Mountain Home, Arkansas - March 16-18
SOWBUG ROUNDUP 2006
(The birth of a SWEDNECK)
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
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
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".
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,
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. I 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...