If you stretch correctly and regularly, you will find that every movement you make becomes easier. ---Bob Anderson
If you stretch correctly and regularly, you will find that every movement you make becomes easier. ---Bob Anderson
War tends to put a perspective on things. I don’t know what to write about that so I won’t but I’m sure like everyone else in Europe it’s weighing heavily on my mind. As some of you will know, Lars and I made a very good friend in Ukraine when we were testing for the FFI out there. A very smart young lady, and we managed to give her some work organising videos and so on for Sexyloops. She is well, but she is in Kiev and this is course rather worrying. Me, I’m up and about. Managed to take a Covid test last week and tested positive. Just for the record I am double vaccinated and was waiting to be called up for my booster shot. I guess that’s not important now!! Anyway I’m good, still a bit tired but feeling more and more invincible again every day, giving Zoom Casting courses and selling a bunch of rods this week too!
have a few friends who come by for an annual tube up before their year week in Norway, chasing salmon with the double hander. A lot of people don’t fish during the winter, some go out for a cast every now and then, and if you’re just starting up a new season of something you’ve been doing for years and years, you’re probably fine.
Tuesday I had icefishing guiding. Weather was something,beautiful sunshine, no wind…. and -20 celcius. Our luck was that there was no wind so it was not so bad that it could be. Absolutely beautiful day. Fishing, well it was like normally on this time of the year, difficult, hard or whatever, not even bite. And still it was one the best fishing trips I have made.
Last week in an online tying class I was going over some really simple scruffy dry fly and emerger patterns. While I was on the first pattern, Bob Wyatt's DHE, something interesting came up, in that despite being a fantastic pattern it's probably not a very saleable fly. Certainly some people buy them, but the pattern has nothing about it to catch anglers, which is usually a good thing in a fishing fly.
Distance casting with a #4 is rather difficult, and to me it just feels like I’m waving the rod around, as it’s so light! I only have a couple of #4 lines, the Ballistic Pro Performance (58’ head) and the Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout (66’ head green MED replacement with shorter running line). The running line on this is thicker than the orange MED. Both are really excellent lines, but I don’t like the colour as I can’t see takes very well on the water! Very dark olive and dark green.
At first I thought it was a hangover. It was surprising because I didn’t recall drinking too many beers. On the second day I thought that maybe I had drunk more than I thought. By the third day I thought even the worst hangover I’ve ever had never lasted three days. So I’m quite pleased about that because I would never have touched another drop.
Today's Front Page on angling fitness highlights what I consider to be one of the most effective "all in one" workouts ever designed. Developed by Dr. Leonard Schwartz in the 1980s, the heavy hands workout combines multiple modalities to target several different systems in one routine. And, the beauty of the heavy hands workout is that in addition to building cardiovascular fitness, it targets all of the pertinent fly casting muscles and joints at the same time.
We have just finalised the dates for the 2022 BFCC Meetings with each venue being supported by local organisers - many thanks to them for finding the venues, etc. We now have a full year of casting and fishing activities as all of locations of the Meetings have fishing opportunities nearby. The first BFCC Meeting in March will be our ‘home’ venue (on the Welsh-Cheshire border) where we will invite some of the instructors to join us fishing on the Welsh Dee around the Meeting. At the moment the rivers are too high and coloured for fishing due to the recent storms. Over the next month I am hoping that this improves and James and I are able to go fishing to check out the beats in preparation. Early season last year was very good and I almost exclusively fished a dry fly from March onwards.
I really dislike talking about “the good old days”, yet somehow I find it’s important to remember how conditions once were. For instance most, let’s say not new, fly fishers remember the incredible blanket hatches of Caenis in the late summer. These hatches are all but gone.
Couple of weeks ago I got message from my friend. He asked if I could give some tips about fishing destinations in Sweden. I told him that yes, no problem. Then issue was buried for few weeks, I was too busy and their trip is not until summer. Two weeks ago we sat down for coffee and went thru some waters in Sweden.
It's been an unusually cold winter with some late snow in Tokyo but spring seems to be arriving and we've had some much needed rain bringing the rivers up to a reasonable level. While I'm waiting for them to clear I started tying flies for Sungai Tiang. I think this is a really good project to support, I've sent stuff over in the past and hijacked some presentation time to push it to some of the stakeholders at work when Paul first set up the fundraiser. Now it's nice to be able to send something that the guys there will actually be using on the water.
I’m currently making some accuracy targets for the fishing club, and they have been fun to make. The hoop diameters are the same as the WC ones, with diameters of 60, 120 and 180cm. They are made from ½” black polyethylene irrigation tubing (50m), and all have a ½” coupler to make them into a hoop. They were quite easy to attach, you just pop both ends in boiling hot water for about 30 seconds, and push the connector in. I couldn’t find any white pluming pipe, so I’ve had to cover them all in white tape.
Over here the big news this week is that Malaysia intends to open its borders to travellers without quarantine from March 1st. It’s been so long since the borders have been open, that I’m not actually getting too excited about this yet, in case the situation changes, as it did last time. But I certainly hope so; apart from a couple of local anglers, I haven’t hosted any jungle lake fishing trips for almost two years now. Basically I’ve missed out on 200 days of work – which in my world is very significant!! And I know it’s the same for many of my guiding friends here and other parts of the world.
A few weeks ago when I started this series on angling fitness, I referenced a friend of the family who had tried his hand at saltwater fly fishing while on vacation in Central America. The night he returned from his charter, he sent us an email detailing how sore he was from trying to coordinate the cast and presentation while trying to BALANCE on the deck of a tippy skiff that was constantly rocking in a stiff coastal breeze. As he found out, BALANCE is one of the key physical attributes to becoming a successful fly fisherman. And, perhaps even more important, the maintenance of the muscles involved in remaining balanced, while fishing in an unbalanced environment.
At the end of the BFCC competition casting year, I view the championship scorecard as a report on how well I’ve cast over the course of the season. The overall scoring is a relatively simple affair, you score the points equivalent to the position you finished in the individual casting disciplines, and your best two results are subsequently counted upon completion of all the events for that year. Thus, if you win every discipline at least twice you’ll achieve the lowest score possible (and you’ll obviously win – although no one has done this yet). As there are seven individual disciplines (#5, #7, ST27, S55, T38, T120 and accuracy) cast at every event, this lowest score is 14. The disciplines where I haven’t scored a ‘double 1’ are the ones I know are needing the most attention in terms of practice ahead of the next season. This winter I’ve been working on my shooting head casting. To be honest, this was the same as after the last full season (before casting was interrupted by the pandemic), so perhaps targeted practice doesn’t work for me – but I’ll continue with it regardless.
As spring slowly approaches, the first hatches that will bring fish to the surface are the midge hatches. Although small in size, they hatch in numbers that attract the fish, not least because they are very easy prey, both the ascending pupae, the hatching insect and even the winged insect before it takes flight.
December and part of January was more or less surviving. It was difficult to even think about fishing or anything around that. Days were just passing by it felt like in the movie “Groundhog Day”. You know that movie, where reporter is waking up for same day, only his reaction are different. Our winter has been pretty much same, feed the reindeers, get ready for visitors, do reindeer drive, tell about reindeer, feed the reindeer, go home, eat sleep and repeat. In that context it has been difficult to even think about fishing and writing has not been easy either.
I've been struggling to come up with something to write about this week. There's been little going on as we're in another state of emergency here and there's been no rain for weeks meaning the local rivers are reduced to trickles, the travel situation means I'll not be making it over to see Paul yet again. I've barely even been tying flies, although I probably should be restocking a few boxes. It's just a bit hard to be motivated (The Sungai Tiang project flies have certainly helped with that though) .
Yesterday I put out a request to Sexyloops readers for flies for the Sungai Tiang guides and Jason Stratford over on FB (quite rightly) asked me about specific patterns. That’s an instant problem for me however, because I don’t use specific patterns and haven’t done for decades. That’s not to say I don’t think that the fly is important – of course it is; its what fish eat! – only I just don’t think it matters if you use a Wulff, a Humpy or an Irresistible… a Pheasant Tail, a Hare’s Ear or a Grey Goose… a Bibio, a Red Tag, or a Zulu. Even when fish are locked on to a specific fly – an ant say – you can fish Ants, Black Spiders, Bob’s Bits, or a Black Spinner. Yes we will catch slightly more if you tweak our fly pattern… maybe!! Peter MacKenzie-Philps once asked my good friend Jim Curry what he knew about entomology. And then he told Jim exactly what he thought about entomology, namely: if it’s small and brown then put on something that’s fkin small and brown!
Stuntman Ronan yesterday very kindly offered to donate 60 flies to the Orang Asli guides in Sungai Tiang. As most of you will know by now, this is a project that with your help I’m assisting. And while I’ve been looking for a commercial fly sponsor to provide six full boxes of flies for the Orang Asli fly fishing guides, Ronan has given me the great idea that, we – as in you, I, all Sexyloops readers – can work together to deliver 6 full fly boxes for the fly fishing guides.
Extremes won't get you the results you're looking for....CONSISTENCY WILL. ---Emily Ackart
Borders are still shut here to International visitors. Which is interesting because 98% of adults and 80% of adolescents are fully vaccinated. Obviously the pandemic has been totally catastrophic in many ways. I would be very surprised if Malaysia opens borders in time for the Snakehead babies season in mid March and I’m looking at what happens if we have another year of International traveller closure. For, as many of you will know, I have two businesses. One is that we manufacture fly rods — Hallelujah — and the other is that we host fly fishing trips for Snakehead and Gourami. Last year I had zero guiding days with guests and the previous year, after borders shut, I had four days only, with locals, instead of a hundred with Internationals! But there is always a silver lining. At the beginning of last year, following weekly family Zoom lockdown meets (we had the equivalent of a family pub quiz every week, with a different member of the family writing the questions and hosting the quiz), I considered the possibility of using video conferencing for fly casting lessons. I didn’t know if it would work, because it’s obviously quite different to actually standing together, and so I gave a free exploratory lesson to one of my jungle Snakehead guests, who had visited me the first time to improve his casting and had a second trip cancelled when the first lockdown occurred. The results were promising and he booked a course of a dozen lessons with me.
When tying flies left over materials are an inevitability, but there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of materials you throw out. Not all left overs make sense to keep and not everything makes sense to use. But some do and in my experience, making sense of left overs is simply a matter of getting into the habit of 1 - keeping them and 2 - creating some sort of organisation in order to quickly and easily store them in a meaningful way.
I find myself in funny position. I’m normally who answers to all questions about reindeer herding or fishing and what kind of gears you need. Couple of nights ago I woke up in middle of night, and I had lot of questions in my head. And no answers.
I've mentioned before that I'm quite heavily dependent on the rubber candy for the seabass. It's a year round producer, and easily the best pattern on Tokyo bay. A while ago someone asked me about the durability compared to the standard surf candy, which I thought misses the point of the fly a little but does raise an interesting point and led me to do an experiment or two. I knew the answers but wanted to prove it to myself.
Working on my single handed carry has been the main reason why my distances have increased. A fellow caster advised me to make some shooting heads for practice, not to throw, but to practice carry. My current shooting head is 65’ and is made from an old Barrio GT125 with some very thin mono as the shooting line (which can be used to practice and get the feel of the 170.
This last trip into Sungai Tiang I realised that I’m not truly organised for stream fishing nowadays. Of course that’s not surprising perhaps, since I’ve been lake fishing for the past 8 years. I’m organised for that of course and have most of my gear in a big plastic waterproof box, with the gear I need more frequently, clipped to a bar across the middle of the boat. And then of course the age old problem returned, which is how to carry the gear around? I honestly don’t think that this has ever truly been properly solved. The best system I had was a William Joseph chest pack. It was an excellent system and you could spread the weight between front and back evenly, meaning that it was comfortable and not pulling on one shoulder or your neck. And then someone broke into my truck and stole it! I replaced it a few years later but the soft front on the pack had been replaced by a hard front and I couldn’t see my feet, which was dangerous when boulder hopping — that’s insane, right?