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16/12/02 - The Anti-Sell

fishing the impossibleAs I write this I have parked the Pulsewagon overlooking a large harbour. I can feel a raw sense of excitement. I get this feeling whenever I encounter saltwater; anything could happen. For example a freak wave could creep up and flatten me, although considering I'm 100 metres up and overlooking the harbour, this is not very likely. However it is also not impossible. When near saltwater you have to be ready for anything, as Viking Lars explained to me back in Denmark earlier this year. And I am.

You know the funny thing about saltwater fly is that it tests you. And it's a big test. It's one of nerve and of impossibility. Everyone knows that saltwater fly doesn't work and was invented by the Americans as a practical joke, but some forward-thinking people saw it – Germans I think it was – and took it seriously, they realised that if saltwater fly was impossible one could reach enlightenment through its practice. They were wrong, but it has given us new and curious fishing gear, such as booties.

Also saltwater fly is very much about casting. Casting, casting, casting. And it's quite a cool place to cast, the sea. You know there are chicks and sand and stuff, yeah I like it, although for practical reasons you can give me a large field any day of the week, and by way of preference I think. For one thing you won't get flattened by any freak waves.

But because I have a saltwater section on Sexyloops, I have decided to partake in yet another week of this intense and dynamic activity. And after this week I shall do something else completely different and go freshwater fishing and probably catch something. I may even eat it.

Getting younger

On Thursday I'll be 32. I'm looking forward to this, every year I get stronger, faster, more like the person whom I feel I am inside. Well every year apart from the last one, when I tripped up and chipped my ankle. But runflyfishing is definitely the way of the future and since I'm the first runflyfisherman ever, that puts me ahead of the game. It gives me an edge that I'll be exploiting, just as soon as I've worked out what it is exactly.

I've only actually been runflyfishing once of course, and that was last week, the one before this one, and this one, the one we've just had, I didn't go runflyfishing at all. I did both parts but not together, which doesn't really count.

Back in the old days, before I had invented runflyfishing as a new and thrilling adventure sport, flyfishermen had only two options when they went backcountry fishing: they could either walk or fly in, and in those days real men would walk. But now, in this new and modern age, we have a third, and that is to run. And with purpose.

And you know it's strange, while sitting here in this Pulsewagon, overlooking the harbour, I see runners, running backwards and forwards, aimlessly. I feel like stopping them, shouting them down, saying, “Hey you! Ever thought about strapping a flyrod to your back and heading off into the hills for a spot of runflyfishing? It will mean substituting those neon shorts for some sporty camo-wear but once you've experienced the raw thrill of runflyfishing, life for you will never be the same”

Of course, combining running with flyfishing doesn't make either of them meaningful experiences. It is important to remember that you are just a man with a bendy stick, who also happens to be running. It's a bit like walking a dog, or going to the office. It's just that it all happens that little bit quicker, and there's the added thrill that you could fall in at any moment and get very wet.


Boy, I bet you're pleased you're reading these newsletters.

I've taken Sexyloops through a lot of changes in the last six months; for one thing there are a whole bunch of weekly writers. There's Mike, Sean and Ben. Then there's Carlos busy translating the casting sections into Spanish, and working on a few other things besides. And Lars and Carl knock out the odd review whenever possible. Just recently I've been able to sit back a little, I think it was quite important that I did this, for one thing I had to invent runflyfishing, and in this time Steve's been responsible for making sure that the Frontpage, new content and PoDs go up on time. Of course the PoDs have a unique numbering system; sometimes he does that.

The harbour is now all lit up; it's quite pretty in an abstract sort of way.

And how different we all are. I mean there's Ben's last piece with a couple of interesting new words, telling us that we should just tie flies and go fishing and not bother about what it all means, no doubt because we'll never know anyway, and we should just accept it, whatever it is. There's Sean, turning 39 and a bit worried about how it's going to affect his fishing – hell not as much as turning 40 Sean. And there's Mike, giving us the run down on conservation, and revealing some fascinating stuff that I didn't know about fish, fishing or Germans. And sometimes he surprises me further still, with some poetry.

And we've all been brought together with this thing, the Internet and one common thread, an addiction to flyfishing – although I'm the only runflyfisherman, so far. Sean says he's thinking about it.

The Anti-Sell

Ben's piece this week interested me, partly because it linked to Sean's, partly because it was unexpected but mainly because there were one or two things in there that struck a chord, no doubt as intended. And then there's Sean, who really wants to be fishing with me right now, but has to untie himself first, and no he's not into bondage, well I don't think so. And finally some of Mike's recent postings on The Board have been quite pointed.

What follows, is not really about fishing; it is about how I live, and why Sexyloops is the way it is, and it sort of links in to all of the above. It is not about how you should live, or even how you should see life, but it goes a long way towards explaining why I've been doing this for the last four years – it's quite a personal site, for a long time it was The Paul Arden Fly Fishing Experience which is about as personal as you can get. And who knows, it may strike a chord with you. Here goes:

I now think of this world as Heaven; it's so incredibly beautiful, so amazing, so full of wonder, that it just can't be anything else. But it's also Hell, and I'm not just talking about some parts of Essex, like Southend, but I mean that everything is what you believe it to be – it's wherever your mind is.

goddamit, it must be hellLast year in New Zealand, while hitchhiking, I met a preacher. It happens. This man had met God in his 20's, and God was quite angry with him, and particularly by the fact that he was stoned (the preacher, I mean). I too have met God while stoned, and quite a few people I know have had similar experiences, and it's a good reason not to smoke grass if you ask me, especially if you're not religious, but that's not important, what is important was the take on life the preacher had; he told me that the world was decaying; there was death and hate and garbage everywhere, he was quite negative about the place and pointed out the roadside by way of support, informing me how everything was dead and decaying and there was a lot of garbage about, and everywhere he looked he saw death.

Now this came as quite a shock, for I had been standing on the road side for about an hour, waiting for him to pick me up, and all I could think about was how beautiful the road verges were; there were lots of flowers; yellows, reds and violets and in amongst many varied grasses, indeed I had found their beauty to be most striking and I didn't mind waiting at all, and I pointed it out to him, I said, “Hey I think you may be looking at a different roadside, for all I see is flowers!”

Heaven and Hell. And it's the same with thinking. Thoughts come into my head, who knows where they come from, but come they do, and they are always changing, some are happy thoughts and some are sad, and it will always be like this, but everyone has the choice with which ones to go along with. If I'm feeling down, it's because I've been following my negative thoughts, and that's MY CHOICE. Of course, I don't want to go down, not normally, and so I simply stop thinking negative thoughts, whenever one comes along I let it go and wait for the next one.

And it's pretty easy to go up without thinking, all you have to do is walk in a park, surround yourself with some countryside, perhaps wet a line, and you can get up there, right on top of cloud nine. I suppose that is the power of the mind: stop thinking and surround yourself with beautiful things and you feel great. Start thinking, go with the good thoughts and can you feel great too. One way or the other, we all share this freedom, freedom to think and feel whatever we choose. And that's why it's important to detach, not to have any expectations, just to allow things to fall into place and to live in a now. Well that's what I reckon. And if it involves saltwater flyfishing, which is another form of hell I might add, then so be it.

make sure you don't look otherwise you will discover where you really are - can you handle it?Of course, that's life when left to your own devices, living in a desert garden of your own making, but life's not like that, or at least not normal life, there are others around, all with their own set of problems and thoughts and not everyone's up there on cloud nine, in fact the higher you go, the less company you have and that's a problem, because then you have a dilemma.

On the one hand, it is often said that one should avoid loud and aggressive persons, like in the pub I dropped into yesterday, I should have avoided that place, but then you start to become isolated, and worse, aloof, distant, arrogant, in your own world, maybe you become a dry-fly purist, and hey let's face it, being in your own world, where only you exist, with just one sort of fly, is a pretty damned lonely place, and not at all unlike Invercargill I should think. Putting everyone else up there with you on cloud nine is nigh on impossible too, so I suppose that we just have to accept it, and allow people to feel however they choose.

But it's not as easy as this, because not everyone sees it so, and people place their expectations upon you, some want to change you, stop you fishing downstream, they can't accept that you have your own mind, and yet others play games. There are four players, as I'm sure you're aware: the aggressor, who uses fear to put you down, the aloof, who steals your energy by ignoring you, the self-depreciating “poor me” who expects you to pull them up, and finally there's the know-it-all, who suffocates you though boredom – they have the most flylines by the way.

I suppose that the hardest thing I've had to learn is that I, and only I, can be responsible for my own feelings. It's taken me until now to finally grasp this fact but I think I may actually have gotten there. Indeed only we can be responsible for our own feelings, and no one else's, but there's a catch; you first have to be open with your feelings or else that's not fair on others. So if for example, you were fishing my side of the boat, and I pretended it was okay, which it's not, I wouldn't be being truthful to myself – or you – if I didn't point out just how I felt about it, and I simply pushed you in.

flowers and trees and water. Hell.And (back to the site) that's sort of why I believe in truth and honesty, and the Anti-Sell, well that and I think I'm going to live forever, which could be a problem, especially if I do. In fact I put integrity right up there at the top of the list. This site has, what could be, a hurdle. If Sexyloops was really about money then it would be a problem. Big business rips people off and I have a completely natural distrust of salesmen of any type, because they always seem to put money first.

This site for years promoted the Anti-Sell. When Steve first came across Sexyloops he actually thought it was a spoof site, and it's one of the reasons he started working for me – he's still not sure it's not by the way. The original tackleshop, as does the current version – the one that is currently shut – actually tells you not to buy some stuff and we pointed out various manufacturers that, I think, are trying to swindle you.

For a long time it was important that we didn't make money, you know not in any real sense, but now I'm beginning to think that it's important that we do, because if we don't and if we can't get there through being honest, it means that the businessmen of this world are right, and I can't handle that, because I think they've missed the point; the roadside is always full of flowers.

I don't suppose any of that helps, but at least maybe you can understand me a little better. The next newsletter will be about fishing. Possibly. Although considering that I'll be saltwater flyfishing and that this is a measure of impossibility, I shall probably be writing about seaweed. Or Zen.

when you look at roadside verges be sure to park carefullyThe seaweed is green,
And floats like a dying butterfly,
With no sound.
Eeeyy Eeeyy Eeeyyeee.



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