My name is Robert Verkerk. I was born in Amsterdam, in 1969. The first time I went fishing, was with my grandfather. During my childhood, I basically fished each and every day. I had heard of fly fishing at the time, but it wasn’t until I moved to Norway, before I tried it myself. I was intrigued by this hobby. I found it magnificent, that you could choose between a variety of lines, to balance the force of the current, and control the depth of your fly. Almost as if presentation was reduced to an accurate science, whereas the lures I used before, were just a mechanical repetition of the same motion. I was hooked, and it wasn’t long before I had caught my first salmon, a beautiful, fresh, 7lb female on a Thunder and Lightning, size 4.
A few years, and many trips later, I started to get bored with the available commercial flies. I had started to envision a specific type of fly, based on my experience in the river. But whatever I found in stores or online, nothing looked even remotely close to what I had thought up. So I bought a few materials and tied a few very simple, yet elegant flies that would prove to be very succesfull, that same year. This is more or less how I started on a mission, that took me through a world of tube flies to the world of the classic salmon fly.
Digging through decades of history, I found that old masters’ instructions on fishing for salmon, were a close match to many of the approaches and methods that I had learned and adapted myself. I became obsessed with research, with the ultimate goal, to improve my fishing and to get closer to the traditions.I tie my flies with a lot of devotion, attention to detail and full of anticipation of the coming season. Depending on the fly, it takes up to 5 hours to complete one. When a salmon takes, it is a rewarding feeling, a conclusion of a long process. It makes me feel connected to the traditions of my people, to the masters of old.
I started the website ClassicFlyTying.net as a digital notebook for my personal use, as a collection of information, verified to be historically correct. From there, it grew to what it is today: the reference guide for traditional salmon fly tying.