Shortly we intend to relaunch the tackleshop. We'll be doing something very different this time. There's simply no point in competing with the tackle trade on a level footing, so we're going to shift the landscape slightly and make it very uneven. I think we can do this, and in fact currently we're probably the only ones who can, and so we must and in order to keep in front – we've got nothing to lose. Having something to lose puts you in a weak position – well that's what I figure; in fact that's my whole perspective on life itself really.
Today I really feel that my distance casting has come together. It's not completely clicked, but it is consistent, and that's what I've been searching for. I'm still off the pace, in my opinion, but I am now in the same ballpark, and importantly from my perspective, I understand how I got there.
Surprising admissions? Not really. Although some flycasting dudes have the comparative luxury of being able to write about how excellent they are, without ever having to prove it, I'm not in that position. I've actually got to go out there and do it, which is fine of course, because I actually want to do it as well.
Shift the landscape? What does he think this is – a volcano?
There are better flycasters than I. There are people who have a greater understanding of flycasting. There are better instructors. Which raises some interesting questions, because I'm particularly interested right now in learning to become a better flycaster, and a question one might ask is why are there better flycasters?
I'm well co-ordinated, fit, have an ability to look surprisingly cool, practice daily and have a good solid grounding in flycasting mechanics. Where's the difference? Well in my opinion it's coaching. And today whilst casting with Jon Allen, he made massive improvements in my stroke. There isn't that many people who could do this, and I'm extremely grateful to Jon for all his help.
In fact it's because of Jon in the first place that I've had to change my distance casting stroke, and so it's only fitting that he should be the one who helps me piece it back together again. I'm still not a 120 ft caster by any means, but I'm now getting closer and I'm consistent.
It suddenly dawned on me today, that I have the perfect opportunity to improve and learn through uploading a video of myself and asking for help from the Board members, which they are kindly giving. I'm very excited about this and feel that I'll make some pretty quick progress.
Denmark or Busted
Next week I'll be in Denmark. There will be wine, women and song. There'll be Viking Lars, Lasse, Carl, Asle (possibly, if he can borrow the money), there may even be Sean. Who knows? These things just “happen”. One thing that we do know is that there'll be some intense Saltwater Flyfishing action.
You know I've missed the salt; I love the buzz that only saltfly gives: the fresh air, the surf (not that you find too much of that in Denmark), the women, the Vikings running along the beach, the concentration at all times, the women, the sand and seaweed, the not catching any fish, the high speed driving thrills. Yeah, I'm really excited to be heading back there again, and it will be great to see Lars again; I'm looking forward to another lesson in that Viking Switch Cast of his.
And this time I'm prepared to do the business. All these people who try to tell me that saltwater fly is impossible and a manufacturers con, what do they know? Saltfly is both a very effective and highly efficient means of catching all manner of saltwater fishes, including both cod and seatrout. So we'll be catching heaps of them then.
In fact this is a real fishing trip. Last time I went to Denmark, I just fancied going there, you know, meeting Lars, Carl, catching up with Chris; it was a cool thing to do. This time I'm going there explicitly to catch fish and vast numbers of them, including some particularly big ones. I'm really fish-hungry at the moment, and have been ever since January. I can't shake this, nor do I want to; I love this feeling.
Of course I haven't got any flies. Well I have; I have some of Lars' flies, but they don't work (I proved that last time, and ever since actually), and so I'll be taking my flytying kit over with me. I don't have is any wading boots either, having given mine away to a friend in New Zealand… there's always something isn't there? The last time I went to Denmark I didn't even have a rod.
Anyway, apart from swoffing, I'll also be demonstrating flycasting at the Fly Festival in Kolding next weekend. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to demo exactly; I guess I'll figure that out during the week, or when I'm there. I'll probably talk about different casting strokes and flipflops. I'm thinking of starting off with the left hand incidentally – I've been working really hard on the left recently and so I could start off doing this, and then suddenly switch over to the right when no ones looking; it could be quite amusing… well I think so.
Especially since my left-handed casting is crap.
Skunked on Grafham
Yeah, now I remember what I was going to write about, but almost conveniently “forgot”: I got skunked on Grafham during an evening rise last week, and it was just the sort of evening rise I would have nailed when I was fishing daily at Ardleigh.
Basically I had the wrong flies, and not enough time to discover the right ones. I know there was an answer because we later ran into some old dude – obviously a regular; I could tell – who had caught a few… well, four, which wasn't very many when you consider the number of fish that were active, but was three more than the one I caught, and just went to show that although he didn't have the answer, that he was at least on the road.
I was fishing with a couple of friends and they didn't have the answer either, and one of them (Sean) obviously became somewhat frustrated by the end. I think he felt hard done by, having waited patiently for most of the day for the evening rise to materialise, only to catch bugger all and get in a tangle when it finally did. James wasn't too happy either, James doesn't have an idle life like Sean, and therefore can't get out to fish as often as he'd like.
But therein lies both the problem and the answer.
It's extremely difficult to crack an evening rise in only one session; in fact it's impossible. To really get to grips with an evening rise can take a week, maybe longer. If you only fish once per week, chances are that the next time you arrive the fish will be doing something completely different. Some rises at Ardleigh literally took me years to truly crack – and I fished there every day for ten seasons, possibly more – my life's one long exciting blur.
I know that most people can't go fishing every day, and struggle to go just once per week, but if you really want to get to grips with this thing, then there's no better way than moving somewhere close to the water and taking out a season ticket. I suppose it's all a question of priorities. It's funny the things that people put before fishing: relationships, children, work, money… it sure is one crazy fucked-up world we live in.
Looks like I'll be taking out a season ticket on Grafham this year and living in a campervan; it certainly seems to me to be a highly sensible thing to do, and I need the work.
Shortly we intend to relaunch the tackleshop. We'll be doing something very different this time. There's simply no point in competing with the tackle trade on a level footing and so we're going to shift the landscape slightly and make it mountainous. I think we can do this, and in fact currently we're probably the only ones who can, and so we will – we've got nothing to lose. Having something to lose puts you in a weak position – well that's what I figure; in fact that's my whole perspective on life itself.
Nothing to lose? Perspective on live? He's not going to start talking bollocks again is he?