I feel like I'm tying up all the loose ends and in no small manner, which means I may be gone for some time.
Of course that's how I like it and what Sexyloops was all about in the first place – you don't think I started this so I could sit in an office?
You may have realised something was up in the Pic of the Day where without my usual dose of irony I lost the plot a bit; I've just spent a couple of days in Germany. The conversation always goes something like this:
“So Paul, Julia says du bist ein Fliegen Fischer?”
“Und vas ist das?”
“Flyfishers are dudes who fish for flies”
“You fish for Flies?”
“Yep, then I put them back”
“Denn you putz them back…? Ich nicht verstehen”
“Like Brad Pitt in the movie” (nodding)
“Like Brad Pitt? He puts Flies back?”
“Ah you know it!”
“Nein – is it a new movie?”
The worst thing is that I know what they are thinking: “How ze Hell can I get away from him and as soon as possible?”
Actually it's a bit strange; I've had a couple of German girlfriends – one for five years I might add, which is more than most Germans manage – and they never really came to grips with… well, me – although they often said that they had but I could tell that they hadn't. In fact only Birgit (who I was with for five years) managed to get some sort of grip on “irony” and as soon as she understood it she left me, which made it conclusive.
But look (Birgit and Jeanine) life is ironic, I mean here you are, you don't know why or what it is you should be doing. When you're thinking about it you're not doing it – whatever that is – and you'll never know for sure who or even what it is that you are and just when you think that you do know, you find out that you don't and that you are quite possibly someone else altogether. Which either sucks or is cool depending upon what you decide it to be and if I don't know whatever it is that I should be doing I may as well go flyfishing and leave the dishes in the sink.
Slightly worrying is the fact that almost no one else on the planet appears to understand the “English sense of humour” – you know things are bad when you say something in the pub, the conversation stops dead and everyone looks at you before someone suggests quietly, “Ze Englischer humour?”
I always find it awkward being the only one laughing at my jokes – but I just can't stop myself from saying stuff that I know no one else will understand; I'm just not that serious and if it looks like I'm being serious then I'm definitely pretending. But in spite of all this I enjoyed myself immensely and may actually repeat the experience and visit Carl in Berlin before heading south for the winter. No doubt we'll do some park flycasting together while I'm over – that always gets a crowd.
Earlier in the week Viking Lars was over on his London Plunder Tour. Lars has a bag fetish incidentally and his reason for coming over was to take a number of bags back to Denmark with him. He successfully plundered three as it happens, said how he would expected more, and normally would have succeeded in acquiring perhaps five or even six and next time he'll spend more time hunting down bags and less time looking at castles and raiding bookstores.
Just before he left we went to Stonehenge for a bit of earthiness, you know Viking stuff. Lars wanted to flycast amongst the rocks but the security wouldn't allow it and I think they were quite right in this decision. Lars is quite a wild and dangerous caster and his flycasting practicing should be restricted to private places where he is unlikely to frighten women and children.
A couple of weeks ago I was given a Rio Lumalux line to with which to play around. Neither Lars nor I had tried one of these before and so it was decided that we should wear sunglasses and get to work on our Lumaloops. Both Lars and I are used to this night time flycasting lark and are experts in the field: we cast together on the streets of Denmark last April and many people seemed surprised to find us there. The problem with night time casting is that you don't really get to see what is going on loop-wise – that's because it's dark. The Lumalux solves all these difficulties and is the perfect line for night time street casting. Well done Rio.
In fact it is so good I shall be travelling with it everywhere I go. One of the cool things you can do when you are a flycasting instructor is to get drunk with other flycasting instructors before going out for a bit of spontaneous in-the-street night time flycasting. I have done some of my best casting this way – all over the world in fact. Next weekend it's the AAPGAI AGM at the Tackle and Guns Trade Show (which reminds me: this is a Sunday/Monday show and there it's very unlikely that I'll be getting a newsletter out on Sunday night not least because I'll be trying to outcast a whole bunch of AAPGAI instructors in the street):
“How will we see the line, Paul?”
“We'll see it – just bring your sunglasses”
Today, as I try to put this together so that it flows – although let's face it; it's not going to – Jon Allen came over with his “improved” flycasting machine.
“Paul, I've improved it: there are cushioned surfaces, a slicker finish and a curious multi-adjustable bungy chord for you to figure out. Prepare to be outcast by the machine.”
“Jon, just one question: how are we going to stop it?”
As well as arriving with a machine, Jon had also brought 8 rods (I only brought two – and a broomstick), a tape measure, some small colourful hula-hoops and a pornographic video. What the hula-hoops were for, he did not elaborate upon, although I had my suspicions.
The task was simple: to cast further than each other and for the loser to shout lunch. We also wanted to see if we could get Rodders casting a reasonable loop and then Jon said he had a surprise in store for later.
What Jon hadn't realised was that I've been practicing and there was no way I was going to shout lunch. We were given fair weather (for what may have been the first time in our lives) and through an incredible amount of skill on my part, I succeeded in demolishing Jon's casting technique and by using Jon's casting technique. It was a great victory and had anyone else been watching – or even slightly interested – they would have been impressed.
You know, every time Jon and I get together to do this – and this I think it's the fourth time and we'll have another shoot out before I head off to chase after the sun – I have to rethink much of what I believe. In order to outcast Jon I have to cast like Jon but with a better backcast. The Flip-flop will not take him and I discovered this a couple of months ago when he came over and cleaned up. This has had some profound implications for Dirty Harry. But for me one of the most interesting things is the Double Taper.
I just don't figure this line out: for years I have dismissed it, said how it is old fashioned; I have a sneer about me whenever someone mentions them, “Double Tapers? They suck – buy yourself a Windcutter man!” But in fact now they are starting to piss me off.
For consistency they out-perform weight-forwards: stick a lot of line in the air in the backcast and you are going to get a lot of line out on the forward cast – mostly. And with a DT you can stick a lot of line in the air. With a WF it's not so easy and can go a bit wild sometimes – and when a WF goes wild you know about it. But that's not what gets to me, what is getting to me is the distance.
We had DT's drop in consistently at 34 and 35 yards and a hell of a lot of WF's pull up shorter than this – although some going a little bit further as well. I'm coming to the conclusion that the flyline profile only really matters if you haven't got the room for a backcast. Anyway I have about 93 lines here to play with and so I'll have a better idea about just how far I'm going to take this next week.
After lunch Jon pulled out the hula-hoops. I was hoping for a bit of hoop-hoop action but Jon said, “Not just after lunch, I want to work on accuracy”
What Jon neglected to tell me was that he had just spent the last three weeks perfecting his trout casting accuracy and he even knew some of the rules involved. I should have realised that something was up when he produced the stopwatch. It appears that the angler's accuracy is a game that involves a great deal of luck and very little skill. Actually this is not entirely true; I was skilful, Jon was lucky – and consistently so.
Jon says that next time we meet, lunch will be on the hula-hoops. I shall be practicing of course. The trick is to completely focus on the centre of the hoop, save up your luck and ignore Jon laughing in the background; “No one else here understands your joke, Jon”
This week Sexyloops is up for a bit of reorganisation… that's about as far as my plan goes actually, but it's a good one and Steve's happy :-)