Sowbug 2006

 About me
 On the bench
 Fly Swaps
 Friends Flies

Mountain Home, Arkansas - March 16-18

(The birth of a SWEDNECK)

Home / Arkansas   Looking back a few years: March in Sweden - still snowy and nasty. Not by far similar to green and sunny Mountain Home, Arkansas. I hate the Swedish winter, so warmer weather was very welcome. However, it was a true "from this to that" and not the right place or time to forget the sunscreen bottle in the suitcase. To my Icelandic skin, this sudden weather change came as a shock. The unforgiving Arkansas sun didn't need me standing in the water many hours to convince me who was the boss there.

  Together with Denny Conrad, Richard Komar and Joe Fusco, I stayed at the Wildcat Shoals Resort, right by the White River waterline. From there we were just a couple of minutes away from Tony Spezio, where we spent most of our Wildcat Shoals Resort time... inside, or in the river at his back yard. To me, with my problems combining fishing and transport, living like Tony without saying you've got everything, seems impossible. How many can stand in their favourite water and say "I'll be back in five minutes. I'm just going home to watch the weather forecast."... or how many can look out through their tying room window to see if the fish are taking anything from the surface? There is definitely where you want to live if you don't have a driver's license but still love to spend every free minute of your day in a fishing water.

  I came there with the nickname "Jester", that Swedish Redneck a year earlier was given to me by the Virtual FlyBox members. The effects of this sun very soon gave me another one though. Who was now the real redneck there? Was it the one who had been refered to as 'redneck' throughout his entire life, or was it the guy who, way more than anyone else in there, looked like a walking stop sign? There's real and there's real. "Redneck Nick", as well as "Nick, the Swedish Redneck", are nicknames given to me by others... and my burning skin told me that there was nothing fake about this... "Swedneck".

First show...

  It was bad timing for doing my first show. With a self-confidence like mine, tying for the first time in a hall together with tiers like that,At show I had already expected my nervousness to reach the level 'extreme' a couple of days before even walking through the doors. As it turned out though, this year I was the only international tier there. Thanks to that, my name had been in the newspaper and as if further notice was needed, a guy with a microphone on stage reminded the visitors when the show had started. There was no chance to get a quiet careful start and "grow" into the chair now. Knowing that everyone now both was aware of my presence and knew where I sat raised the nervousness to a level far beyond 'extreme'.

  But after studdering for a few hours, I finally began to get comfortable in my chair. At showI could start to raise my head and make eye contact with the people who sat down in front of me. Relaxation was all that was needed and now it became fun. It was two days of pain, both having to talk through cracked lips and to tie with the wrist I had hurt in the fall a couple of days earlier, but at least now pain was all that bothered me. The fear of tying with people watching had become a passed stage. A valuable lesson was learned though: Business cards are not to be forgotten if you're tying at a show. I was inexperienced and hadn't thought of it... and never before have I written my name and email address that many times in two days (not exactly making my wrist feel better). I won't leave those at home again.

  Of the shows I today have both behind me and ahead of me, I'm sure this will keep it's place as the one I'm looking back at as the one that has meant the most to me. Not only was it the first big one I did, but the trip also gave me the chance to meet people who I now had known for almost two years and who had put a lot of work into getting me there. These were the people I 2004 for the first time showed pictures of my flies (and then wanted to turn back time after doing it). These were the people who had nagged me hard until I finally participated in my first swap. These are the people who gradually have built up my self-confidence to the point where I would actually be able to accept an invitation to a show like this... and since a Sowbug Roundup is a Virtual Flybox Roundup, it was also an invitation to come and thank them in person.

The Virtual FlyBox

Look at a few photos from the show...
Look at a few "off duty" photos...



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