I have just had and am currently going through a holiday.
It had become very necessary and important that I did this. It was important for two reasons,
the first was that I had to see if Sexyloops could continue happily along without me, which it very
obviously can; Steve has been doing a fantastic job on the front page and the bulletin board has
been very active. The second was that I needed a holiday.
I had been doing the front page and adding new content on a daily basis ever since returning
from New Zealand and even in New Zealand the workload was heavy. This may very well have been the first holiday I have had (up until now I had always seen life as being a sort of holiday but that one doesn't count).
It's also been a little bit wild, although not very wild and there has been an awful
lot of alcohol involved. Far too much actually, if this were possible (which it is of course).
There has also been rather a large amount of judging going on. I try not to judge people, partly
because the things that you don't like in others are a reflection of something you don't like
within yourself and partly because everyone has their own struggles and lessons in life and
compassion is far more powerful way of dealing with these than condemnation but mainly because
life's just simpler that way.
But I have been judged and at times that has been pretty heavy. I suppose that this is going
to get much heavier still as I become better known within Europe because I am going to try to be
me and some people are going to struggle with this, hell I know I do sometimes :-)
Still I try not to touch it, I have to live with myself all of the time and other people's
problems are just that until you take them on.
And then there are the women of course, or Tortugas as we have taken to calling them (long
explanation needed here but needless to say that Tortuga means Turtle – (say no more).
None of which is fishing of course.
Following last weekend's drunken debauchery in La Rioja, we travelled to Asturias for a
spot of impromptu sea trout fishing. There were sea trout about and a few were caught but
the real presence was the mullet. I have never seen so many mullet; they were all over the
place. Hundreds of thousands of them eating this, eating that, swimming here, swimming there
and not once even remotely looking at the fly.
Apparently they can sometimes be caught on caenis and when hooked they fight twice as hard
as any sea trout. I tried everything, even into the high twenties and nothing worked.
The fishing in Spain is rather interesting. Large stretches of the rivers are completely
free. The other stretches, although you pay for them, the cost is minimal and in order to get
the permit you must enter a lottery system. It's quite fair I suppose, but completely free I
think is better.
However they have a problem and that is that the anglers eat their catch and the rivers have
suffered tremendously as a result of this, to the extent that some of them appear to be almost
fished out. I have been lucky enough to fish the best rivers in Spain and although we have had
the odd spell of interesting fishing and have caught the odd fish and seen some monsters (although
not of Mugwai proportions – whatever they may be) we have not experienced anything that I would
call really good fishing (yet).
This weekend I gave a flycasting demonstration to the AEMS (Asociación Española
para el Estudio y Mejora de los Salmónidos) who apparently are known as the Taliban of
flyfishing in Spain. AEMS stands for free fishing, catch and release, flyfishing as the least harmful method of fishing and are against competition fishing. They are extremely active and it was a privilege to come here.
Tomorrow I teach the CNL (their flycasting committee set up by Mel Krieger last year).
These are the best flycasters in Spain and on my stay here so far I have met and fished with
most of them (they are seven). Their presentation casts are to an extremely high standard and
all the loops have some sort of sexiness.
I am looking forward to this and not least since I will learn something. Already I have some
new techniques to add to the flycasting section: the TLT style, other techniques for creating
curves, an alternative grip I use, a different way of thinking about casting, a few different
methods of forming slack line and in this age of people naming casts after themselves (even
casts that already have names); The Paul Arden Flipflop Special Switch (which has nothing to
do with my sandals in case you were wondering).
Following the chaotic confusion that is one of my worlds (the green one) I have decided to
head on down to Valencia in search of (a) black bass (b) Spanish twins… hey look I haven't had
black bass before so don't question my ethics; I'm just a vessel without wings.
Apparently this is just my sort of place I am told: crazy women, crazy fish, sun (lots of it)
and Internet access. I was going to try to be in three places at once next weekend, but I don't
care how many dimensions this Universe of ours has; I am not going to be able to make Berlin.
And it's not because of the Tortugas.
Yesterday I met the finest flytyer in Spain. He gave me three flies which will blow you away,
just as soon as I sort out the macro on my camera, and I have a funny feeling that this could be
the start of a change in my fly tying style, basically I want better flies. I have met three
brilliant flytyers here in Spain, one of which was from Italy and they have all been an
This will be my next area of development. Since I seem to fish less nowadays and actually
want to catch less fish the process seems to take on some higher value. It's not a ritual of
course… although that would be an interesting concept.
Food for thought
I have had some interesting emails and discussions in the last week on the ethics of fishing
and of catch and release. This is quite interesting since there are several thoughts here.
A large number of fly fishers find it necessary to kill and eat the odd fish in order to justify
fishing and it is an ethical point (and one I can understand, but do not follow). Nowadays,
in fact always, it is unnecessary to kill fish for food and I now believe that the point has
long since passed when we should make our fishing completely catch and release.
In England in order to continue allowing anglers to kill and eat fish we are destroying our
fishing. Many of the chalk streams are a joke, artificially stocked with farmed rainbow trout.
Eating fish doesn't make fishing any less cruel; personally I can thank fish much easier for
giving me all those things that fishing gives me than I can by eating him; I can't ask a fish to
give up its life to feed me when it is unnecessary. It's a connection, not consumption.
This week I hope to get some more time to do some of the other things I enjoy doing some of
which may even appear on this site, which would make Steve's job easier I'm sure.
After this holiday I feel in need of another and so intend to travel to Lapland so that I can
practice creating a mosquito free heaven in a world of suffering.
And finally I should like to point out what a hard life it is being a flycasting demonstrator
in Spain, especially when the tortugas start flirting with you. I'm thinking of moving here