For roughly the last three weeks I’ve been taking refuge at my new home in the charming countryside village of Ålberga (pronounced: ool-berry-ya). I’ve been welcomed into a vibrant group of people who live communally on a small farm outside of the nearby city of Nyköping. The 6 hectare homestead was started in the early 60’s by the matriarch/patriarch couple of Kjell and Marianne—two quasi-revolutionary hippies who are living proof that the green wave is still alive and kicking. Since the farms inception, their children and their children’s children have all moved to the property to grab a little slice of surrealistic beauty. With friends, family and transplants included, the year round inhabitants of Smedstorp total 16 people, span 4 generations and come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. The property is decorated with over a dozen hand-built structures of various sizes, functions and designs. Chickens and sheep roam freely around the grounds, adding to the au-naturale vibe. Everything that can’t be recycled or composted (including human waste) is burned and turned into ash fertilizer. Everything is made from scratch and repairs are necessarily taken care of in-house. One can’t help but notice a sense of organized chaos in this beautiful place. But it’s in the best possible way.
Living on a commune requires a unique perspective on possession and belonging. It seems as though many of us would approach this living arrangement with a bit of reluctance. Relinquishing our personal freedoms for the benefit of others doesn’t usually come easily. But I’ve learned to love the simplicity and joy in this lifestyle. I support you and you support me. Together we can do more. No need to make things complicated. Most everything — especially the land — is universally shared at Smedstorp. Though everyone seems to maintain separate households, schedules and prerogatives with no issue. This style of living offers many benefits to the country life. Rather than living in solitude on the farm, Smedstorp residents always have something going on to entertain them. Aside from international travelers rolling through every so often, there are many attractions that bring people to this magnetic place. Just this week we wrapped up a festival of culture and arts. Completely organized and funded by the family, over 250 people were in attendance to celebrate the joys and beauty of simple living in the country. There is no doubt that everyone here has an overflowing passion for nature.
The mobility and ease of bike fishing cannot be overstated. Coupled with a Badger Tenkara Classic rod, this simple quiver for exploring has given me a great deal of flexibility in choosing the perfect fishing spot. Many of the lakes I've tried in this area have been duds. Perhaps I'm not patient enough, but casting from shore without live bait or a boat only allows me so much room for experimentation. So rather than continuing my efforts at a slow hole, I'd simply pack up my gear and move down the shoreline or to a new lake entirely. Collapsing the rod and wrapping my line takes less than two minutes and I'm back on the bike and mobile. After repeating this process of trial and error a few times over, I found a lake which started paying off: Navsjön.
Like most fish, Aborra are more active during early and late periods of the day. This explains why my strikes increased as the day went on. They are also sub-surface feeders so I was choosing my flies accordingly--going only for weighted emergers and nymphs. I found the most successful fly to be a small orange nymph wrapped in copper wire with a gold beaded head. I used about 3 feet of tippet with an indicator attached right where it met the level line. This helped to give some suspensory properties but also allowed me to more easily tell when I should set the hook. I searched for natural habitats like sunken logs and lily pads to cast into, and would get as close to the as possible. When I had nailed my target, I would allow the fly to sink before slowly dragging it along the contour of my chosen habitat. No action other than a gradual troll through the water. When I felt a nibble, I'd delicately set the line by snapping the rod up. As before, pulling in the hooked Aborra by hand was a breeze. I'd wait until the fish was done fighting, reach for the line, set my rod down gently and continue to pull him in hand over hand. With small fish this is very simple but I'd love to give it a try with a bigger more sporty catch.