The Catskill Fly Fishing
Center and Museum

This page was last updated on
December 9, 2004 6:06 PM

Poul Jorgensen (1926 - 2004)

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On November 29, 2004, Poul Jorgensen passed away in his sleep at his home on the bank of the Willowemoc Creek in Roscoe, NY. Born and raised in Odense, Denmark, Jorgensen made his home in the United States for over 45 years.

Poul passionately studied fly tying from Chicago fly tyer, William Blades who became his self-proclaimed mentor during the 1960s. He left his job as a mechanical engineer in 1969 and made fly tying his passion and full-time profession. Poul was without peers in the art of modern fly tying.

As a fly tying author, Poul wrote more books and created more videos than any other fly tyer. In 1973 his first book, Dressing Flies for Fresh and Saltwater, was critically acclaimed. This book brought life-size and clear color photographs of flies, with detailed tying instructions and patterns to the tyer, setting a benchmark for all fly tying books that followed. All of his books took DIY (do it yourself) instruction to a higher level; they were explicit, detailed, and easy to follow. His benchmark book, Salmon Flies: Their Character, Style and Dressing was first published in 1978 and is now available in five (5) different languages since it’s reprint of 2000. It began the renaissance of tying classic, Victorian era Atlantic Salmon flies that continues to grow today. Each book he authored brought with it a new dimension to the art and craft of fly tying worldwide with several titles reprinted on other languages.

Recognized the world over, he was once commissioned by President Nixon to prepare a presentation selection of flies for Yugoslavian President, Marshall Tito (who admired Poul’s work). When the selection was complete, President Nixon then requested that Poul personally present them to Tito to make the gift even more special. Of course, Poul honored President Nixon’s request. Poul was the World ambassador of flytying.

His innovation never stopped as he remained on the cutting edge of tying throughout his life. He could tie any style or category of fishing fly and explain and demonstrate his techniques for successful construction to others.

Over the years he was responsible for promoting and developing substitute materials for endangered and protected bird and animal species. His professional integrity was recognized by many companies here and abroad, which ultimately landed him endorsements to many products including Partridge Hooks of Redditch, England. In addition to his endorsements, he developed his own signature series of fly tying materials.

Personally, he freely shared his knowledge with everyone who requested it. There was always time to answer a question or share a story. He continued providing fly tying instruction to students of all ages from the children attending annual meetings of The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock, an organization originated in 1940 to expose children to sound environmental and conservation practices while learning the art of fly fishing, to seasoned and skilled anglers as a regular featured tyer at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum and at Catskill Fly Tyers Guild sessions.

Having been recognized and received many honors over the years worldwide, he considered his induction into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, located at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, that which he called home, personally the most important.

Poul Jorgensen is fly fishing history, a history that will live on.

Poul is survived by children, Paul Naylor. London, England, Peter Naylor, Charleston, SC, Karen Naylor-Riobueno, Newton, MA, and sisters Gerda and Merry, Denmark.

Friends may send donations and cards to The Poul Jorgensen Memorial Education Fund C/O The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, PO Box 1295, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.

A memorial service will be held at The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, NY on April 2, 2005.

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