I am totally focused.
Not on flyfishing. Not even on women. Especially not women actually. But on the Noosa Triathlon.
But before I tell you about this I want to make an announcement.
I am delighted to tell you that of next April, I shall be working together with Nick Hart in the West Country. I met Nick last year and was immediately impressed with his casting (he is an instructor of the new school).
As well as this, Nick is based in Somerset and has an obscene amount of fishing at his disposal. Rivers include beats on the Torridge, the Taw, the Exe, Upper Exe and the Bray. There is also plenty of lake fishing and bass fishing off the coast (at which Nick is something of an expert).
Together we will be offering residential instruction courses, day instruction, group casting and fishing coaching, club demonstrations and corporate days.
The accommodation is fantastic; great food, friendly service, right on the river, and very importantly has a bar. Although the exact details have yet to be ironed out, drinking beer, I feel, will be a key part of the course.
This partnership is a very exciting development, and I'm very much looking forward to it.
Advanced flycasting coaching
Following the long awaited demise of Ardleigh Reservoir I have sought out a new venue. Bristol Water. I will be teaching flycasting on Chew, Blagdon, Barrows to anyone who feels ready to put some sex appeal into their loops.
This is one-to-one instruction and group tuition. It starts in April and I'll be charging 30 quid per hour (for individuals), lesson time is a relaxed 1.5 hrs.
And of course I'll be wandering around the country as per normal.
Deutche Fliegen Fischen
Yes! As well as teaching in the UK, I will be teaching in Berlin from Feb onwards and intermittently throughout the season. Why Berlin you ask? Is there some great fishing secret that Paul alone knows?
Well no, it's a chick actually. BUT! there is fishing to be had. Pike, chub, carp(?) and even trout. I don't know very much more than this, but I will be sure to let you know exactly how things work out!
Of course I could teach in German... but I think it would definitely come as an advantage if you can speak some English as Mien Deutche sucks, as they say (possibly).
One thing that does worry me is the fact that they put syrup, of all things, in their beer!
Chatsworth Angling Fair - May 19th and 20th
I am delighted to tell you that once again I shall be demonstrating at this event. The Chatsworth is a stunning event, the largest angling fair in Europe, and well worth a visit.
Bring your wellies.
Sunday Nov 6th and I'm nearly ready; bike arrived, wetsuit arrived, waders arrived. No-one, to my knowledge, has done a triathlon in a pair of chestwaders... it's tempting. Might take my rod along as well.
Funny thing this swimming. I thought I would just be able to turn up, jump into a wetsuit and do all that was required. I went to a squad session just over a week ago and am I pleased I did that!
Found out that you can't just forget about swimming for 3 months and then jump in a wet suit and away you go. It takes hard work.
Now I know that you probably think that I wouldn't know hard work if it sneaked up behind me and clobbered me over the head, but that's not true; I know hard work really well, I am completely familiar with the subject. Indeed I think perhaps no-one knows hard work better than myself. I am an expert at it.
I watch people working hard all the time. It's very interesting to watch them, these hard workers. They are always busy, rushing around, hardly a moment to catch their breath. Sometimes I even get a bit envious of them. I mean why should they have all the hard work? Why be so selfish? Why not spread it around a little? Let us all have some.
But then more sensible thoughts prevail and I realise that it's good that some people have all this hard work, whereas others (like flyfishermen, say) have very little, if any, because if we all had hard work to do, then there would be nothing left to measure hard work by.
It is us flyfishermen that give meaning to the expression 'hard work'. And I intend to fully keep this tradition alive. I feel it is my duty as an angler.
So yes, I suddenly had some hard work to do. I tried to pass it on to my swimming coach of course, but she complained, said it was quite out of the question, she had enough hard work of her own and that she couldn't possibly take on any more, adding that she was no miracle worker by the way. Laziness I call it.
So it was down to me to improve my technique. Apparently I was 'slipping'. But this is in water. Water is slippery, that's why we're always falling in while fishing. Funny how my swimming coach can be so ignorant in something so fundamental to her area of expertise. So anyway I worked on not slipping.
In the river.
You know, I thought that through diving I would loose my fear of hungry underwater sea creatures. And I did for a while. I was far too frightened of running out of air or forgetting to breathe (big problem that one, apparently) to remember to look for hideous sea-monsters.
But once back at the surface the fear has returned. I have too much imagination. Mind you it does kind of make me swim faster I guess. Until I hit some weed with my fingers. Then that kind of slows me down a bit, while my body tries to reject the large and unexpected amount of saltwater it has just swallowed.
Anyway it's gradually coming back to me and, apart from swimming into a pier the other day, I am quite confident.
As you know I moonlight as a (quite possibly the) internet flyfishing consultant. It's really quite fascinating. Most of my work is casting related. Trying to sort casting out via email is surprisingly successful. But I also give advice of flyfishing New Zealand.
It may not make much money, but shit at least I make some friends, and that's far more important. It's a sad man who has to buy his friends - bank manager take note.
So back to this New Zealand thing. I have had an interesting little series of emails from a Norwegien Flyfisher. We were talking about trout and travel and tents, the way you do, when suddenly bang! he introduces sex into the discussion. It's quite astonishing how often this happens actually. But I'm cool with the topic; it is one of my favorites.
This is a slice from his email (it raises an interesting subject, I'm sure you'll agree):
Another important issue I'm working on is what we in this country calls 'hald'. I.e. improving your qualities/luck by getting a decent lay before you go fishing. (A bad one won't work.) It's important that the hald isn't to old - and neither *too* fresh. (You may have the same thing in England).
Well no, actually we don't, but I had often thought as much. Now I'm not entirely sure what '*too* fresh' is of course, indeed I am curious. But this aside it does raise a rather important point.
Just how important is it to get a 'decent lay' before fishing?
I would like to announce that I have taken it upon myself to discover the answer, and I will be thoroughly researching this key area of our sport.
Reckon it will be hard work too.
Well although I'm in serious training mode, I also have set aside some fishing time. And I must say that trevally are the most annoying fish I have ever had the misfortune to get involved with. Frankly give me a trout any day over a trevally.
Of particular concern is the fact that I am becoming obsessed with them. I guess if I was to catch bucket loads of them I wouldn't be half as interested. But when you go out day after day with less and less hope and return with your expectations fully vindicated you become pissed off. And reckless. Or at least I do. And eventually you begin to admire the bastards.
Hope you're having as much fun as I am.
BTW Newsletter 4 has been sent, and it's brilliant - all about catch and release.