woensdag 31 december 2008


It all begins with a vast amount of skins, feathers, hairs, threads, shiny trinkets, beads, gold, silver and glittering fabrics and what have you. A whole sewing notions collection of 'haute couture' your average redneck homofobiac would shy away from with a shreek (high pitched).

Once you have established yourself amidst the raw materials that shine on you, have a go at one of the oldest arts and crafts surrounding the mystery of fly fishing. Beware though, fly tying is hard work and extremely addictive. Rows of volumes have been written on tying patterns and insect mimicry alone. The art goes way back.


In AD 200 the Roman Claudius Aelianus, in his book On the Nature of Animals, described how people fished with a fly in the river Astracus in Macedonia. In the beginning of the 13th Century a German romance written in about 1210 by Wolfram von Eschenbach mentions the catching of trout and grayling using a 'feathered hook'. The hero of the novel wades barefoot in a stream to catch trout and grayling with a fly. From 1360 onwards, across a vast area reaching from the Swiss plain to Styria, other texts identify fly fishing as the chosen method of commoners. In the early 15th Century a manuscript, kept at the Bavarian abbey of Tegernsee, lists at least fifty different fly patterns for catching carp, pike, catfish, burbot and salmon as well as trout and grayling.

Above: a few dry flies, designed to float high on the surface water while imitating local insect life. Special feathers, called 'Cul de Canard', from around the oily anal gland of certain duck species ensure extreme floatability.

Above: a closer look at a few effective nymph patterns, weighted so they will sink rapidly to where the fish are...

You have dry flies, wet flies, streamers and nymphs. The nymph imitates the larval state of an insect born out of the waters in which one fishes. The fly fishing term 'match the hatch' revers to the hatching of vast amounts of nymphs rising to the surface to evolve into the adult insect and become airborne. The hatch is a moment in time in which fish feast on both the rising nymphs as the developing adults . With equipment improvement and American fishing tackle coming to England around 1900, nymph fishing slowly began to arise. George Edward Mackenzie Skues was the nymph fishing technique's inventor and chief theoretician. Like dry-fly fishing, nymph fishing was developed in the English chalk streams. This is because such streams are fine to experiment in, with their clear water, abundant insect life, and selective fish which have become familiar with hooks due to the active flyfishing.

When fly fishing in 19th and 20th century developed even more, streamers where designed to lure great sweet- and saltwater predatory fish. Nowadays we have hundreds and hundreds of streamer patterns that will catch you billfish, dorado, tuna, bonefish, snook, jack, zander, perch and pike, to name but a few ferocious fish species.

Above a collection of effective pike streamers. Takes you hours to tie, cost you a fortune in feathers, but boy do they reek havoc among the Northern pike (Esox lucius)! Below: neat rows and rows of nymphs that do the trick: they will catch you fish almost anywhere in the world.

zondag 14 december 2008


We are led to believe that the life of a modern single is full of joy and self-fulfillment, career opps and splendid outings to far away resorts affordable only for the wealthy loner. But dating sites all over the net bursting to their maximum capacity do nothing but shout about a great sense of loss and loneliness. Thousands and thousands of self-proclaimed happy singles search feverishly for Cinderella or that one knight in shining armor. For the most part only to be met with deception after deception. Of which little is told.

Nearly half a million single parents in the Netherlands
As more married and unmarried couples with children decide to split up, the number of single parents in the Netherlands continues to grow. On 1 January 2008, there were 466 thousand single parents in the Netherlands. Since 1995, the number of one-parent families has increased by 30 percent. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) anticipates the number of single parents to reach 494 thousand in 2016. Subsequently, a gradual decrease will occur. The number of two-parent families will drop by 40 thousand over the same period.

Increase in single parents in the Netherlands divided by males and females

Splitting up
The increase in single parents is predominantly caused by the fact that more married and unmarried couples decide to split up. The proportion of never-married and divorced single parents is significantly higher in 2008 than in 1995. This applies to single fathers and mothers. In one-parent families, approximately half of fathers and mothers are divorced in 2008.

One million singles more in 2030
The number of singles will increase from 2.4 million in 2003 to 3.4 million in 2030. The main causes for the increase are the breaking up of relationships and the aging of the population.

Middle aged and older
The increase in the number of singles will occur among middle-aged and older people. The number of singles aged between 30 and 64 will increase from 1.2 million in 2003 to 1.5 million in 2030. In these age groups the major reason for being single is ending the relationship. In the future an increasing number of people will live together without getting married. Unmarried couples split up faster than married couples. After breaking up the ex-partners will live alone, either temporarily or permanently. In these age groups it is the men who usually end up living alone. After the break-up women usually live with the children.

Increase in singles in the Netherlands divided by age group

This middle-aged single signing out for now.
(Source: CBS, The Netherlands, Arie de Graaf and Andries de Jong)