We who are about to die Salute you!
So you think we are an illusion do you?
This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know you can hear us Earthman
It's ........ SHOWTIME!
Look to the Skies! Look to the Skies!
Well Virgil, I don't think we're going to be having much of a problem do you Virgil?!
We ALWAYS carry a spare
At least we don't #### each other over for a percentage!
Do you feel lucky punk? Well do you?
We suck.
Target dead ahead, Blue Leader
Er hat es gekauft! (bit obscure this one)
Does this one look well fed or what?
Do you know what they call a double cheeseburger in France?
You can run but you can't hide
Mmmmmmmmmmm. A Crocodile man.
Crocodile? Ha! We laugh in the face of Crocodile
What have you got?

The world's best flyfishing site.

Newsletter 22/07/02


"They have bitten my bum"

Call it divine inspiration if you will, but holding on grimly... while grimly holding onto the trailer of Johanís quad bike and getting thrown around with all the reindeer skins, staring up at the light blue midnight sky I somehow knew that Lapland was going to be different from my usual fishing excursion. For one thing "itís dark and Iím wearing sunglasses" just has no meaning up here in the summer months.

Lapland, in case you donít know (and I wasnít too sure myself) is the region covering the top of Norway, Sweden and Finland and I am well within the Artic Circle. I have come to the Norwegian part. Itís a long trip to get here, not least because I was already deprived of sleep.

Sunday night was "newsletter night" and therefore a sleepless one. Monday saw Sean and I fishing Rutland (although I did spend some of the time drifting off soundlessly, while Sean drifted on stoically Ė it was that sort of day). Monday night was a night of two hour sleep and I didnít get any on the plane either because I had some unfinished stuff to write. as happy as a ... In Oslo airport I met Henning Lund from the bulletin board who told me that where I was heading they donít get a summer; they experience "any-season" and that he would have like to have joined me but common sense had prevailed on this occasion).

Basically by the time I was told that I should grip tightly to the quad bike trailer "or elseÖ" I was completely shagged.

I have come here, partly at Vegardís insistence that I should do so before I die and preferably before he leaves for Oslo and partly because I have never caught an Artic char before, but mainly because just being somewhere where the sun never sets and simply travels around you in a circle (well an oval to be precise), is really cool.

I should point out that I donít wear a watch. In fact I gave my watch to Carl while in Berlin last time (Iím in the process of giving all my stuff away). Wearing a watch stops you being here in the now and shackles you to a linear existence. Vegard doesnít wear a watch either; says that if he were a watch-wearing dude he would have a nine-to-five job and a pension.

This could get interesting.

Bumping along on the trailer Vegard shouted back to me: "You see that mountain over there?"

"Yes Vegard"

"It has two names, one of which is Raufwaufwauf (I may have missed the exact name) and the other, local Sami tradition has it, that if you mention it the weather becomes very bad"

Johan and mosquito repellant "Donít then"

"I canít; I donít know it"

Oh this is going to be a good trip.

We were heading to a secret spot of Vegardís where he thought that we could get some excellent river char fishing. A friend, Johan, had kindly agreed to drive us in. Vegard said: "Iíll sit on the back behind Johan, you sit on the trailer. Itís far more comfortable back there and Iíll check around every once in while to see if you have fallen off."

Arriving at the secret spot we assembled the luvva. Home Sweet Home A luvva is a sort of wigwam/tepee and quite probably also a mistype. It has an ineffective hole at the top to let out the smoke. If it rains you cover half the hole in the direction of the rain, making life even smokier and in times of mozzie invasion you simply burn greener wood and wonder if this is what hell is like (although you only have to wait for the fire to burn out to discover that it was indeed not what hell was like).

Maybe it is time to introduce mozzies. Vegard flatly denies their existence; says that since life is in your head you choose to create mosquito existence and he chooses not to. Which is fine for These are not mosquitoes, these are your friends him, but in my case Iím not alive because I think that Iím alive; Iím alive because I feel that Iím alive That feeling happens to be somewhere around my solar plexus, nowhere near my head and, call it a sixth sense if you will, but I feel that there are a few mozzies in Lapland. In fact not to put to fine a point on it, there are a fuck of a lot of them.

I actually went through something of a crisis with the mozzie thing. I have somehow come around to thinking how wonderful a gift life is, and how I should respect all life, even mosquitoes. I went to Lapland ready to embrace the mozzie culture and welcome them to my heart, if not my bloodline exactly.

For God's Sake turn the lights out! Oh dearÖ

I have just returned from the pub and so what follows may become rather confusing, not least because I think that an intoxicated Greenland woman just tried to pick me up and even having drunk the most expensive (and worst) bottle of wine in the world, I was still immune to her, no doubt, well-hidden charms. Drinking in Norway is the most expensive thing you will ever do. It is also not without risk.

So, yes this a karma thing: could be a problem. I mean I get loads of bad karma in this lifetime, some of which almost certainly was from my last oneÖ actually this is not true and causes me to wonder. I can see where things come from; everything I put out there comes straight back at me delivered by someone else (often wearing a uniform, or if not a uniform then a skirt). Unfortunately I donít actually have any bad karma (or good for that matter) that I can say, "a-ha, now I canít see how that reflects back, therefore I must have had another life!"

Even the Greenland woman I can see came from somewhere. Apparently I have "Sami hair" incidentally, which I may as well take as a compliment.

I wonder how they cope in Thailand for example. There are loads of dudes over there completely respecting all life, even insects. What do they do? At first it wasnít a problem for me; I just sort of encouraged them to fly away. Considered them to be friends in this world of flyfishing and insane pubs. They flew around; I smiled back. The turning point was the tent.

In our little campground on the hill, as well as having a luvva, we also had a tent. Inside the Luvva and outside The tent was a mozzie-free zone. Or at least it was until Vegard opened the zip to give me a cup of water (I should explain; both Vegard and I got impossibly drunk on our first night in the Lapland bush and finished a bottle of whisky between us; Vegard in his enthusiasm to get me up in the morning, decided it would be a good plan to give me a cup of water. Of course this plan, albeit no doubt conceived with great cunning and foresight, had one hidden flaw; namely that I hadnít slept for what felt like weeks and nothing from this world would stir meÖ not even a cup of water) and in doing so he let in two mozzies.

Actually it doesnít matter how hung over you are, nor how tired, you cannot sleep in the presence of mozzies, raising the question do they come from another world? I was in no mood to catch them and put them back outside again either. I did in fact flatten them. And worse still, I killed many more in the subsequent days. No doubt a bus will now flatten me later in the week. And Iíll deserve it.

I had an interesting conversation with Vegard regarding Catch and Release. Vegard says that he only kills fish that are wounded and that he thinks will die. These fish he eats. I listened to this, thought about it and almost accepted the argument for myself, until I watched him kill a fish. Up until that point I was considering what it was I believed in. After that I understood that I am a vegetarian flyfisherman (donít even like vegetables) because I feel like this. That and itís better for the fish of course.

I cannot decide whether a fish will die or not. I know that if I kill it, it will certainly die, but that is not the point. I am told that fish that bleed will almost certainly die, and yet I have caught fish having suffered huge injuries from other animals. The simple answer is that I do not know. I do know this though; you cannot base the ethics of fishing upon the principle that you will accidentally kill a few fish and therefore eat them and that this justifies fishing in the first place.

I think if I did catch a fish that was mortally wounded I would kill it. Fortunately I havenít been given this difficult decision for a very long time indeed.

Why are we not having these discussions on the bulletin board? For me, it is not about food gathering - we are way past that. It is about whatever makes you happy, about what is right and trying to put the two together. Sometimes you canít. AnywayÖ

underarmed and headnetted The river we went to was a very nice place indeed. Sure there were many mozzies (although Vegard flatly denies this) but armed with a headnet and stacks of Carlís crocodile repellent (the under-arm roll on version proved best) I managed to set foot into this world of flyfishing and curious insects.

This was char fishing in Lapland. According to Vegard char come from another dimension. When the weather conditions are right (warm and humid Ė ideal for mozzies Ė "if there were any there" he quickly adds) a portal opens up and they filter through. As it happens, he may actually be right (for once) since we caught and saw bugger all until the weather conditions were right. Interesting this "other dimension" theory and it may go a long way to explain how difficult it is to catch the Mugwai.

...and made the mistake of filtering through the portal "You know Paul, the thing about char is that they come from another dimension"

"I see"

"And when the weather is right a portal opens up"

"Right"

"Do you understand why we are not catching any now"

"Oh I understand everything Vegard"

Just like this... The weather that first day was pretty bad (the portal was obviously closed) however since we were both asleep it didnít seem to matter. It was about then that we lost track of time. In actual fact we even lost track of which day it was. Great speculation was made governing this point. In the end we decided that it didnít really matter. When we felt like fishing we would fish. When we felt like sleeping we would sleep. When we felt like eating we would eat. Life would be just like this. We would allow things to happen and live our Zen existence out here in the Lapland tundra.

For two days very little happened; we ate, we fished, we slept. Vegard and I swapped jokes, coffee, breakfast cereal, mozzie bites, flies, stories about women; you know the usual campfire flyfishing stuff (without the darkness). He also told me about the Sami people; about how they sang (Yoiked) for different souls (everything has a soul; mountains, trees, mosquitoes) and how they measured distances by how many times they would stop to make coffee in order to get there.

It was on the third day (Friday) that the portal opened up and the char appeared. I caught one of about a pound and a half and lost one a little bigger. Vegard caught one a lot smaller and later one of over three pounds while I was involved in the hundred-mile march downstream Ė something you should only do incidentally if you wish to have a million little enthusiastic followers.

Johan picked us up again on the Saturday. Vegard said it was great to be back and how he longed for a chair. I pointed out that (perhaps) a beer and a woman would be preferable to your normal everyday household chair experience. He said, "No, Paul, right now I would like a chair."

As it turned out he was in fact half right.

For the next three days we will be trout fishing and on Wednesday Iíll fly back again to the land of (partial) darkness where I will not be on the lookout for a "really good sit".

Next weekend Iíll be at the Gamefair supporting Carl and crocodile in Fishermanís Row if you fancy a chat.

Paul :-)

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