“What is the Spanish for ant?”
“I don't know… it could be aunty.”
“Yes that sounds Spanish.”
“Why, don't you have one?”
“I don't know; I am not myself today and haven't been for almost three weeks.”
“So who are you then?”
“Just some dude growing a beard.”
“Too many Tortugas?”
“Or not enough Sangria.”
This is the sort of conversation I would normally have had in England. It doesn't make much sense. It is full of irony and bollocks and somehow I have discovered that this is very important to my well-being. If life doesn't make any sense (and let's face it; it doesn't – apart from the irony and bollocks bit of course) then why should anything that I say do?
The fact that absolutely no one understood me in Spain came as a real problem in the end and I withdrew.
“Hey look I'm a vegetarian flyfisherman… isn't that ironic?”
“Yes, and sometimes the fish here can grow as large as 4 kilos.”
“And another thing; I don't even like vegetables.”
“Last year I heard that one was caught weighing almost four and a half kilos.”
“And guess what? Vegetable sandwiches here in Spain have chicken in them.”
“I think it was caught on a popper.”
“Do you know the Spanish for ant?”
It was true that there were women in Valencia; tortugas I called them, I'm not sure why of course – must be something to do with either irony or bollocks, but of course I didn't go out in Valencia because the friend I was visiting was in the middle of building a driveway. So instead I went black bass fishing… and caught a carp.
The lesson I suppose is that I can't be me in Spain.
“So who the hell were you then?”
“Absolutely no idea; Christ, I don't even know who I am when I'm myself.”
Last Monday following my in-the-river demonstration (I think that it was me casting – but of course that could be the other problem: thinking too much) the Spanish were so impressed that they decided to make me an honorary CNL (Comisiòn Nacional de Lanzado) master flycasting instructor. And they gave me a badge.
There are nine of these badges in existence, 7 are in Spain, one is in the US (Mel Krieger has it) the other is tucked within in my Vision Extreme Wading Jacket (which you can find in the Sexyloops Tackleshop; the jacket not the badge) and I think that you should buy one if only to keep me in tortugas.
By the way, talking of front pages (not that we were) you may have noticed the change. Basically Steve got a bit pissed off with the bollocks that was the front page and instead of going to Spain in search of Tortugas or Mugwai or someone who he is not, he did something radical and changed it. Of course I knew that he was going to do something exciting, adventurous or just plain reckless. That he did all three and just before my return just goes to show something, but what it is exactly I haven't worked out yet, but I like it.
Last Monday I realised something: I (or the person who I was - who may or may not have been me of course – wow am I pleased to be back) casts in a unique style and I don't mean that I am simply reinventing the wheel and calling it the Arden Flip-flop Cast (which I am by the way) only that I do many things a little bit different and it's about time that I wrote about this stuff because it's important. So I will. And I'll start this week.
Wednesday we went flyfishing. One of the things that really left its mark upon me is the beauty that is Spain. Even down near Valencia I was shown some of the most beautiful places on earth. Fishing with José Ricardo, one of the CNL instructors, confirmed puller (all the CNL's are pullers incidentally) and nice dude we searched out Black Bass around the lake edges.
And what a lake. I have never fished a lake such as this: turquoise waters enclosed by impossibly high cliffs and tree stumps and there we were casting poppers, it wasn't long casting, it wasn't delicate either, it was ambush and splosh work. We would sneak the boat carefully around the edges, pretending that it was important before whacking the popper down against the impossibly high cliffs and then doing nothing. Finally, having done nothing for a little while, we would give the fly a twitch or a “pop”. One of several things would follow.
1. Nothing – this occurred the most actually
2. I would get a strike – which I would most likely miss, or
3. José would get a strike which would be returned with rapido and gusto, remember José is Spanish and therefore more suited to this sort of thing
As the afternoon approached evening we moved on over to the other side of the lake and something happened that I had never seen before; a carp rise. There were many carp (or “carps” as José called them) and they were high up in the water and eating ants.
“What's the Spanish for Ant, José?”
Cleverly I had brought my trout flies with me. It's important to be prepared for this sort of thing: lucky co-incidence you may call it or good karma; this is exactly why I am a professional fishing dude.
The first carp covered took my ant immediately, ran off with it and buried it deep into a submerged tree. Carp are like that sometimes. The second carp tried to do the same thing but this time I was ready and although the fight was without doubt the hardest I have had from any freshwater fish, finally we netted the rubber mouthed fellow.
I quite like carp on the fly - although admittedly I talk from the perspective of only having ever caught one of them. José said he catches lots of them on nymphs and prefers bass fishing. This came as a bit of a shock actually since I had always thought that in order to catch carp you needed to (a) be an expert in nutrition (b) own a tent and (c) give up women. To learn that here was a creature that I could catch on flies and easily and without becoming a hermit was a bit of a revelation and just to prove the point José caught the next one and also on an ant.
Something else interesting happened to me on this lake. Life is a really strange thing (or at least mine is); it seems that when I want something I can't have it, until that is that I don't want it, and then of course I can have it, but then it's too late because I don't want it. We are talking about women, money, property, happiness, love… basically anything you can name, I can only have it when I don't want it, and the more I want it the less I can have it. This is life, it's ironic and I figured that it was the same for everyone – although perhaps it's not like that for the Spanish.
I also believe that things happen for a reason. So when events led up to, what I thought, was going to be me deciding that I should spend some more time in Spain meeting Tortugas, catching bass, maybe even buying a small house there, and when I discovered what I thought was the house in question to be laying on the shores of this perfect bass lake, I immediately decided that I should not want this. There are many perfectly good reasons for not wanting to live in Spain: lack of irony, bollocks and animal-free food instantly spring to mind.
Anyway it transpired that the house was not for sale after all, so it didn't work; I was obviously only pretending not to want it, which was true of course. However now I really do not want it and so next week the house will no doubt be put back on the market.
It's now Sunday night and although I am not rejuvenated, revitalised and energised, as you would expect after a three week holiday (I am in fact knackered) this week will see a flood of new content coming into Sexyloops. There will be the start of a whole surge of flycasting content. Different styles, grips and techniques. There will be some more presentation casts and alternative techniques for forming curves that I had not fully appreciated as well as practice methods (games) for honing your skills. This is a flycasting site remember :-)
There is new content for the flow, a review coming up and some great flytying content.
Basically I'm pleased to be back, back into the groove and I've missed it.
Here is a video of one of the “carps” taking the fly. Sound effects courtesy of some completely mad people :-)
And finally, I must give an enormous thank you to Steve for doing a brilliant job on the frontpage and POD while I have been in Spain; without Steve this would have been impossible, with Steve it was almost too easy; thanks!