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I've never really been one for New Year's resolutions, it's not that I'm against them in principle you understand, it's just that they don't work, at least not for me. Birthday resolutions I'm all for. But that's different since a Birthday resolution is a kind of personal present to yourself whereas a New Year's resolution happens to be something you feel you should or shouldn't be doing at five to midnight and so it's some kind of spontaneous drunken guilt trip. And that's why it doesn't work - even assuming you remember it. Not that I'm trying to put a curse on any New Year's resolutions you may have been reckless enough to make: remember if they don't work then save them for your Birthday.

So anyway having a Birthday on the 19 December I'm actually two weeks into my resolution. I'm not sure how it happened, well I am actually, and I'm a little miffed at it, but while in the US I started smoking again. I know, I know, but the US isn't set up for long distance cross-country running. If you don't get lost, you get attacked by bears, but mostly there just isn't anywhere to run - so that's why I did it. And if you didn't know it before: I'm a runner. My Birthday Present to myself, therefore, was to stop smoking and start running again. New Zealand is a fantastic country for running, there are tracks and hills and mountains and stuff and so I'm back onto it. I'm just not sure whether to get back into fully fledged triathlon racing or whether to try something different. Either way, it's pretty good and will see me up the rivers first.

So if it's not a time for resolutions - and it's not - then it's a time for reflection. Up until March of last year I was pretty open with our plans, which is how I like it. It's a cooperative way of working: I know my friends' ambitions and try to help them get there if I can. Which is why openness is such a good thing. However in a commercial market place you just can't do this because companies such as Airflo will try to screw you. So I'm not going to tell you what we'll be doing this year - only that this is the year.

So where are we now? Well I just don't know anymore. We've had such a chaotic year it's difficult to tell. Sexyloops is the largest flyfishing site on the Net and has been for over a year. It's also the fastest growing, although we had a little slow down over the last month or two. And we're the busiest flyfishing site in Europe. And the Board... well the Board is. So it's all very interesting, not that we're actually making any money of course. That's never really been the point; although I suppose it's going to become one.

And I have expanded upon the bath plan. I know that this will surprise all of you, hell it surprises me, and you'd probably thought I'd forgotten it, but it is a brilliant plan - so it's even more surprising. I guess it's a bit like the Pyramids. You don't have a plan, ever, and then you suddenly have one of amazing proportions, in a bath. Of course no other later plan can match it, so it is in fact the plan. I'll be starting it soon, in fact I've already started it. Backwards, of course, and it involves Tinsel.

2005, what a great year this is.

I've been here in New Zealand for the last couple of months and it's been slightly complicated - I tend to do that from time to time - and the weather's been crap. At the beginning of last month I took a trip with Deano into backcountry Fiordland. It rained pretty much constantly but we had a blast. I love this part of the world but I don't talk about it much. There's already too many people there and it's a constant battle between writing about something interesting and destroying it in the process. We had good fishing. Not great fishing; New Zealand really is a fair weather fishery and when it rains - which it does all the time in Fiordland by the way, so don't go there, ever, some parts get six to eight metres of rain/year - and when it rains you may as well shack up and tie flies. Which sucks when you think about it; even the lake fishes best during bright skies which doesn't keep the pressure off.

One of the more interesting things we did was lose the boat.

We'd had anchor problems all week. It was a big boat and a small anchor, but the lake was flat for once and so we anchored up and headed for a creek. A few hundred yards up river I decided to return and fish the mouth. Why I did this I can't say exactly, but I fancied a change and dropping boobies around the mouth seemed like something different. It's just as well I did because not long after the wind got up and the boat blew away.

I had been watching it absent-mindedly for a while, trying to work out if it was getting smaller. And I wasn't really sure about it, but I thought it might be. So I ran down the shoreline to check and discovered that it really was smaller and in fact had travelled half way across the lake. Potentially this was bad; losing the boat and getting stranded with no food or warm clothes just couldn't possibly be a good thing any way you looked at it. So I leapt into the dingy and took off like a man possessed, saving the boat and the day in the process.


I've been learning quite a bit this season. My flies are changing; I'm using visible wings on the dries and pheasant tail on the nymphs. I'm also doing well with double nymph rigs, using a small nymph on the point. And I'm back to Double Strength. After using copolymer for years I bought a spool and I'm getting broken less and playing harder. All round it's been quite interesting. This and more will be appearing in 'loops soon.

And I'll be implementing the plan shortly...

Have a fantastic year; we're going in.

Best wishes for 2005,

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai 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: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
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
A sexy catch...

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