“I'm having a break from the women-thing, Paul”
“It's been over a year now”
“Really? And how do you feel?”
“I feel great!”
“Me too – I also had a self-imposed break from the women-folk, also for over a year, and I feel great too!”
“Self-imposed? Why on earth would you do that?”
When Jan emailed me saying that he was heading into the backcountry K-river system, and would I like to join him, I said yes, I'll meet you on the U-River, which is one of its' tributaries. However the weather changed and we ended up meeting somewhere else, which is a shame, because I'd planned meeting on one of the remotest rivers in NZ with fresh vegetables and chillies, cook an incredible feast, days from civilisation – in fact if you discount the K township itself as being even remotely civilised, which it isn't, then considerably further – and then disappear back into the bush. That, I think, would be cool and worth the 800 Km round trip it involved.
It didn't happen like that.
The gas stove.
Instead we met down south in Lumsden, which is also pretty far from civilisation. I always make a point of trying to meet members of the Board whenever it looks likely. Denmark or Bust came about when Carl contacted me through the Board, and Viking Lars is also a board member. Both now I've met several times, and we've become friends, in spite of Carl's driving and Lars' taste in music.
So I thought it would be cool to meet up with Jan, in fact I needed to meet up with Jan for a movie I had planned, which would involve throwing him into the river.
Some vegetarian cat food.
“I think I have the solution to our problems.”
“I think that if we to stop thinking of each woman…”
“Yes, of course, stop thinking of each relationship as being 'the one', and instead accepted the fact that we are supposed to have many women…”
“Yes, of course, to have many relationships, then we wouldn't have any problems. There would never be any jealousy or ties or envy or anger or expectations – we would be free of all our negative emotions.”
“So it is in fact a spiritual thing you're suggesting?”
“Exactly. And if a woman was unfaithful to you…”
“Yes, yes, if they were unfaithful you could just say to yourself, it's okay, I have five other women over here.”
“All with bigger tits.”
“Or dicks, of course.”
“Actually Jan, that sounds like hell”
“Is hell a bad place?”
“Not bad exactly, it's a bit like Invercargill, only hotter”
The best thing about camping out in the wilds, is that you get to know people in a different way. Sitting around the campfire, drinking beer and sambuca (beer first of course), looking at the stars and discussing the bizarreness of the Universe, and our relationships, you somehow knew that this is what men have been doing for tens of thousands of years. But I only really got to know Jan properly on the last day, when we pushed each other into the river as part of the North Country Wet Fly series, which is a curious way of getting to know someone, but to be recommended.
I've just dropped into a campground for the first time in about a week. I'm not fond of this sort of travelling; I like to be outside, camping by the river banks, where it's free and you're free to do as you like. But I need the power point, and possibly the shower, for this week I'll be disappearing into the bush. I'll be gone from Mon-Fri, five days of fishing and camping, with no emails, no front page, no daily routine, and none of the comparative comforts of the Pulsewagon.
The last time I took four or five days off was in Lapland, and just like then, this is a fishing trip, and to what is (or certainly was the last time) in my opinion the best trout fishing in New Zealand. I can't name the river, it is quite famous enough already, I haven't been in there for over eight years, and it should be a blast. I've met up again with Ten-pound Tom, and he's busy tying humpies like no tomorrow.
Of course all this means that I have to prepare enough pods and content for the next five days, and of course, that Steve is in charge.
All the insect repellent I own.
“Of course complete freedom is neither wanting nor needing a relationship in the first place, and then and only then, ironically, are you ready for one.”
“Yes, it seems to me that you spend all the time working on yourself to get there, and once you've got there and have become the perfect man, you discover that they're not there themselves, and so you're all alone.”
“Ha! Is this world bizarre or what?”
“Yeah, put another log on the fire, perfect man, and stop drinking all the sambuca.”
I've just been invited to attend and demo at the Flyfair in Kolding, Denmark this April on the 26 and 27th, apparently we're having a bit of a Sexyloops get-together, with quite a few of the board members trying to show me that saltwater fly is possible after all, and not merely an exploration of the mind. Bollocks – that's what I say, and I'll be proving it to Viking Lars, Carl, JanMan, Mike and whoever else makes it.
Superman long johns – two pairs.
I'm looking forward to Denmark and, once again, taking the EFFF Masters. This time I've been told to bring “appropriate tackle”, apparently I should really have taken the 6-weight and not the five, and they have no idea why I chose to be such an arse. My 5-weight goes 31 metres exactly under normal atmospheric conditions. BTW this reminds me of something I was going to post on the board: you cannot measure your casts by how much line you've cast (or by the length of your dick for that matter), the only way to measure a cast is with an inch tape. The flyline never lands perfectly straight, and a thirty-metre cast is a long cast with 6 weight, believe me I know. The longest measured cast I threw last summer with a full flyline was 38 yards – that was with a WF7. Most of my distance casts land in around 34-36 yards, for both WF and DT, without wind and using a 9ft leader.
I am sure it is possible to get a 5-weight to go over 40 yards, Tom Rowland I think has done this, and I've emailed him to find out.
Launch the Woolly Bugger!
“I'm very disappointed in you, Paul.”
“That's the problem with expectations.”
“I was expecting chilli-beans.”
I made a mistake when I met up with Jan – instead of dazzling him with days and days of chilli-beans, the staple diet of Mugwai Hunters, I cooked fresh veggie pastas and curries. The curry in particular was highly memorable, and quite inspired I think. It's not often that one mixes yellow curry paste with baked beans. This I think is an oversight. For the unusual flavour is something quite special to behold, and if I were ever invited to run a fishing lodge for a week or so (God forbid – “Oh no; no guides this week – do it yourself, and certainly no helicopters – I blew them all up, you'll have to use your legs”) this would be a leading dish on the menu.
The last time we fished this river we had to sleep up a tree.
Jan said he thought it most unusual, and reasoned that it was quite a sensible culinary option, and if he were to fall in he would float down the river, so full of air were his waders.
But we were hard bastards back then.
“With cooking like this Jan, you don't need a woman”
“And you're not likely to find one either”
I may have to return early this year, I have just been invited to demo at a show in Germany at the end of March, and it seems very likely that I'll attend, sending the whole fabric of Sexyloops lack of planning into jeopardy. Steve is already alarmed and stated that we can't allow things like this to happen, we're in it for the moment, you won't catch us working out what we think we may or may not do, and I should tell them that if I'm there, I'm there, and if I'm not – well too bad; that's life.
On the last day Jan caught a lovely 5lb rainbow out of the W-River. Shortly afterwards I threw him in.
The largest Rainbow we took out the C-River, eight years ago, was slightly over eight pounds. But we saw bigger. In fact in one particular section we saw several fish in excess of ten-pounds.
This week, there will be more from Mike in the Baltic. There will be something for the Advice section. I have no idea what is happening on Thursday, and I don't care because I'll be in the bush. Friday's page will be late, and will involve a movie shot later on this week. On Saturday I'll have something up in time for the Flow. Basically you can expect chaos, mystery, confusion and Steve! If you have any problems, Steve will sort them out for you. If you don't understand the front page, then email Steve and ask him what he's doing. If the PoD series has a scrambled number sequence – Yes! Steve's the one to contact. firstname.lastname@example.org