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18/11/02 - Schools and Seagulls

I apologise in advance to the friend I'm going to piss off with this newsletter.

This newsletter is about seagulls, choices, readership and flyfishing schools. Let's begin with the Flyfishing School.

The Sexyloops Flyfishing School

For the last three and a half years I've been building Sexyloops with a number of objectives in mind – yes there really is a plan. One of these is the launch of various flagships. I feel that I am now forced, somewhat prematurely, to reveal the first of these and it is that of the Sexyloops Flyfishing School.

The reason that this is going to piss one of my friends off is that, once again, as always, I am going to bang the AAPGAI drum. There is only one level of flyfishing instruction in the UK and it is the Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors. I have been banging this drum for the last 5 years and I am not about to change rhythm now and because I know it to be true. It is only when you become AAPGAI do you begin to learn how to teach flycasting. It is the minimum qualification for teaching. This site has been based on that foundation.

But that is not what I'm about. I want to raise the standard and create the world's finest flycasting school. You may as well aim high if you've got the gun. And right now it feels like we've got a grenade launcher.

The Sexyloops Flyfishing School will not just be run by AAPGAI qualified instructors but they will also need to be Sexyloops certified. Flycasting instruction is changing and in the UK at least, and Sexyloops has, in part, been responsible for this change; I'm raising the standard. And believe me I'm really going to raise the standard. I'm not interested in amateur coaches; our school will become the hallmark of full-time professional flycasting instruction.

The first school is to be based in the North of England on wild trout fishing – because that is what I believe in and of course as soon as my friend becomes AAPGAI (which he will do, then that changes everything!)

Readership

Talking about belief, one of our suppliers has just made a big mistake. It appears that we are just another retailer in their eyes, despite having a UK readership currently surpassing the 70,000 mark. It is very obvious what is happening; we are starting to frighten a few people out there. Let's see how clear I can make this:

This week we have passed 900 daily uniques; we will shortly be passing the thousand-mark. Fishandfly, our only UK competition – the guys who watch us “very closely” (for ideas I might add) – average less than 600. Yes Fishandfly, you were right to be worried, we will very shortly be going after your advertisers.

Flynfish on the other hand are closely linked to Guide Flyfishing; yes you too are right to be worried, we're not playing games here either. Sexyloops has been a commercial site from the day one, three and a half years ago. Unlike Globalflyfisher, who in terms of sheer scope of content are our only adversary, we are commercial. We have always been so and the only thing that separates us from every other commercial site is the “anti-sell”: the Sexyloops policy of putting integrity first. That is something we believe in and it makes us unique. And that, for example, is exactly why we will be avoiding Redington in next year's Tackleshop line-up.

Incidentally, before I get on with the seagulls, if any UK Sexyloops regulars are buying online from Flynfish, or Sportfish or any other catalogue online store, you should be completely ashamed of yourselves. We put our hearts and souls into Sexyloops, we are the only guys out here delivering something different, entertaining, thoughtful, enlightening and (otherwise) free.

So, we're taking off the gloves. I'm looking forward to seeing what these other guys are made of – it's going to be spectacular, of that I promise. And we haven't even started yet.

Message over. Let the newsletter begin.

Seagulls

ready for another shootoutI've been fishing. I know that I was fishing last week with Deano, but that doesn't really count – I was still jet lagged (Deano take note;)). In fact as well as being jet lagged I had all the wrong flies. Incidentally, talking of Deano (remember he was the one who cut my flyline in half, tore a whole in my landing net – don't think I mentioned that – and caught my fish), he also “kindly” lent me a stove – only yesterday in fact, did I discover that it doesn't work. There may be a message in there somewhere, but I'm not looking for it.

I have in fact been fishing every day. Actually let's talk about this because some people think that this is some impossibly good fortune, to be able to fish every day. Well in some ways it is, but really it isn't. Everyone has this choice. You see in leading this travelling flyfishing existence one has to make sacrifices. Children are one. Many people want children, apparently. Personally I've borrowed them in the past, and although I was particularly lucky to be able to borrow nice children on a number of occasions and I even considered having some of my own, once or twice (I was drunk or naïve or something), common sense prevailed and I've realised that if I am to continue this nomadic existence I should do everything in my powers to avoid having any – short of avoiding sex altogether (or at all) of course.

the taste of snowAnd then there are relationships; if you want to travel and be happy, or even just happy, you should avoid these too. Of course this is too much for most people, most people right now would say “hang on Paul, children I can do without, but I need a relationship in my life and I need this in order to feel complete”. Well there you have it; you can't go fishing, and certainly not with me. I make a point of only fishing with single people. People in “relationships” have to be home at some point, and usually just when the fish start rising; they have a different set of priorities. They are always in conflict with themselves, compromising their beliefs.

Conflict

Selfish? Me? Not really, I just don't believe in compromise, I believe in doing what I feel like doing and doing what feels right. Same thing and the trout are getting bigger as I speak.

no ties :-)And then there's the mortgage, security, home life. You can't be a travel bum and have a mortgage. It just doesn't work like that. Now if you haven't got any children, relationships and mortgages, you are probably already a flyfishing bum. Incidentally there are a lot of people doing this and contrary to popular opinion, they are not sad old gits, but rather the enlightened few :-)

So yes, seagulls!

Here's a tip for you: when attacked by 10,000 seagulls, wave your rod above your head, shouting “Piss off”. This is important.

Whilst fishing the upper reaches of Wallaby River (a fictitious name, although not an apparently obvious one until you recall that I am fishing NZ and not Oz), in a scene reminiscent of Hitchcock's “The Birds”, I came under aerial attack by squadrons of seagulls. It was all very exciting in a chaotic and noisy sort of way and I took a number of near hits.

I knew it was going to be one of those days when on starting out an American dropped past to see what I was up to and just prior to setting off. I was tying a fly. “Royal Wulff?” he asked. Goddammit.

Back to the seagulls, I discovered that by hiding in the bushes and standing very still they would leave me alone. So this gives you two methods of defence when fishing the Wallaby River (not its' real name), one is to wave your rod in the air shouting “Piss off” and the other is to stand very quietly in the bushes. In order to get upriver you need to do both.

Upstream

the refitting was a bit of a botch job involving hot glue and plastic gloves, but as the mechanic said and in true Kiwi-spirit, 'we can only fuck with the dicks we've got'Upriver it was worth it. Firstly there was hail. Now I don't know about you, but hail I always find interesting. Not as interesting as snow perhaps. In fact it had been so long since I had seen snow that I decided to run up a mountain and get some – I did that on Tuesday, for a change like. On Wednesday I locked myself out of the car (and had to pick one of the windows out), just to do something different again. Secondly there were the fish.

Last week I talked about lucky Deano and his hedged bet approach to life, mentioning that I too would be trying out something similar and using a Royal Wulff as an attractor. Yeah. So anyway, it wasn't quite a Royal Wulff, for one thing it was yellow and not red, but hey I'm not a traditionalist. Or a Royalist. And it had a grizzle hackle. And it was tied sort of parachute. Incidentally I blame Ben for my crap flies.

But it was attractive, in an interesting and highly unusual sort of way, although it was a bit manky. It didn't look edible exactly, or at all in fact. Indeed had I been a fish I would have run a mile. In short it was a bit of a botch. What I was hoping for – it was a long shot – was that the fish would come up out of amazement “never in my life seen one of those before”, turn down and take the deadly nymph on the point. That the nymph on the point was not deadly may have worried some people. Not I; I think nymphs should be botched.

cleverly managing to photograph me and the fish - you can expect more of this sort of daring camera-workSo when the seven-pound brown took the bastardised Royal Wulff off the top, on the first cast, and decided to run downstream through the rapids to show how much he liked it, I was decidedly pissed off. Trout shouldn't be like this. They should require something subtle, not edgy. Two more fish followed – smaller, but just as dumb – before the weather and sense got the better of me.

5 miles. 3 fish. Two four-pounders and one seven. Typical backcountry fishing. And I was wearing polyprops. “Because wet-wading's kinky”

hail, seagulls and visionless suppliers - the gloves are offSigning off

This week, I'm heading north, slightly. There has been some heavy rain and the freezing levels dropped. Hard to know where to go exactly but there is a girl… (Save me from women).

Here is a link to the Seagull Invasion Movie!

This week I'll be adding stuff to the NZ section and we'll be making this site consistent throughout. We've had a few problems, not least the German AT page ;-) which was different. Hey, we like delivering surprises, even if we surprise ourselves sometimes.

I will definitely be adding new content this week especially since I appear to have a temporary Austrian camerawoman.

Cheers
Paul

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