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European Fly Fishing Association

Hendrik Wiegand

Today we introduce belly boat specialist, Hendrik Wiegand - The Jack of all trades and "the Belly-Boat-Man".

Born in Hamburg, Hendrik Wiegand has turned his hobby into his profession. He has been teaching fly fishing, belly boat fishing and fly tying for many years. He is 52 years old and lives near Stade / Lower Saxony, on the banks of the Lower Elbe, Germany. His home territory is in Bavaria, on the idyllic Förchensee. Yes, and he is also a food lover.

Hendrik started fly fishing in the summer of 1978 on the Mühlheimer Ache/AT. Back then with a glass rod - a real "lamb's tail". Horror total!

He took his first fly-fishing steps with his  father. But he really learned fly fishing in terms of casting, tying, setting and belly boat fishing from Hans Gebetroither, Frank de la Porte and Valerio Santagostino. These three people accompanied him, shaped him and gave him what he now teaches his students with conviction. Actually, he "only" came to fly fishing during a fishing holiday in Upper Austria 39 years ago. Unimaginable. Today Hendrik fishes 100% with the fly and 90% with the belly boat.

What fascinates Hendrik most about fly fishing is nature, being active on the water and moving in harmony with nature with all due respect. His favourite places to fish are the Förchensee in Bavaria or the Deutsche Traun on the Pillersee in Tyrol, which is always something very special for him. "Immerse yourself in the world you are at home in on the water". This is how Hendirk experiences the moment he melts into the water with fly rod and belly boat. "And when you feel that you are one with the water, pay attention to everything and have a bit of luck, then you catch the cautious, the really big fish". 2009 was such a moment. He still remembers the great feeling of catching an 8.5 kg rainbow trout with a bunny streamer from a belly boat in still water in northern Germany.

The EFFA was not a must for Hendrik. Why should he? Until EFFA veteran Günter Feuerstein worked on him until he said yes. Yes, and then the time had come. Hendrik Wiegand: I'm not interested in the statutes. I'm interested in what's going on. I am convinced that EFFA still has a lot of potential. In today's hectic world, we often overlook the little things. Things that make it and make our life and hobby so worth living. Uniting for a sport and getting involved, each in his own little garden, with the big goal of promoting the next generation and protecting nature. And if you do it respectfully, honestly and thoughtfully, fly fishing is a way of dealing with nature and yourself in the most beautiful way.

There are many things that speak for but also against our fishing waters - environmental protection, bird protection, nature conservation, etc. How do you see the development of fish waters in Europe?

Hendrik Wiegand: I think we can learn a lot from the Scandinavians in this respect. The Scandinavians have an excellent understanding of their environment because they have literally grown up with nature. In Germany, there is far too much politics, just empty haymaking. Unfortunately, the EU and the so-called nature conservation associations are not entirely innocent of the misery.

…you can find me on top of the water! :-)


Text: Stefan Schramm

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