Exclusive interview with the author of the book Tying Flies with CDC - Leon Links.
CzechNymph: How would you briefly describe yoursef to our readers?
LL: Leon was born in 1953 in Dordrecht, Holland. He lives with partner and daughter in Zoetermeer near The Hague and is a teacher of Dutch language and Dutch literature. Apart from fly fishing he likes all beautiful things in life like reading, art, cooking and making pictures. He is interested in people and likes to write with them, exchange ideas and learn from them.
CzechNymph: When and how did you come across to flyfishing?
LL: I started flyfishing for trout in the summer of 1965 in Norway by accident and became a passionate fly fisher and flytyer ever since. As a twelve year old boy I made acquaintance with a French fishermen who taught me to cast a fly line.
CzechNymph: How is the flyfishing in Holland? Can you tell us what are the best fisheries and what are popular flyfishing techniques in Holland (the way you fish I mean..)
LL: Answers in the article I sent
CzechNymph: What are your popular fisheries in Europe?
LL: My most popular places are the northern parts of Norway and Sweden because of the unspoilt nature and the immense possibilities for fishing with flies. I’ve been to fishing camps a few times there: superb! My second most popular fishing takes place in the Soca area in Slovenia for complete other reasons. Good fishing, nice weather and I have some very good friends there.
CzechNymph: What is your favourite flyfishing technique?
LL: Fishing with large dry CDC flies and CDC emergers. The rise of a fish to my fly is my favourite moment during fishing, not striking the rod, playing or releasing the fish.
CzechNymph: What are your favourite "non CDC" flies?
LL: You can still find some Klinkhamer Specials and a few hair flies between all the CDC flies in my boxes. For sub surface fishing I use CDC Nymphs and something similar to Czech nymphs, designed by my friend Hans van Klinken. He calls this pattern ´Caseless Caddis´. You saw it in the web site you sent me.
CzechNymph: What equipment do you use when fishing with CDC flies?
LL: My favourite rod is an Orvis Springcreek #3 with a # 4 line. It is one of the rods from the good old western series. It might be almost twenty years old now and I fish it almost every week. I fear for the moment that it will brake down. I own several modern and expensive rods but they can’t compete with my spring creek
CzechNymph: Have you ever been in the Czech republic or in Slovakia? What do you know about fishing there?
LL: I have been to Plzen and Praha twenty years ago but I didn’t fish. I have edited several articles for the Dutch flyfishing magazine – I am member of the editorial staff – on fishing in the Czech republic and Slovakia. All people I know who fish in the Czech republic are enthusiast and go back year after year.
CzechNymph: Is Czech nymphing known (and used) in Holland. Are you fishing Czech nymphs sometimes?
LL: Czech nymphing is not very known here in Holland. Some people know it from the film of Oliver Edwards, a book of John Roberts and from other people. But not many people know a lot about it. I used to practice a sort of Czech nymphing in the Belgian Ardennen when fishing the rivers Ourthe and Amblève. These rivers have small streams and fishing a very short line keeping contact with the fly was always very rewarding. I fished all kinds of heavy nymphs like Hare´s Ears Nymphs, Gold Head Nymphs etc.
CzechNymph: Where and how would you fish your L shrimp?
LL: I fish the shrimp in waters with rich Gammararus populations like the rivers in Denmark, but I have the feeling that fish also take this fly for a caseless caddis. A dead drift style (semi Czech style) works well.
CzechNymph: Where can we see you tie your flies? Are there any shows you visiting regulary?
LL: I tie my flies on shows incidentally. In February I’ve been tying on a show in Paris. After publication of the CDC book I am being invited in Holland and Belgium by fly fishing clubs all the time to tell about CDC and do some demo tying.
MOL: What is your flyfishing dream?
LL: It is my dream to stay and fish on a river for a complete season for instance the Soca, to see the nature come out after winter, to follow the insect hatches, to shoot pictures, observe other fishermen, talk to them, and then in the end after the closing day… make a small book with the best pictures and texts on the best memories.
CzechNymph: What was the main motive for writing your book about CDC?
LL: I am a fanatic CDC addict and I believe strongly that this material has a lot to offer to the fly fishing world, and nobody so far had made a serious attempt to bring together all relevant information on the subject. So …
CzechNymph: How long did you work on the book and what was most difficult on it?
LL: It took almost four years from the first letter on paper to the launch of the book during Fly Fair 2002 in Holland. The most difficult part of the job was writing it in English. It is not so difficult to write an article in English, but a complete book…
CzechNymph: In how many languages was the book published and how many books where produced?
LL: The book was published by Merlin Unwin Books, England, for the European market, and by Stackpole Books for the American market. The Czech version is the first translation. I am not sure how many books were produced, I could guess but don’t know if the publisher would be happy with that.
CzechNymph: How did you make your tying instruction? Can you explain the procedure?
LL: I have no secrets regarding fly fishing! It is something I like to share. For shooting the pictures of tying sequences it is necessary to work with a professional flash equipment, like two mono blocks with umbrellas. I work with two camera systems, Nikon for small film, and Bronica for mid format and small film. The positive thing about the Bronica is that you can change the film backs and that you can shoot a Polaroid for control.
CzechNymph: What are you top 3 CDC flies from you book?
1. F Fly (Marjan Fratnik)
2. Once & Away (Hans van Klinken)
3. L Compara Dun (Leon Links)
CzechNymph: Any future plans regarding writing?
LL: I am working for the Dutch fly fishing magazine and contribute with at least five – six articles annually. It is my job to review films, books and fly fishing/ fly tying equipment/ materials. In due course I would like to make a more general fly tying book.
CzechNymph: Many thanks for the inteveiw and Goede vangst!