spring culminated and things got very hard on a lot of us in September and October and I felt really bad from time to time. Eventually it turned out good and I got a new management position at work but the process here was very rough and not handled very well.

But apart from that I had a good autumn. Grayling Dreams business had been slow all summer but from September and onwards alot of things have sort of fallen into place, we reached our goal of 10 dealers wich in itself feels amazing.

Fishing was also good. From last week in August I got out once a week for six consecutive weeks pike fishing, and the fishing was really good from time to time too! A took advantage more of living so close to the baltic sea and went out on more 1-2 hour sessions. As october came I found myself so busy with all things so I didn’t manage a fishing day again until early December.

August also so a start to this, the way of the /:Fly:/ blogg project. I had been following some new (to me) fishin bloggers during the summer and found that I was impressed by them for how they blogged and the way the kept a theme to their bloggin in a way that I had never managed. So I decided to start from scratch and start a new blogg. For the first two months of it I kept a feroicous tempo blogging but it has been less and less as other things have kept me busy.

In november I took my other big trip of the year, to Somerset in New Jersey USA to tie along with ten other Swedish fly tyers at the International Fly tying Symposium! I had been wanting to go to this event for many years but hadn’t had the money to go there but I finally managed to get over with my friends and it was a great event! The best thing had to be meeting a lot of friends that I had only known from the internet over the year but now got the chance to see in real life. People like Bob Mead, Martin Bawden, Dave Schmezer, Bruce Corwin, Lyle Graf, Gary Borger, Chuck Furminsky, Mike Schmidt, Pat Cohen and many, many more made the four days over there  great!

November and December has been good, warm, light and with no snow. It looks like it is gonna be a mild winter this year. I am already looking forward to fishing in January in February. Maybe even some Sea trout fishing this year. December also saw me go to a small show in Uppsala hosted by my good friend Niklas Dahlin for the second year in a row. I really like this even, it is small but still very well visited and with a lot of great people attending and visiting.

As I write this on the last day of 2011 it is with joy I look back at most things this year. I think that when I get old I am gonna look back to this year as the year where a lot of projects took up, a year when I tried to juggle with a whole lot of things and pulled it off. Yes there are things that I still regret 2011, people that I still miss so much everyday, but apart from that this year has been the best in a long time. And the best feeling right now is that everythin points towards 2012 being an even better year. 23 fishing days in 2011 might not seem much to some of you but it was the most I’ve had for quite some time, my new years resolution is that I am gonna have even more days 2012!

Thank you for reading this and supporting me this year!

About Ulf Hagström

Fly fishing, fly tying, family and going your own way; the way of the fly. View all posts by Ulf Hagström

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