I've just had two weeks off and I feel great! Thanks to Lars and Sean for helping me out with the frontpage and the PoDs. Steve's computer crashed at the last minute leaving me a bit stuck. There's so much happening at the moment and so much to write about, but first I want to talk about Spain.
I had a fantastic time there, spending a week together with a great new friend of mine. I tried a little saltwater fly action, you know, for the buzz. But mainly I just wanted to take it easy. I wasn't sure what to make of Spain last time; this time it was really good, and I now have to learn Spanish. I managed to remember the useful bits I picked up last year and so that stood me in good stead (Tortuga – Hot stuff) and this time I learned how to ask for two cups of coffee.
It's not a quick language to learn.
I also speak a bit of German, not quite enough to understand anything, but since only one person in Spain spoke German it didn't really matter. Now I certainly don't wish to give you the impression that I have a talent for languages, although I like to think that I do have a little flair here, but I think it's important that we try to speak other languages when visiting our friends abroad. At this rate I expect to be fully fluent in Spanish in about six hundred years.
I'm hoping to go back again this year; it's actually become another “plan” of mine. I like the fiestas, siestas and there's some bloody good swoffing to be had (I'm told). And it's sunny as well. But I have to make Sexyloops a little more commercial before I go ahead and do something dramatic like this.
My original intention was to go over to see Carlos, which turned out to be ironic since we didn't have any time to cast together or talk about the things we wanted to discuss. I suppose on the good side this means that I'll have to return again as soon as I can. Carlos is a tremendous flycaster and last year stirred me into working on my presentation casts. He'll be over for the British Flyfair.
The Spanish seem to really like the idea of Sexyloops, none of these “I can't cast, but I catch fish” excuses for them. Let's face it; we all catch fish, but the good flycaster has fun even when he's not catching fish, more fun when he is catching fish, and should, in theory, catch more fish because his fly spends more time on the water and less in the trees. The Spanish may not have worked out that bulls are not vegetables ;) but they do understand that flyfishing is an inspiring thing to do.
For me the most thrilling thing was to see the vast improvement in last year's casting (in particular Pepe, who videoed my demo last year and kindly send me a copy, has become an excellent caster).
It was great to see Paco again too. Paco is the unique fly tyer who tied these flies last year: suspender fly, mayfly and shucks! This year he's into foam. Flies will follow! In fact I've already posted a couple on the board. Paco will also be at the Flyfair as well.
I'm motivated at the moment. Two weeks of holidaying was a brilliant idea of mine, and I'm already considering making a lifetime of it. I've been working far too hard this year. It's June and I've worked at least six full days. And I don't even like working. So that's why I had a holiday. Well one of the reasons.
There's gong to be a huge amount of content appearing in the flycasting section. On Saturday I started the online double haul lessons. I've been holding back slightly, concerned over server space, but we've passed our allotted space now (500 Mb) and our only option is to buy our very own Virtual Server. This'll change the way we operate, allowing us to do more of the things we really want to attempt – for one thing space is no longer an issue, and best of all, if we don't start to make some money soon we can always revert to the original porn site backup plan.
Yesterday I put together another shootout in my garden; flycasting athletes Pete Sutton and Jon Allen drove over, as well as Sam Davis, Jim and Michael. Sam is forming the British flycasting association with the view to setting up competitions in the UK and falling off platforms abroad. I've never really tried distance casting with long lead lines and broomsticks, so I was interested to watch and film Sam in action. He gave us all a wonderful demonstration and we all attempted the Launch.
Pete succeeded in some long casts, and managed to whip himself across his bum a few times. He looked a bit concerned about this and wasn't sure how he was going to explain the marks to his wife. Pete's always been a bit of a reckless caster if you ask me.
As well as the Distance Fly and the Anglers Fly, we want to run a 5-weight competition as the do in the US. It's not so much who has the biggest dick as working out how to use it. Jon said. Later.
Unfortunately some of the guys had to leave early and so I wasn't able to pass the 55 yard mark or whip myself, which I was looking particularly forward to, especially after Pete explained the technique to me.
Of course whenever three flycasting athletes get together there is always a bit of friendly rivalry. Personally I'm happy just to win these things, but Jon takes them so seriously and he would like to win them too. Which is a bit selfish really, since we can't both win them. And Pete's been working hard, and he would like to win them as well.
So Jon changed the rules.
Now I can understand why jon did this. Last time he didn't do very well – he had been watching my cast and just given me a few pointers (“Lean back a little, Paul” “Block harder with the left” “Try sticking your bum out”) when it all suddenly clicked and he couldn't keep up anymore. Of course I thanked Jon, and pointed out that he was a very good instructor. In fact, although I'll never tell him this, Jon has had more impact on my flycasting than anyone else, which is really funny because he first came to me for a lesson last year.
Anyway it was Jon who brought in the “2 minute rule”. It was a mean thing to do if you ask me. He knows I need more false casts than anyone else, and it's a very important part of my stroke. To make things worse he brought along a stopwatch stand so that I'd become distracted by it and wonder how much time I had left, and become frantic when I realised that it wasn't going to be enough.
I'm not really into competitions myself, preferring to see everyone do well, I don't want to be the best, preferring instead to be one of the best, so the draw between Jon and I was the perfect result. Pete was right on the pace as well and there was little in it between any of us.
There was a great feeling of companionship after the competition and we all told each other how well we had cast. Jon and I told Pete he was casting really well. Pete thanked us and said he was pleased to see us casting so well too, and it was an honour to watch us both. I told Jon that it wasn't really a draw, more of a win for both of us. Jon agreed and explained this to Pete, and that next time he was going to whip both our arses. Pete said that he'd already whipped his own arse and although he quite liked it, there was no way he was going to let Jon outcast him, and that next time he'll be launching himself as well as his line, and he'd noticed that Jon was not only creeping with the rod tip but also his big feet. There's nothing like a little friendly banter between athletes.
Jon's coming over again next weekend for a rematch. This means I'll be practising hard every day this week; presentation casts may be fun but if Jon thinks he's going to whip me he's got another thing coming :-)
This week: Sexyloops is firing on all cylinders. There's more on the double haul, Viking Lars will be delivering tips, there's advice on getting the leader to straighten, I think there's a fly (I'll have to check with Ben). Mike's on Wednesday. And there will be cool flycasting pics appearing in the flycasting section. What a week…