There's Lars, writer, flyfishing superstar, pasta maker, archaeologist, local fishing guru and impostor. There's Carl, 79 countries, four unique identities, seventeen false passports and an addiction to high-speed flyfishing expeditions. There's Chris, FFF casting instructor, multi-lingual (although English may not be one of them) and ballet dancer extraordinaire.
And then there's me, travel bum, sexyloops aficionado, tree-hugging, flycasting maniac.
Denmark or bust
And between us we have been flyfishing and drinking in Denmark for two days now and caught absolutely nothing. Indeed we haven't even looked like catching a fish (apart from Carl who may have had a take – or so he pretends).
Of course this is easily explained since we are flyfishing the salt and as everyone knows, saltwater flyfishing is about being out there in amongst that great thing we call the sea and that other great thing we call life. It's about women sunbathing on the sand and long sultry evenings lazing about tropical bars. It's about seaweed. It's about casting flies the size of seagulls and ducking every time you do so.
It's also about standing in icy cold water freezing your nuts off - according to Lars.
I've just got to say this; saltwater flyfishing really is the whiz. You get up a 4 am – which is an experience in itself, since I'm rarely in bed by then and have to make a conscious effort to be so. You fumble around putting your clothes on backwards or inside out and make your way to the kitchen in desperate need of a particularly strong cup of coffee, only to find out that it's all gone and you have to drink beer instead (this by the way, happens to be the second best part of the day, the best bit being when you stop off at the bakers and discover four gorgeous, smiling, Danish blonde girls happy to sell you bread, although not happy to accompany you to the beach, home or anywhere else for that matter - face it guys; waders just aren't sexy).
You then spend all day casting into the sea, never once seeing a fish or any sign of one. Some people pretend they enjoy this sort of thing and to be honest I do too. I mean flycasting is a pleasurable (if obscure) thing to do and some people even make a living out of it.
I have taken time out from this adventure to bring you this newsletter. And I have come to some life decisions.
On the other hand
For one thing my casting is really crap right now. And I know why; I've just spent three months casting with a hopeless Redington rod coupled with a line two aftm's underweight. My style has changed and although this saltwater excitement is great for my casting practice, two or three days in a Berlin park next week will be even better.
Unbelievable, just when you think that you happen to have your newsletter thread worked out, you know; saltwater flyfishing is crap, never catch anything, it's a spiritual thing involving the process and the pursuit of blonde women in baker's shops and Lars arrives in a breathless haste and tells you to get your arse out the car, there are fish being caught and at least one has my name on it and if I'm not quick he'll catch it.
…So I'd better head off up there before he does so. Anyway, just one thing before I do so; I have decided that I am going to perfect my left handed casting this year. I can already cast off my left hand of course (I'm a professional flycasting dude remember) but it's not sexy, and since I do appear to be getting involved in saltwater flyfishing, it should allow me endless hours of flycasting practice without interruptions of fish – although the next hour or so quite possibly won't, according to Lars (who happens to be running back up the beach BTW)
Anyway I'd like to be able to give a complete demonstration off the left hand by the end of the summer.
Right. Must go, otherwise Lars really will catch my fish. I was planning on interviewing these guys for radio 5; talking a load of bollocks and asking them why they were standing in icy cold water freezing their nuts off… guess I shall have to go and find out for myself now and interview them about something else.
Apparently both Lars and Carl managed to catch one seatrout of 12 ounces each. We can all breathe again. I am told that when Carl caught his he almost had a fit and some onlookers had to be rushed to hospital - the excitement was so intense. And when Lars caught his there was something resembling a miniature earthquake and a national holiday was declared. This is cutting edge saltwater flyfishing. Two days of unparallel excitement (even Lars was close to sleep at one point we noticed) followed by the most amazing indescribable moment of unfathomable intensity. And I missed it. Bollocks.
Lars happens to have more rods than anyone else in the world apart from Carl who has more rods than Lars. Surprisingly, perhaps, I don't actually own a flyrod myself. I have a hopeless Redington rod with me, but it is not mine – it's on loan and when I get back to the UK I shall give it back and be free of it. I travel around borrowing rods, for example at the Chatsworth demonstration last year I borrowed one of Charles Jardine's Sage rods.
I was thinking of buying myself a GLX but I have this thing about spending money and would rather not – in fact I refuse to pay for fishing tackle or women (I don't wish to brag here, but I think that I have more to offer than money, especially in the case of fishing tackle – we could argue the point with regards to the women; some of them probably would). Anyway, Loomis do not appear to be interested in the UK market – which explains why everyone owns a Sage.
For a while I was keen to do something with Scott (who, in case you are from the UK and have never heard of them, are a US flyrod manufacturer) but they missed the point - which is why no one has heard of them.
Incidentally, although I do not actually believe in the concept of money and really can't understand why people work so hard for it just so that they can spend it on things they don't need, but think they do, I do need a little so that I can spend it on things I really do need - although the Universe does provide, it doesn't provide me with those life essentials such as chillies and red wine.
So there you go: I do not endorse any flyrod manufacturer and do not own a flyrod. Of course the stuff we sell in the tackleshop is shit-hot.
Cod on fly
Tonight we are going cod fishing. Lars is not sure why since he is Danish and can't understand why anyone would want to catch a cod on the fly - "because it is impossible Lars". So we are going to try it out. I think it will be interesting and may allow me to do something spontaneous for radio.
Lars BTW has some very unusual ideas. For one thing fishing in Denmark is bloody cold. The air is cold, the water is cold; everything is cold. Your hands loose all feeling, your feet don't exist… you get the idea. And how does "well-adjusted" Lars cope with this you may well ask. Does he have some special Viking technique for keeping his hands warm? Funnily enough he does: when his hands feel "really really cold" he sticks them in the water. I should point out that the water is 3 or 4 degrees C. and Lars is completely mad.
Steve in his quest to take over the world of animation and flycasting has found a most amazing product, Flix. It can convert MPEG into animations and line drawings and we are really getting into this. Right now Steve is only playing around but life is about to get interesting :-). Flix btw is from the guys at wildform: www.wildform.com
So far Steve has converted
shootout, insect and various casting videos, such as the animation on the front page for example. I happen to have a video of Lars warming his hands, I wonder what he'll convert him into? An ice-cube?
Will involve Asp, Nick Harts comment that I just "cast… well to cast" – he's right of course;
that's why I'm here with the Vikings but he also misses the point that I do everything just for the
sake of doing it; “it's a bit like sex Nick; both can both orgasmic and spiritual and very bad
casting resembles bondage”. There will also be park-flycasting in the Heart of Berlin
(we may get arrested, especially Chris who looks a bit dodgy), at least one nightclub and I
shall be catching up with a very talented girl who can simultaneously write with both hands,
one hand mirroring the other. The mind boggles really…