Tough Times

When I was 26 I had a job working as Sales Manager for a company called Guide Fly Fishing. We imported Redington, Rio, Teton, Loon and so on, for the UK market. I opened up probably 2/3rds of the UK shops. Interestingly one of the first people I went to see was Steve Parton of Sparton Fishing Tackle.

As a teenager working in Ardleigh Fishing Lodge, I had read his no-nonsense “Boat Fishing For Trout” book many times (it was one of the few books in the lodge) and had been inspired to make myself a rudder and buy one of his “Imperator” fly rods. Later, I had continued to give him my custom by buying Loomis blanks through him.

In later years we met various times, at float tubing events as well as kids teaching days and he even wrote a column for Sexyloops https://www.sexyloops.com/sparton/

My favourite quote about fly fishing comes from Steve’s book: “Fly fishing is not about patience; it’s about organised impatience”!!! Also I frequently borrow one of his terms, “sequencing” – which is to be able to catch fish one after the other by repeating the successful method.

Sadly, Steve died some years ago but I have fond memories of our first and subsequent encounters. I remember he told me something that I found quite profound at the time. He told me that the fly fishing market was like two pyramids, with the larger one at the bottom and the other, smaller, inverted at the top. He stated that in the lower pyramid you couldn’t be too cheap (eg Shakespeare) and at the upper pyramid you couldn’t be too expensive (eg Sexyloops!).

I mentioned this to Magnus Angus some years back and he said that this was once the case, but when the economy is good that middle market expands. And in retrospect, I agree. (Magnum can be pretty smart when he’s not grumpy!).

The reason I mention all of this, is because this industry has been severely hit by COVID-19. Many fly fishing businesses were shut for months this year – both manufacturers and retailers, many anglers have been in lockdown (myself included) and most of my friends who guide are suffering (my own guiding/teaching business is down 95% this year!!). So this really is a survival year for everyone in this industry and if we get another year of this I think we will be left smaller.

I feel very sorry for those who will lose their livelihoods as a result of this virus. What we have been doing, apart from operating in survival mode, is building stock and putting the blocks in place, to serve you better when times are more fortunate again.

Prior to this we never really had a breathing space to build stock levels and the result was everything was made-to-order – which was a challenge for those customers who needed their rod yesterday! So if there is any silver lining to be found in this whole catastrophe for us, it is that we should be able to deliver rods faster!

Take care and I hope we all come out the right side of this.

Cheers, Paul

The (subtle) Beast

This HT10 is on its way to Bonny Scotland – I’m not sure where it’s going after this, but I’m fairly certain it’s not for the trout fishing! I must find out actually, because I’m always interested in the lives the HTs lead 🙂

This is of course my go-to rod here in the jungle. I’m very partial to SA’s Infinity line on this rod. The Infinity is one of those strange lines that is mid weight (half AFFTA heavy), which is obviously favoured my many anglers. However with this particular line/rod combination and for the fast shots I need to make here in the Malaysian Jungle, I actually use the 9 1/2WT line (9).

Be that as it may, it’s very close to something I requested from Bruce some 4 or 5 years ago, ie a line with a head that tapers down pretty much from the front. I don’t actually think Bruce thought “I’ll do this and won’t tell Paul about it!” Because I know that’s actually not what happened!

What actually happened is that SA discovered that anglers were fishing their Redfish line for Permit, and so they adjusted it – more for Permit I suppose – and brought out this new taper. I know this, because when Jono Shales was visiting me a few years ago, he brought with him some Redfish lines and since I loved them, he left me one and I subsequently wrote to SA saying that they were fantastic for what I was doing. Josh – who has replaced Bruce – said something along the lines of “that’s awesome, Paul, would you like to test a new line that we have in development?” It was the Infinity, and it’s currently my go-to Snakehead shot fly line.

Of course this rod wasn’t designed around the Infinity, it was in fact tested using RIO’s Technical Tarpon taper! Another great line. The original line I had, had a 60’ head as I recall, which is very different to what I’m throwing now!

Anyway, great to see another HT10 released from the Sexyloops Workshop. Excellent build quality, as always, from our master craftsman Lee.

If you are interested in an HT10 – standard or customised – then you can order here or else drop me an email and we can discuss your requirements.

Thanks, Paul

HT travels North – Finally. Tim Kempton

For someone who is fortunate to get the opportunity to travel the world fly fishing, Covid brought things to a sudden stop. Seven months not flying anywhere.  All borders closed. Netflix a new experience. I found a woman sitting on our couch. She said she was my wife…she seems like a nice person.

Finally we were allowed to travel around our state…Queensland in Australia. The weather and tides looked good I booked a trip to Weipa in far North Queensland with Ben Bright from Last Cast…Weipa is fly fishing paradise for a large variety of salt and freshwater species. 

I packed my family of HT 8,10 and 12 and headed North (The HT 4 and 6 stayed home).  The sailfish had been there in large numbers so I packed my new HT12 (#1), but the packs had moved by the time I arrived. We raised one, had a shot but the fish did not stay connected. 1/1/0. Things did not look good for sailfish, so the HT12 was packed away and replaced by the HT8 and HT 10

The next day we explored the flats and reefs hunting for the elusive Blue Bastards (Plectorhinchuscaeruleonothus) ..yes this is actually a fish so named because they are incredibly spooky and bastards to get to eat the fly, hook up, and get a photo. They fight dirty.  I fished a shrimp pattern and landed a variety of saltwater species..Pacific Tarpon, Diamond Trevally, Spotted dart, Queenfish and a Striped Threadfin Salmon (Polydactylus plebeius) which had never been seen before in those waters. There were plenty of shots at BB’s..one busted off, one fell off and one stayed for a photo.  3/3/1 was not bad for BB’s. The HT 10 was performing well…long casts, delicate presentations, and plenty of fighting power. I was elated.

For the next few days we camped on the beaches and fished the flats and river mouths north of Weipa. The weather was glamour, no wind and plenty of sun…perfect conditions.  There were permit (Anak) at the river mouths, but try as we may they would not eat a merkin style cab. We changed to an Alphonse/flexocrab and we started smiling…hooked 4 and took photos of 3 on day 1.  The next day I hooked and landed 4.  I was hooked up to a metre plus Queenie..aschool of permit swam into range..Notso made the cast..5 permit in one day..a new boat record. The permit gods were smiling.  There are all sorts of species on the flats.  A large Giant Trevally  swam by on a ray..it chased down the crab fly with gusto. Big (1+m) queenies, big Golden Trevally, and cobia.  One  cobia the size of  shark ate the crab, but straitened the hook on the first run…probably lucky because we would have been there for hours.

The last day..the permit must not have read the Permit Times..we hunted all day until finally we found some late in the afternoon.  Another 2 from 2 giving a total of 9 permit landed from 10 hooked(10,10,9) …a truly amazing experience and an absolute privilege.

The weather.  Ideally neap tides with and early morning low, no wind and sun.

The gear.  I was fishing a HT10, with a WF10Int line on a Sage 6010 reel, with a 9’ 40/20lb Galis FCleader.   The HT10 was amazing..all the fish hooked were incredibly strong, they put in long runs (some 200+m).  There was plenty of power on the butt. As the number of fish increased, I became more confident with the 20lb tipped and had the drag wound up to 10. There was plenty of fighting power in the butt. The rod is a pleasure to cast and suited me and my style.

Technique.  Having good eyes makes the day. Ben the guide from Last Cast has exceptional eyes and together there were not many fish we did not see. There are big tides in this part of the world, and the current can be quite strong on the run out and run in tides. The fish feed into the current, and so at times long casts so that the fly can travel past the fish are an advantage. Being able to cast both right and left handed is one of the best skills I have learnt…it makes everything so much easier for both the angler and the boatman and gives greater control and maximising opportunity to fish the angles.

Line management is critical…once hooked all saltwater species take off for the sunset at speed.  Are you standing on the line, is it wrapped around something, has a loop forward around the reel handle or some part of your clothing. Is the reel handle likely to jam on your clothing?  

Although strip strike is essential, more important is staying in touch with the fly.  In most cases once the permit came onto the fly, they would follow it, and the “strip strike” became more like  “feeding the fly to the fish”. Great stuff.

Lady Shaman

Mika wanted to give Satu a rod (what a great idea!). And so this was the request:

Here it comes… it is long list and some might be “impossible “. Satu Palosaari on one side and Lady Shaman on other. Brown sock and this drawn a few times on the sock. Golden hat name Satu
Rod: targeting and limit cross in connection, not on ring side but opposite. Green fluor (should glove in dark so it you can see where rod is), also green fluor line on just below tip ring. About 2 cm long.
Changeable butt, cork/normal.
Measures 35/40/50/60 cm, point zero end of rod/cork begin.

(Brown sock with this drawn a few times on sock)

The sock is still being made, since Lee has had to order some brown cloth. However the rest of the rod has been finished and delivered! 🙂


Love it!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

The New Stealth Shirt

A big thanks to Stuntman Ronan for sending this stunning brown trout picture for our Stealth Shirts. You have the choices of the Rainbow Trout (Aitor’s fish!), the Mahseer and now Ronan’s Brown Trout.

You can learn more about these shirts here.

All our shirts are made to order and everything is customisable from collars, to sleeve length, to hoodie options, to having you name or company on the front/back. Indeed we can even mount a fish picture of your own.

The material is extremely long lasting, and the shirts take years to fade in the tropics. I’m currently experimenting with a new cooler material – the same material that is used to manufacture buffs.

Drop me an email to find out more on paul@sexyloops.com

Cheers, Paul

Dirk’s HT10

This is Dirk’s second HT10…

It’s my every day rod! But I need a second one because I don’t wanna change from popper/gurgler to clouser all the time. Want to have both handy…

Great fishing for Kings, barracuda, queens, milkfish, cobia etc. But 200km away in Oman much better. Also geets, sailfish, etc

Sounds like paradise! 😎

I hope to see Dirk again soon. He’s one of my favourite Snakehead fishing guests/friends (they are all favourites of course!) and Dirk managed a 4KG Gourami on one of his trips that features in the Tourism Malaysia fishing catalogue. That was one of my most memorable fishing moments – for Dirk too I’m sure 😊

The HT10 is also my go-to fishing rod. You can find out more about it here. Alternatively drop me an email.

Thanks Torpedo Owners for supporting us through these difficult times. It means a great deal to me and it’s fantastic that you all seem to be surviving and getting on with life. Here’s to the next fifty years of fly fishing together! 😀

Cheers, Paul

Pro 6 for Tom

We have been turning out quite a few rods recently, but with all the Sungai Tiang activity I haven’t been able to keep up to date with the HTOC! This is Tom’s new HT6.

Tom guides down in NZ and we’ve been going through the CI test together. Without a doubt some of the best theoretical answers I’ve been given in all the years of doing this.

The HT6 was/is our flagship rod and the easiest for me to make first because for over twenty years a 9′ 6WT rod was my go-to rod. The rod was designed with NZ in mind of course since that is somewhere that I fished extensively!

You can read more about the HT6 here. And for the complete range have a look in our shop. For any questions feel free to contact me on paul@sexyloops.com

Cheers, Paul

COMP5 (V8!)

A Torpedo Comp5. There are currently three Comp5 variations. The original Comp5 was the HT6 blank. Version 2 (V2) is the HT10 blank. V8 on the other hand is the HT8 blank. All is clear now!

There are actually three Comp5 V8s in existence. One is with Team China (Zhongxiang) and another with Team Jersey (Ross) and now this one which is off to Dario in Italy.

V8 is considerably more forgiving than V2. V1 I actually find too soft nowadays for this sort of distance work although I often throw it aligned with the MED5 at accuracy rings.

Every rod comes with the offer of personalised instruction. I’m always happy to give advice to all Sexyloops readers of course. However if you are an HT Owner, I can put together a training plan for you – for fun, for better fishing, for competition – and using video we can work together on honing your casting technique.

I do this regularly through email/ WhatsApp/ messenger. If you are interested just drop me an email on paul@sexyloops.com

Great work from Lee Martell, our Master Rod Craftsman! 🙂