I've really missed this feeling. The strange thing is that I don't know I'm missing it until I find it again. It's like, “Yeah I'm sure it felt good, but maybe I'm feeling it right now” and then I start to feel it and realise that whatever my previous state of mind, it wasn't the one I have now. Of course if I didn't lose it then there would be no finding it again either and the finding it is what counts and gives it meaning. I don't think I want to be on the level, no matter how high that level is. Without the lows there can be no highs and I like the highs.
You know it's not really about fishing, well it is, but it's not about the sort of fishing where fishing is just about catching fish. I've caught a lot of fish in my life; I've been flyfishing for over twenty years and fishing my whole life, I've had over thirty seasons with the flyrod in this time and fish anything between 250 and 350 days. There's not a lot which is going to surprise me, and certainly not in the lakes at any rate. Although I do still love catching fish, and I love doing it well, in fact I love doing it well more than I love catching fish. And I am still surprised, for example I've never fished a yellow zonker for trout before, and I caught one on its very first cast, and continued to catch to a surprising extent. So I'm forever learning, and although learning to be better is something quite commendable in its own right, that's still not why I do it.
No, I do it for the experience. Through being a flyfishing bum I lead an interesting and varied life. I get to see the world, and some amazingly beautiful places, and I even have a reason for being here – of sorts. I get into all sorts of unusual situations, from holed boats to buried 4x4's (got stuck twice this week) and I'm continually broke and have been ever since I left school.
I've learned all sorts of skills, from the ability to light fires under adverse conditions, to being able to find work and shelter in and around the world. And I get to spend a lot of “me time”. I think that's one of the more important aspects; I spend a lot of time on my own, living life exactly how and when I want, all at my own pace. In New Zealand I spend days, sometimes weeks alone. There's just some fish, a relationship to my surroundings and me. Sometimes it's pretty wild, but mostly it's grounding. And that's what I've been missing up until recently.
“What about them?”
The Internet is pretty interesting too. The Internet hasn't made all this possible; I was doing all this twelve years ago and I've only been buggering about on the Net for the past four. But the Internet is interesting because it's my experiment – the Sexyloops part that is. Which in itself is fascinating; I remember Steve Foster saying to me once that this “thing”, the Internet, is amazing because it doesn't exist, it's just binary code. Sexyloops is just ones and zeros. Steve doesn't work for Sexyloops any more, not at the moment (and not because of this either!) – he's doing his own thing – which has made my life more complicated since I'm doing the bulk of the work now. Fortunately Sean and Lars have step in from time to time to help out, particularly when I've needed a break.
“It's the new name for the Pulsewagon!”
We also have a number of new writers beginning to appear on site: Carlos is writing for us every Thursday and I have a brand new mystery writer appearing this week – also a Steve. Although we appear to have lost the “seven day plan” – especially since Sean wrote Fishamil on Monday, and that's great because a good plan needs to be flexible enough to dissolve when it's not needed anymore. Like stitches.
“What, Red Herring?”
Of great surprise to me, have been a couple of comments regarding the sponsorship program. Look, I'm a very good caster, I spend a lot of my time practicing it and I've been lucky and met very many excellent casters. Sexyloops is one of the two largest flyfishing sites on the planet, and the busiest and most-read in Europe. It is undoubtedly the leading flycasting resource period. I think that I, or it, should be sponsored.
“Yep, what do you think?”
I'm now in the position where I can ask the manufacturers whom I choose to sponsor me. I have the backing of the world's best rod manufacturer and the world's best flyline manufacturer. It is pointless being sponsored by conflicting manufacturers and I'm choosing the tackle I want for myself, using only one manufacturer in each product area. Under these or any circumstances it should be obvious that I only want the best – it's something I actually believe in – and I will only endorse what I believe in.
“But it's not even red!”
A few years ago this site used to operate a small tackleshop, within it we had the “anti-sell”, where I told the customer not to buy certain goods, such as fly sinkant – “just spit on your flies” – and that worked, so maybe I should give a list of Manufacturers I will not be asking to sponsor me… (only kidding, almost :)
A number of people have suggesting charging for Sexyloops content and that this would be a better way to make money, so that I can buy fast cars and women. This will not work; the Internet is based on free information. That is how this thing works and why you came here in the first place. If you want to give me money, so that I can buy fast cars and women, then please do so; I promise to have a good time with it.
So this is the situation: I am selecting the sponsors I want, because I wouldn't wish to put either my name or Sexyloops behind second best and besides, I fish with this stuff and so it's got to be good. That's what this Sexyloops sponsorship deal is all about and why it's so exciting. And yes we will be running competitions.