Only seven days ago I was in Denmark saying terrible things about saltwater flyfishing, pointing out that saltwater fishes don't eat flies, they eat fish and are therefore uncatchable on fly, inferring that the entire branch of saltwater fly is in fact an American con to sell more tackle and that Viking Lars was an impostor.
The taste of salt
And how much further could I have been from the truth. Saltwater fly is both fantastic and exciting. There we were, four of us, all of us competent flyfishers, apart from Chris perhaps, and we were fishing hard. There was an intense atmosphere about the trip. Lars' head was on the line. Could he perform the unthinkable and reveal to me that saltwater flyfishing actually works? Call me a sceptical old goat if you will, but I'm neither old nor a goat.
After three days things were looking grim, that must be said, and the air had a cold feel to it. We had fished hard, intense-like, not my usual thing at all, and although I was keen to just let things happen, Viking Lars said: "No Paul, to catch fish here in Denmark you must concentrate at all times."
"Could be a problem Lars."
Change, it transpires, is the only thing we can truly depend upon, which means that whether you are a pessimist or an optimist you will eventually be right; better to live in the "now" and take what comes if you ask me. I've been saltwater flyfishing for longer than I care to remember (about seven years and so I know it sucks) and I've been waiting patiently for that change to come along (but still enjoying the process while being patient – am I milking this or what? But hey, that's my privilege).
And last Sunday night, shortly after last week's newsletter had been completed, the skies parted and a shining light appeared (I may have heard angels) and a seatrout came along took my fly.
In the sea.
Impossible; "saltwater fish don't eat flies."
NOW the saltwater section will take off. To be perfectly honest it's been looking a little bit flimsy. Lots of information but no fish, which is a bit of a problem and was making the Panel look bad. And so this fish comes as a bit of a relief to everyone involved.
Thanks to the Panel, my Denmark companions (Chris, Carl and Viking Lars), God, the queen, Mum, me (for sticking it out), all the nice people who I have ever met (and those I haven't but hope to), everyone who has read this far, the very attractive girl who serves cocktails in Winterfeld Platz and smiles at me for a bigger tip and, of course, the fish. Now I can give it all up, take up skydiving, lead a tame life and get out of this mad rat race.
It was close of course. I could have laid down there and then, died and been reborn a seatrout, but I decided to drink a glass of red wine, record something for radio 5 and carry on with this crazy thing we call life and flyfishing. And just as well I did so, since the very next day I did it all over again and caught yet another seatrout. Unbelievable this saltwater flyfishing: two fish in two days. Life really doesn't get any faster.
Talking of radio…
Fish on Five
Funny thing this radio and Viking Lars: every time I started recording the Viking caught a fish. OK they may not have been big; three-inch cod are not big even by my saltwater standards, but they are fish and I like fish. Why Lars caught a fish every time I started recording I cannot say; he must be destined to be a radio star (which is just as well since he's not very photogenic especially at the breakfast table).
Chris Rownes FFF (who translates for me in Germany) and I have been practising our casting in some unusual places across Berlin. It's been wild at times and we've been curved casting around "art" and through fountains (this flycasting for the sake of flycasting really is the duck's nuts – a big thank you goes out to Nick Hart for putting me on to it…)
Speaking of Nick, I have been teaching him, trying to get him up to the AAPGAI standards. The communication between us, I think, makes for some very interesting reading. I have also written why I hold the AAPGAI in such high regard. Do read this; it's more of a state of mind and definitely Zen.
Picture of the Day
The Denmark and Berlin trips have filled my picture library to overflowing and I have weeks of content :-) Best of all we are starting to get photos of some nice loops. They may not be sexy but I hope to shoot some of these soon too (just as soon as I can remember how to throw them). Chris has been taking these pics and I shall be making use of them this week. BTW pic of the day changes five days per week and they are archived too.
Talking of changes this website has a different front page every weekday Monday to Friday. That's because we are trying to give you something that little bit better.
It's great to be back again. Its one crazy place this but I've been made very welcome and it's nice to see old faces and a few new ones as well. It's also wonderful to see how much anglers improve on their casting through dedicated practice and, of course, booking the Sexyloops experience.
If you have a club anywhere in Europe, I am keen to travel and I can bring along friends who both translate and instruct. Chris Rownes FFF, who from now on wishes to be called Duncan, speaks both Spanish and German and when he's not performing pirouttes is very keen to cast tight loops.
The wrinkle effect
This week I was playing around with my casting in Berlin and noticing how some lines wrinkle worse than others. Wrinkles are the little wriggles that form at the top leg of a tight fast loop and can be really bitchy at times. In the past, after discussions with Bruce Richards of 3M, I held the opinion that they are created by the forward taper of the flyline (as the mass decreases the velocity increases and so the top leg of the loop accelerates towards the loop's point creating an accordion effect).
However it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps stretch in the line was making the line recoil during the forward cast and that this was the wrinkle culprit. Drifting seems to minimise the wrinkles and, to me, this suggested that this was indeed the case. Bruce quickly came in to say that stretch plays no part in the wrinkles and he is sure that it is the forward taper and so, in a dramatic sexyloops moment, I chopped it off.
I'm still getting the wrinkle effect even without the forward taper and so I shall be playing around with some more ideas this week. At the time of writing, I notice that Graham Anderson has suggested another cause of wrinkles on the bulletin board.
I think that we may need a zebra line and a video camera.
Steve on flash
You guys really have no idea what is coming, even I'm not sure myself actually, but Steve has been jazzing up the site and turning mpegs into flash. He keeps sending me flash through my emails and I've just said, "Steve, this is amazing, everything you send is amazing, just upload it wherever and whenever you wish!"
I fully expect chaos…