Nick’s Comp 5

Minimalist and clean looking COMP5 (V2) build for Nick, who’s looking to build his championship stroke and has been working hard on his competition distance cast 🙂

If you are curious about competition distance techniques there is a page and some helpful videos in the Sexyloops Masterclass: https://www.sexyloops.com/flycast/competition-distance-cast/

Comp distance is actually a great way of working on casting technique in general, irrespective of whether you compete or not. In particular, it involves using the body effectively, straight tracking, high line speed, late (properly timed) force application and excellent timing. What I’ve always liked about it, is that the improvements are clearly measurable.

In this regards it’s not unlike cycling sport! Yesterday I took a FTP test here on the boat (Functional Threshold Power) and was pleased to find that my FTP has risen from 200 (last checked) to 244. It’s not exactly trained athlete status – and it was 6 months since I last checked (should do so every 6 weeks!) – but it’s a good improvement and puts me up a Zwift racing category. Casting down the tape measure does exactly the same thing for me, and tells me if my technique is improving. Also it’s fun and most of the people involved are actually a little bit mad.

Anyway I digress :p This was actually our last HT10 blank in stock. We have a new shipment of blanks arriving in the next two days. Which is excellent because this happens to be a very popular rod at the moment 🙂

As a comp 5 distance tool, what I like about it is that it is both light and fast, yet has feel even with the light line (obviously it’s a different sort of feel to having a 10WT line through the rings!). I believe it’s because it has this feel, that it is quite easy to adjust the stroke on the pickup cast, keeping the loop under control. This is important because if you can’t set the first backcast properly, then you are always going to struggle to control the later casts. I always use pull-back to set up this first back loop. Ok… here’s a page on Pull-Back https://www.sexyloops.com/flycast/pull-back/ (This is not a comp technique, but it is slightly advanced and well worth learning once your stroke is consistently good!).

I always go on “three” by the way. Pickup, forward cast, backcast, forward, backcast, Launch! This is the machine-gun approach I favour and I breathe around it. In – hold – out – in – hold – out! That way I’m exhaling on the Launch and not hyperventilating (or for that matter not breathing at all) during the casting sequence.

I can’t wait to see how Nick finds his new rod! I’m very curious to see how quickly he develops his stroke around it and it will be great to cast together at the World Championships 🙂

I’m on the lake full-time now but you can always get hold of me on paul@sexyloops.com

Cheers, Paul

First order of the New Year!

An HT10 that’s just left for Japan. One we actually had in stock! Nick’s just ordered one for himself too and maybe I’m about to sell two more. It’s been a while since we’ve sold four HT10s in one week, not since the Italian Team placed an order!

While the HT10 is really a go-to true-to-AFFTA line class 10WT bells and whistles fishing rod, it’s also a really classy 5WT distance comp rod. A significant number of the HT10s that we’ve sold have been for competition, including this one.

This is me casting one off a log

It’s a fun rod I have to say, particularly nice for fishing a 10 line. I spent one year fishing the prototypes on both coasts of Australia and chasing Snakehead first off a kayak and then with my small aluminium jungle boat/home. If you’re going to do something then you might as well do it properly!

If you are going to fish it, and I certainly recommend you do, then you want to go for a 10WT flyline that is actually a ten weight. If the line is “one line weight heavy for today’s fast action rods” then buy a 9WT line (which is really a 10 of course). If you are dealing with a line that is 1/2 line class heavier then I personally would use a 9 1/2 particularly for fast shots*. A good example is the SA Infinity Salt, or SA Redfish Line. Back when I was developing this rod I used a Technical Tarpon Taper long belly from RÍO that was bang on a 10. Sorry it’s a bit of a flyline minefield I know.

*there is a common misconception that you should upline for fast shots but this obviously incorrect. You wouldn’t for example recommend a softer rod for speed shots? Anyway you really should try it for yourself. 🙂

As always, feel free to write to me asking any questions you may have on paul@sexyloops.com I’m around most days at the moment. Sometimes I’m further down the lake fishing and I might take a couple of days to reply. it all depends on where the fish are most active! Sunday through Wednesday currently sees me anchored in Internet coverage.

Cheers, Paul

HT6 blue

This is very similar to our original Pro thread colour. A new rod for Darren. It’s going to be seeing a bit of New Zealand and has a spare tip for his adventures!

As you might already know this rod was primarily designed for NZ style fishing (backcountry) where I spent my summers for the best part of 20 years it 3000 days fishing!

Here my standard backcountry rig was three flies. You can see a video here where I actually describe the set up before drinking some water beer.

This was back in the days before I had the HT6 or hair for that matter. 🙂

Drop me an email on paul@sexyloops.com if you want to learn more about the HT6 or any of our flyrods.

HT4 in time for Xmas

Here is an HT4 that went out last week with a complimentary Sexyloops Face Sock. Here in Malaysia at least you can’t go anywhere without one, and what better way to look invisible than a camouflage face sock? 🙂

The HT4 is my go-to trout and streams rod. I fish it using an SA Mastery DT4. It fishes 7X tippets, has great feel at short range, can throw 100’ fishing casts when required and is just a great all-round fishing rod!

Instructor 6 to Colorado

Our flagship Instructor rod which is on its way to the States. It’s a wonderful rod to teach with no least because students actually pay attention!

Available in both 6 and 7WT versions, I remember once overhearing that the HT6 made the AAPGAI exam “too easy”!! Well I took this as a compliment 🙂

Remember buying an HT Instructor rod enables you at any time to email me questions about the exams and I’ll even go through the theory with you via email. This is always fun!

Drop me an email on paul@sexyloops.com for more info!

Cheers, Paul

HT4 to ‘Stralia

This is undoubtedly my go-to trout rod nowadays. Really nice up close with a tip that allows you to fish .10mm/7X and flies smaller than 22 – we are talking technical river trout fishing here! But also with the backbone that allows you to throw a long line into the wind when you need it.

It was originally designed for fly fishing in the Balkans where long fine leaders are essential (and the trout and grayling a very respectable size) but it very quickly became my all-round trout rod.

I think where it really shines is for exactly the sort of fishing this rod is off to do; ie sight fishing for stillwater brown trout in Tasmania. On my last trip I discovered times when I needed to delicately fish leaders of .14mm, which is getting fine for stillwater trout fishing, particularly when the fish are of a decent size!

All in all it’s a really fun rod to fish! Email me on paul@sexyloops.com if you have any questions!

Cheers, Paul

HT6 ready to rock

It’s that Autumn/Spring transition – as the Northern Hemisphere turns frigid, the Southern Hemisphere begins to bloom. November/December are my favourite months in New Zealand, there is usually plenty of water in the rivers and the Brown Trout can be numerous and in prime condition, having recovered from spawning which happened as long as six months before. I would always aim to be touching down in NZ by Guy Fawkes night (5th November). 

I’ve heard that NZ is far busier nowadays, compared to when I used to fish there for six months/year. And I really noticed changes over the 20 year period that I made summer fishing there my home. In the end that became a real problem for me, because I almost always prefer my own company to others when fishing. Anyway this year one would expect the rivers to be far quieter than in normal years. 

This rod, the HT6, was designed for New Zealand fishing. Typical set-up is three flies on an 18-22’ leader. Top dropper being an indicator style dry fly (like my RFU) and then the bottom two flies being nymphs, one with tungsten and the other a smaller nymph tied off the bend. 

Fish are relatively big, particularly so in the backcountry, where they can average 5 or more pounds. 4lbs in the backcountry is small. It’s not even considered a big fish by NZ standards until it’s at least 8lbs. 

The HT action is a fast rod that flexes to the grip and feels comfortable at all ranges from up close, poking through the trees, to longer shots. In NZ you often need high line speed to deal with the strong winds that pop up just as you are about to take your shot!

It is designed true-to-weight. In other words for a fly line that truly weighs 160 grains at 30 feet. If you want to fish a line that weighs 185 grains (7WT) then buy the HT7!

And very importantly, I think, is that it has a matte “no-shine” finish. Shiny rods spook fish in NZ; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. 

Anyway, this one is in stock. If you order it today you will probably arrive by next week. Ooh – wouldn’t that be fun!! 

https://www.sexyloops.com/index.php/webshop/item/536/ht-pro-9ft-6wt

You can always email me on paul@sexyloops.com 

Cheers, Paul

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.