Portrait: The fish artist Lars Østergaard

There is no doubt that many anglers live to fish. Lars Østergaard Jensen has lived of it for almost 30 years.
By Søren Skarby

- This is my comment on the fly chauvinists.
Lars Østergaard Jensen lays a watercolor on the table. The now classic Funen fly Fyggi is being chased by… ..an ulk.
- One of my friends screamed with laughter and bought it right away.

 Lars Oestergaard finishing one of his art works

The watercolor is definitely not the only one in the room. They hang on the walls and stand stacked up by a cupboard, all with Lars ’signature in the bottom right corner. The pictures all represent something to do with angling. A landscape by a river, flies and of course fish.

- The fish must fit the landscape, says Lars and pulls out a beautiful watercolor of a spring trout painted together with a glowing autumn landscape. Its colors just do not work well with spring flowers.
As if to prove the conscious choice of landscape and fish, another watercolor is placed on the table, a silver salmon that is of course in a winter landscape. < / div>
Lars is a trained graphic artist, the sense of color has a professional superstructure, but he is first and foremost an angler. That is why it is now rare for Lars to take the sketch pad out to the water. He prefers to paint after photographs.
- It's not really good to sit there and draw crumbs when a fish starts ringing. It's terribly distracting when it jerks the throwing arm, he says with a laugh.

The old, it holds

At one end of the room stands a huge mass of rods of very different ages and materials. Lars is a collector and can not help but get old stuff up under his nails. - - If I now find such a nice old wheel from the 40's, which just needs to be touched a little and have a dab of oil, then of course it should be used with a rod from the same time. It must fit together.
The gear is not only placed on a shelf, it is used and caught fish with. Lars has such a large collection of ABU flashes that he dares to fish with some of the old fine ones, as long as there is a double at home. That the old rods can hold to a part was proved a few years ago. Lars was involved with a German fish magazine editor in a violent car accident. On a Jutland road, they rumbled along with a van.
- I went out like a candle. The editor, who is an old boxer, retained consciousness but broke some ribs. Fortunately, nothing happened to the driver of the van. The most injured were all the carbon fiber rods in the back of the car. All shattered completely apart. We also had some split cane rods with us. They were bent thoroughly by the collision, but unlike the carbon fiber pins, they could be straightened out again with some heat. I'm still fishing with them.

Hard work

That Lars was with a German fishing magazine editor was no coincidence. He can, as a true Southern Jew, speak fluent German. For years, he has provided countless articles on angling for "Blinker" and "Fliegenfischen." It says something about the crowd that when Lars had to move a few years ago, he had to drive twice to transport 30 vintages of Blinker.
- My bette car could not carry them. I've delivered something to a lot of tracks.
He has taken German fishing journalists around the country to show them how much Denmark can offer a fishing tourist. Lars has also traveled around by train in northern Germany with a large collection of slides. He had 30 kg slide slides and control desks in his luggage and gave lectures on Danish angling. - It was hugely heavy, not very well paid, but quite fun.
When the tourists have come to Denmark, Lars has been their guide.
- Being a guide pulls nails. When the customer catches something, it's because he's good. When the customer does not catch anything, it is the guide's fault, says Lars.
In Denmark, many know Lars from his countless articles and illustrations in Sportsfiskeren, where he is still associated today and local editor for southern Denmark. In addition, he has illustrated and translated a number of books, edited the Angler's Wallet and a whole lot of other things. Along with the sale of watercolors, it provides something reminiscent of an income.
- You have to be around yourself and sometimes be able to live on a rock. It is not as romantic to live off angling as anyone goes and imagines. It has costs to turn his overriding hobby into his work.
At times, he has contented himself with photographing only, and not necessarily anything with fish, or only fished to fish. In this way, Lars has maintained the pleasure of what he likes to do.

The Old Store

Lars clearly acknowledges that he is on the shoulders of the old, great angling writers, and he has known and worked with some of them. Out in the South Jutland landscape, he points out places Svend Saabye has drawn and tells about "the dubious veterinarian", Preben Torp Jacobsen. - You were Des with the vet. At least in the beginning, says Lars with a big smile. But if one fattened a little for him, he became very docile. He was too technical and too little narrative for me, but very careful.
Lars has especially worked with Jens Ploug Hansen and illustrated some of his books.
- He knew I was working late so he could call at one o'clock at night when he had an idea. Jens almost sprayed out ideas. It was just about keeping up.
The bookshelf also contains works by Kurt Malmbak-Kjeldsen, Nils Mogensen and Bent Lauge Madsen.
- I'm a little proud to have illustrated them.

Anything but carp

If you want to write about angling in all its forms, you must also cultivate them. Lars likes it all. His season swings between fat fins in the creek and on the shore, perch in the lake, out rocking on the Yellow Reef or whatever it turns out to be. Fly, blink, bait, everything is good. A single thing he does not do again, however, and there was, as usual, a German mixed into it. Before carp fishing had become something special in Denmark, a German fishing journalist asked if it could not be done in Denmark. Lars found the lake and solemnly promised to feed twice a day for a week. He cheated and did it only once a day.
- I only had one bike and there was a long way, laughs Lars.
The German showed up with everything that belonged to the subject, and then it was just a matter of waiting.
- After three days I could no longer. Being tied to a place is not exactly my style. So I started looking for some perch with a spinner. It was immediately banned, I could scare the carp. I thought otherwise his boiles plop abundantly when thrown into the water.
The carp was captured and the German was happy until it was determined that it should be killed. The hook sat so deep and unfortunate that there was nothing to do.
- This is the only time I've seen a grown man cry over a dead fish. It was me who had to send it to the eternal bog holes.

Tourists with a Men

Due to his commitment, Lars has been invited to a conference on angling tourism. - There were a lot of people with good educations and jobs, and then I discovered that I was the only one who fished. They only had dollar signs in their eyes, but no understanding or knowledge of what is really required.
Lars would very much like more tourists to come to Danish fishing waters, but it requires a bit of leg work before.
- In every small association, a huge amount of work is done with watercourse care, releases and the environment, and it also has an effect on how many sea trout there are on the coast. . If the locals do not have to feel that they work for free in order for others to make money, some of the income must be returned to the associations for the benefit of the members.
That's why he wants the local associations involved when it comes to projects with angling tourism, everyone should benefit from it.
- It should preferably not end like the story of a German fly fisherman who had a large sea trout somewhere on the west coast of Funen. Two Danish spinner fishermen immediately started throwing across his line. He should not take their fish. It was not pretty.
The largest
The day Lars decided to make a living as an angling writer, he resigned from all the boards he was a member of. Even stopped being president of the association where his childhood runs.
- It's such a kind of separation of church and state. There should be no one who can say that I serve certain interests.
He still fishes in the southern Jutland rivers. That was where he ran into one of the kind of trout most people dream of.
- At first I thought it was a sea trout, so big a brown trout could not possibly be. When it came in to the shore, however, there was nothing to be mistaken for. I called the association's treasurer and asked if he did not provide a cup of coffee. He writhed a little on the phone and said it was late.
Then Lars drew the trump card.
- If I now say red dots, 3.3 kg and 63 cm. Then you bring the now, almost strained cashier into the phone, Lars remembers.
Somewhere down in Lars' hiding place there is probably a beautiful watercolor of trout. Fish of that caliber deserve to be painted by him.
  • It pulls nails out to be a guide. When the customer catches something, it's because he's good. When the customer does not catch anything, it's the guide's fault
  • If the locals do not have to feel that they are working for free in order for others to make money, some of the income must be returned to the associations

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