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29/04/03 - The Whipfuck

I'm starting to get a bit of a reputation and as a flytyer. Although no one has asked me to demonstrate flytying at any of these shows yet, I feel that following my latest invention, the whipfuck, it will only be a matter of time. I've just seen Steve Thornton's book. Steve was at the Fly Festival this weekend and he's a great tyer, no doubt about that, but I also noticed that there's not one whipfuck mentioned anywhere.

Another recent discovery is that the “Light of AAPGAI” will not only melt polyprops but also various flydressing materials, if applied liberally. This has now become an important technique for me.

Also: I had a really good experience with the EFFF this time. Damn. You know life's like that sometimes. Mine especially actually. Drinking snaps with Günter and Sepp into the early hours hasn't helped much either. And they both happen to be amongst the very finest casters and instructors I've met.

Will I go there? Good question. I dunno. Incidentally remind me never to say that Lefty Kreh talks bollocks. Despite the overwhelming supporting evidence. I'm getting fed up taking it all back.

This is the first Danish Fly Festival I've attended; I was at the Dutch Fly Fair last September, and I have to say these are both fantastic shows – better than the Chatsworth or the Gamefair in my opinion – it's all flyfishing of course, which creates a tremendous atmosphere. There were some truly excellent flytyers – forty of them from around the world (none of whom appeared to be familiar with the whipfuck – making it definitely something new).

And not many women either. Which I think is a great pity. I like women. Very much in fact and it would be nice to see more of them.

Last week four of us met up for some Saltfly action. Chris couldn't make it this time, but Lasse filled his place and so Denmark or Bust II was formed. Lasse, being Danish, we all felt certain that we'd be in for some spectacular success, and that we didn't only goes to prove that these Danes know nothing.

Viking Lars was there as well of course, concentrating at all times – big mistake that one. In three days we caught two seatrout between the four of us. Lasse managed an eleven-inch monster on the first day, and I managed a seven-inch brute on the second. And Carl lost one. Mine was a particularly important catch since it heralded the discovery of what – I feel – will become an important saltfly flyfishing technique.

Lars had only just come over, to annoy me I think, trying to disrupt my trance-like state (I had only just begun frothing at the mouth and was thinking that any day I might get an imaginary take – you know, without really believing it) when I pretended to get a take. I struck and went “Ooh” – like a miniature orgasm, and Lars almost fell for it, but quickly realised that it was only my quick-wittedness and playful temprement, and that it wasn't a real take at all, since there was no sign of a fish – there were no singing angels for example – when (and this is the unbelievable bit) I managed to hook a seven-inch seatrout, fair and square, and in one of the fins.

Now anyone who has tried the Saltwater Blast will know that this is completely impossible. The odds of hooking a fish in the mouth while saltwater flyfishing are astronomically small. Hooking one in a fin, I don't think has ever been done.

When Lars realised what had happened he lost the ability to speak for fully five minutes and I actually thought he was going to faint. Shortly afterwards he ran up the beach as fast as his legs would carry him and started fishing like a maniac; I'm not sure whether he was trancing it or doing that concentration thing of his, but I'm pretty sure he was faking strikes every other cast or so.

It's a funny thing, you know, but I seem to be the only one who “sarongs” beneath his waders. I'm not sure why this should be. But neither Lasse nor Carl wore sarongs and Viking Lars thought I was positively mad. But I find it to be very practical, and I'm actually considering becoming a transvestite flyfisher.

So let's talk about this Danish saltfly. I mean I really love it myself, but I can understand how some people become a bit cynical about the whole thing. You can fish for months without ever encountering a fish. Without ever encountering a fish that isn't a cod I mean.

Oh yes, and what great sport they can be. I can hardly remember ever having so much fun. That plucky little weed-like take. Those feisty little 6-inch runs (both of them). That frantic and explosive surface plop for freedom. Who could not discover catching a three or four-ounce cod completely irresistible. I've considered packing it all in, moving to Denmark just for the cod fishing. Saltwater flyfishing is an adventure, that's what I always say.

Viking Lars doesn't take me seriously anymore incidentally. Thinks I'm an impostor. Me – an impostor! Why only last Friday my trance state became so deep I had to leave the water and lie down with my eyes shut for over an hour.

It's interesting; I haven't given a demo in the UK for quite a while. Only one show in the last year I think. However I've just been asked to attend the British Flyfair on October the 25 and 26th and I've accepted (of course), and will fit this in just before returning to NZ. I'm really looking forward to this one, and think it will be a fantastic show.

Incidentally I don't only cast using the “Flipflop” style; flycasting is a lot like sex really, and a thorough experimentation of a wide variety of techniques, rhythms and stances is to be encouraged. It's not just a mechanical skill, there is also feeling and control involved, and it's hard to beat two rods at once… Lars says. Personally I disagree with that last bit, and have enough trouble dealing with only one at a time.

I'm not sure I explained that properly yesterday.

I've actually been doing the whipfuck for years, only I never knew it. Christ, these newsletters are becoming as disjointed as my life. That must be drinking snaps for you. I think I now understand the Vikings. None of my sentences connect anymore. Only words. Randomly. What happens when you disassemble your life? Freedom from order, neatness and control – the systematic destruction of everything you believe in. Hence: whipfuck.

A small pinch of cockhackles caught in the whipfinish. And your life will never be the same again.

I'm sitting in Lars' living room, and I really like Lars, he's a really nice guy and a friend, but I have this irresistible urge to cross the room to his book shelves and mess up the alphabetical order of his books, his CD's and his record collection. I want to go into his kitchen and put all the forks with the knives and hide the spoons in the fridge. I bet all his underpants are in one drawer too – I want to go in there and mess them all up. And I think I'd be doing him a favour… Problem is he's a Viking, and whipfuck or Finnish whipping, you don't mess with these dudes.

PoD series will follow :)


Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting superglue on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills part 17a; the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite important
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
The finished fly: A Lunn's Particular

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