Well I'm back in the UK!
And I'm going to stick around for a little while at least. Although
So what happened back there with the magnificent desert trip, you're
wondering. Rumours about wild fish, women and owls abound. Let me tell you
about the owl, because it could only happen to me.
There I was minding my own business, driving along quite happily, thinking
about dinosaurs, as you do (just seen some dinosaur footprints, which was
interesting because it's quite different wandering around a museum looking
at bones to actually looking at fossilised footprints: 'they were really
here... and my, didn't they have big feet', and 'look, they walked just like
us, apart from that big mother over there who placed one foot
directly in front of the other', and 'they didn't hop around like
kangaroos'. Which frankly came as a big disappointment, T-rex
kangaroo-hopping always interested me) and then the owl struck.
Well actually to be more precise we struck each other, and if you want a
truly accurate account, I did more of the striking. Whatever, the result
was one unhappy girlfriend (and owl). Backtracking we found the beast.
'We must help it'.
'We're in the middle of the f-ing desert'.
'Paul, we must'.
So with that we took the owl with us. The first town we came to didn't have
a vet. Nor a doctor. Nor any intelligent life. But interestingly had *two*
nurses. The nurses were very helpful to a point. The point drew short of
caring for the owl of course (it often does you know), so the three of us
continued onward to the nearest vet.
The nearest vet apparently was 600 miles drive, I should point out that
Australia is larger than you're average country, and considerably bigger
than England. It's also extremely dry; much of it is desert. In fact a
drier place would be hard to find.
Except this night.
This night it poured buckets. Muddier tracks you couldn't wish for. So
there we were driving across the desert, through thick mud and deep water,
at night, in heavy rain with an injured f-ing owl.
Alice Springs had a vet. Unfortunately, however this is a tale of tragedy
and the owl had hooted his last hoot.
So anyway, what else? Ah yes, to fishing.
Lake Eyre. I made quite a big thing about this place. 'Only every 40
years...' blah, blah. Ok I mean there's water there. That's true. And fish
too; I found a dried-up dead one. But the oasis I had expected; crystal
clear sparkling water, surrounded be palm trees, with leaping fish and
exotic babes in grass skirts, Hawaiian music and tropical bars was a little
Hey look, I'm a flyfisher, I live by optimism.
So there was this big salt lake thing in the middle of the desert. I had
heard about the pelicans 'millions of them... all eating fish... big
fish...', and I had gotten excited. But I didn't see any pelicans. Not one.
Maybe they're in the middle, with the fish, and the cocktail girls, but in
order to fish there you need a floatplane... next time.
If you plan a trip here, or anywhere remote, you are advised to inform
people of your intended travel plans. Who would you go to first? The
police, naturally. So we went to the Coober Peddy Police Station in order
that we could inform them that we were stupid tourists and we were going to
get lost in the desert and probably die.
They don't do this service. They are much too busy. Which I find quite
shocking really. Their advice is don't go. Very helpful.
I recommend seeing either the Ambulance Service or the Fire Service. They
are great people and sure to help (a big thanks goes out to the Ambulance
Service in Winton by the way).
It is possible that the discovery of the dead Lake Eyrian fish has captured
your imagination and you are keen to fly in immediately but are bewildered
by the multitude of internal airline options, because there are two of
them. Qantas and Ansett. *Definitely* go Qantas.
I have just flown Ansett. They are something to do with Air NZ (who I've
also had problems with - they changed a flight without informing me, so
that I was unable to make the scheduled following flight, had to wait 8hrs,
and after bitter complaining, they eventually apologised and said they
would send a fax for me, which they never did, causing me to miss my
pickup), but I was hoping Ansett would be better. I was wrong.
Check-in girl (quite pretty, but with an attitude problem, and probably -
although I'm guessing here - also menstrual): Have you been camping?
Me (not pretty, that is true, but *definitely* no menstrual problems either):
Sure, I'm a flyfisher; we're camper gods.
Check-in girl: And do you have any camping equipment? (obviously a bit
stupid, this one)
Me (slowly so she can get it): Sure, I'm a flyfisher; I have heaps of
Check-in girl: Do you have a camping-stove?
Me (experienced traveller, of course I have a camping stove): Yes.
Check-in girl: I would like to smell it.
Me: Kiss this (No actually I didn't say kiss this, I did in fact tell her
exactly what I thought, but 'kiss this' is a rough translation).
Anyway she got her way, and she got to smell the stove. 'It smells of
petrol'. 'Of course it smells of petrol; it's a f-ing petrol stove'.
And with that my stove disappeared behind the counter. No matter that it
was empty and you could drop a match in there and it still wouldn't ignite
(I know, tried it), it was gone. And so was my goodwill. And hers.
That's my pack.
That's the limit.
Was this girl a bitch or what? Yes, I had to take 1.8 kilo's of clothes out
of my pack and put them on. and walk through customs like I was going to
the f-ing North Pole, rather than Brisbane.
Look, I've flown with many different airlines and I've *never* had to empty
luggage and I've *always* been over the limit. So take my advice and never
fly Ansett. They've certainly seen the last of my business.
It's not safe either. Sitting at the back of the plane, while *and mark
this* parked stationery at the terminal, a man operating his palm-top can
cause a catastrophic plane crash. Really. 'You must turn it off because its
very very dangerous, but you can turn it on again after take off'.
Now hang on a minute.
Parked here at the terminal, operating a palm-top is tantamount to suicide,
murder and mayhem. Whereas up in the sky, when we are actually travelling,
miles above the earth, it's ok? Am I going mad here? When exactly does
Mr.Pilot do the navigating? No wonder they're always crashing.
Flying terrifies me.
I mean OK, I fly all over the place. But I hate it. On the Gold Coast they
have theme parks and in one there is a 100 m elevator drop. 8 of you sit in
this contraption and you are whisked up into the air 100 meters.
Believe me 100 meters is a hell of a long way when your feet are dangling
over the edge. At the top there is a pause. It's about 10 seconds. Think
about it; that's a long time. Then you drop 100 meters freefall. It's very
When flying I remember that freefall sensationg and imagine the plane
shaking apart and the tail section flying off and plummeting to the earth.
(I always sit in the tail section, most survivors come from here. Which is
the other reason I never travel first class (sic)).
So who should you fly with?
Well Qantas are OK. NZ air suck. Ansett suck more. BA are ok (if you're
nice to them). Ryan Air, don't bother. Singapore, good (if you're a guy),
but pricey. KLM, always late. Thai, I like. Virgin, I really like (fly
Virgin if you can, but unfortunately you might then end up with NZ air on
your second leg, assuming you go to NZ, in which case it ain't worth the
trip). Korean Air, well ok, if you are a smoker (I was then) and the
national dish is good to eat (once you've worked out how) but Seoul airport
is really shocking, especially if you have an 8 hour stop-over. Japan Air,
I also recommend, but they charge for flight changes and they are
positively unfriendly in Brisbane, but if you are forced to stopover they
give you a free hotel room for the night and that can be nice... especially
if you've just come straight from the desert.
So assuming that you don't go to Lake Eyre, what can you expect this month?
Monthly Book Plug
So what does this masterpiece, this wondrous work of fascinating insight,
this immense fountain of knowledge, this bible of flyfishing facts; 'The
Beginners Guide to Stillwater Trout Angling' (only £5, available on site
now) tell us?
This is a slice from the boat fishing section...
For surface daphnia feeders try hot muddlers followed up by hot mini-lures
with perhaps a hot gold headed mini-lure on the point. Orange is the best
colour although pink also can do the trick. For deep daphnia feeders,
depth is absolutely critical; positioning lures more than six inches above
the trout's head will make catching extremely unlikely. The lure colour to
use is lime green. You will sometimes see fluorescence recommended.
Fluorescence fails to work much below the surface (lack of ultra-violet
Another fly well worth carrying is a white lure. Sometimes it is more
effective to knock the fish off their feeding habits and induce the take.
For this approach I will tend to favour the intermediate line since it will
help to get my flies below the surface as quickly as possible. A good set
up is size #10 sedge pupa (top), size #10 cove pheasant tail (middle),
white marabou lure size #10 long shank (point). You must cover fish
quickly and pull fast. Use pauses to induce the take and expect half your
fish on the drop. This method starts to work well somewhere towards the
end of the month and continues into the beginning of June. Side sweeping
white lures can really pay huge dividends in the last half hour of the
Wow!! Orders this way gentlemen... book section
Now that I've temporarily suspended my chase of women around the globe I
shall be spending more time developing the website. Expect big things here
My Sexyloops Newsletter No 3 is now available. If you are a current subscriber and
have not yet received your copy, then please email me; quite a few addresses have 'bounced' the
ezine. This issue contains tips of flycasting practice, desert marathons, and picking up hot babes.
is not true actually, but hopefully some of you will already have disappeared searching for that newsletter button!)
Hopefully see you at the Chatsworth...