I've never been a morning person. Some people are of course and that's fine. But this whole concept of getting up in the morning I just don't get. I suppose it's a form of self abuse: the evening is just getting interesting, but the morning person thinks to his or herself, I must go to bed now otherwise I'll miss the morning… and I'm a morning person, now where's my anorak? Oh, I'm still wearing it.
A few years ago people used to say, “Paul, have you just got up? It's almost midday!” and I'd feel guilty and try to make excuses about it, now I just say, “Hey I'm not a morning person, I live life on the edge, you won't find me conforming. Did I miss anything?”
Here in America, at the Conclave, people just seemed to accept that, and I could see them thinking, “Wow, this man's really got his shit together, he's not constrained by convention, I wonder what happens at 4 am?”
So the Conclave's over, and it was great. I always enjoy meeting experienced anglers and to meet guys who really love casting is even better. Of course I always have to try and behave myself at these things… and usually I manage. Now it's over I don't have to behave myself any longer and I can just fish and hang out.
Something I really like about the FFF is their thirst for knowledge and a real desire for improvement in everything. I don't really find that anywhere else, not to the same extent. I'm not going to compare associations, because there's no point, but this one is outstanding. During the week we had a casting competition and many of the FFF Masters entered. Now you don't get that in Europe, I believe that's out of fear of being shown up or put on the spot – and what a shame because it's good fun.
It was a target competition with a distance cast at the end. Joe Libeu cleaned up in spectacular fashion. I'm going to start working on the rings, this is not something we really do in Europe and there's a real technique to it. I watched a demo by Steve Rajeff last year and he described the techniques:
You hover the fly over the target. Steve and most other ring casters aim at the edge of the ring closest to them and then smack the rod tip down. A few casters aim at the furthest edge – such as Ian Walker – and let the fly drop into place. Simon Gawesworth, I'm told, aims at an imaginary point in the centre of the ring.
It's pretty hypnotic stuff. Whenever I think about the rings, a book “Zen and the art of archery” always springs to mind. In this book the Japanese archer becomes one with the target in his mind (since the target is his mind). I reckon done well there's a lot of visualisation going on too. Another interesting observation that Steve made was that he rotates the rod throughout the stroke, unlike for distance when he rotates purely at the end.
Whatever, I suck.
So my fishing starts now. Frank and I had a couple of days fishing, we drifted the Madison last week and we had an evening rise a couple of days ago. I'm not used to the company – Frank was fine, it was the other twenty anglers that disturbed me; at any one time you could see half a dozen. Not really my thing at all.
Fortunately most Americans don't like to walk too far and hardly any of them fish the lakes. Consequently I'm parked overlooking a lake and I'm waiting for the evening rise.
I've two weeks of fishing before my next commitment, the Ennis Festival, where I'll be doing some funky Spey stuff, some distance casting and there'll be a showing of the Sexyloops' DVD. I've even been asked to play my guitar. So that should create a stir.
I'm a long way behind on my emails – sorry; I'll catch up soon!