Freedom is Offline!

Freedom is Offline!

Paul Arden | Monday, 1 March 2021

Being online is all well and good with the Board, but with whatsapp, messenger, emails, faceshit, reading the news and all the other never-ending time-consuming and often-bollocks chatter that being online entails, I find it difficult to get the actual important work done and consequently the constant chatter often makes a full day’s fishing impossible. It wasn’t like this for me before, but lockdowns has meant that my life has been significantly more “online” this past twelve months than ever before. Thankfully now the lake is now open again. I hadn’t fully appreciated just how important it is for me to be remote.

So I decided I would go to one of my regular haunts, hang out when I often sleep guests (Millipede Island) and base myself around there for a few days. I can make a full day trip South and get two full days in the lake’s central basin (there are about 5 full day’s fishing here, and three more down South – so much to choose from!). I managed to get a Tuesday evening session in, after flying the drone. Picked up a Snakehead of 2.5KG and lost one of 5KG+. It’s a good start and I’m so happy to be fishing properly again! 

Between me and you, I’m trying very hard to play the numbers game this week.  You know, I call it a “one fish a day fishery”, and often it’s not even that, but I believe it’s possible to actually stick a few fish. And that’s what I fully intend to do this week... (of course this is highly unlikely because it’s a one fish a day fishery!). 


Well bollocks to that! Didn’t see a fish all morning, finally found a set around 1pm but I must have spooked the fish before I got the shot. Or someone else did. But most likely me or the motor. 

Then in the evening session I found two sets. Set one I had no light but I still took the shot. No reaction. Then when I had light the fish was already spooked. Game over with first cast. The lesson is to get into the right position before taking the shot. It’s not like I don’t know this, but for some reason I have to keep learning the same lessons again and again and again.

Second set was a wild shot. It wasn’t a sitter but it was a wild shot; I know that. And that’s not good enough.

Interesting. I was expecting to find more. And would very much have liked to have had at least one fish in the boat on a tough day like this. Tomorrow I fish another zone. It’s a process of elimination. 


I don’t normally do a diary, but since I’m busy next weekend it makes sense to write the bones of my FP during the trip. Today was a complicated start. On the water by 9am, which is the right time to start looking for babies. And I decided to fish the same zone after all, since one of the golden rules of fly fishing is never to leave fish to find fish! And sure enough I almost immediately found a set. 

However, maybe because it happened so early on the day, I managed to get the fly line caught in the latch of the outboard motor – the latch that enables you to lift off the hood. And of course this was exactly when the parent decided to rise. Pretty frustrating! After untangling the resulting mess from the outboard, the transducer and my feet, the thruster motor at this point decided to pack up completely and without warning. WTF?  So I nipped back to the Battleship to pick up and fit a spare thruster. I went looking for the babies again but now the main engine decided to shit itself and run on only one cylinder. Back to the battleship for a second time, now to fit a new set of plugs. Heading back to find the babies I realised that I had left my sunglasses back at the boat, so back now for a third time and I’m getting seriously pissed off about the day. Can’t find the babies now and I spend a fruitless morning without shots. 

Heading back to the Battleship for lunch I decide to check out an area that often holds babies and did so the previous night. And I find a set – perfect! It was difficult to get an early shot (first minute is best) but I finally put in a shot that’s short. It was a long shot in both senses of the word. When you throw short you don’t bloop but instead leave it until the set has moved on, so you can reset, hopefully for another shot. However the second parent rose next to my fly (about 2 feet away) and so I blooped and it immediately ate. Quite a minor tactic this, and I don’t want you to think it’s a tactic worth exploring, this is the first time in 8 years that this has ever happened and I would play the lottery tonight if I wasn’t offline in the jungle. 

6.3KG. An awesome fish. First big one of the year. Awesome fucking fish. This is why I'm in Malaysia!

The Brexit Challenge

Anyway I was out in the boat today and I was thinking about a couple of things that I should write about. As everyone is no doubt aware Britain has now left the EU. This comes as a great disappointment to me; I’ve thought and referred to myself as being “European” for about 30 years. I still do actually! 

It’s a real problem for our business since about 40% of our rods go to EU. What you may not know yet, is if you send goods from the UK to EU (or vice versa) the customer pays VAT in their home country plus a customs clearance fee on all goods greater than 35 Euros. That puts the cost of a HT rod up by about 200 Euros, depending on which EU country you live! And that’s very significant. 35 Euros is the problem; most countries are 500 or even 1000 USD/AUS/NZD making it quite easy to slip a Hot Torpedo through. The rod tube alone costs more than 35 Euros! 

Sexyloops is under the VAT threshold in the UK, which is £85K/year. So it’s not something that we can discount. Currently we can - and are - getting a few in under the radar (down trouser legs, that sort of thing)  but long-term we have a proper solution that we are organising at the moment. 


I shifted the boat to an area that can occasionally have good fishing and is worth checking out (everywhere is worth checking at the moment!) but my main reason for coming here is that it is, in my opinion, perhaps the most beautiful part of the lake, having limestone cliffs and islands. In other words it’s a great place to fly the drone!

In the morning session I found one set. First cast 2.5KG (this is approx the minimum adult size, ie first year of parenting). Really beautiful colouration. Nice to do it properly. See the fish, get the boat into the right position for the early shot, make the shot, catch the fish. If you can do that then 90% eat the fly.

In the evening session I also found only one set. This time 3.5KG – actually second cast, not first, which was a little bit lucky. 

So two sets, two fish. That’s a slow day but it’s better than two fish, ten sets. Or even two sets, no fish! So I’m very happy with that. And that makes it four fish from three and a half days. Or five fish hooked out of eight sets with four to the net. 

Now some days, you can get 8-10 shots. And every once in a while 15-20. So it must be possible to play the numbers game on this “one fish a day fishery!!” Be that as it may, that’s top quality fishing on this lake and any trip with a 6KG+ Snakehead is truly excellent!

I have a weekend now of half day sessions and I need to be online again. Next week I’ll try another zone. Maybe the elusive 10KG Snakehead is out there… or the “Ten Fish Day…”

Zoom Cast

I have four students on my weekend casting schools now. Still room for about six more. More details here: 

Cheers, Paul

PS more trip photos here