How it began 25 years ago

How it began 25 years ago

Paul Arden | Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Last week I was asked how Sexyloops started, which is a good question. My usual answer is “by mistake”!!!

To answer the question more fully, I need to tell you a little about me. I started fly fishing at the age of ten on Ardleigh Reservoir, in the SE of England. At the age of 15 I got a job in the fishing lodge. Even back then I was fishing often; over 100 days/year. I dropped out of University, twice, both times at the beginning of the trout season. It was then I realised that I didn’t want to become an engineer – and besides I would never be able to finish the course unless they abandon the third semester. And so I went travelling the next winter to New Zealand for six months of fishing.

That first trip to NZ I was 22 years old, which back then was young for a backpacker (the current age appears to be about 13!) and while sitting at a backpackers hostel, overlooking the Remarkables (a mountain range near Queenstown), I saw a backpacker who I figured was about really old and about 35. I thought to myself that I would like to visit NZ for six months fishing, every year, until I was 30.

This really was the start of my travelling life, because after a while of doing so, the whole idea of settling down anywhere seems to be immensely boring. Anyway, when I was 25 I thought it would be nice to teach fly fishing professionally (little did I know then how challenging this was going to be!) and I telephoned Michael Evans, who was secretary of the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors. I told him that I wanted to join and he said, “how good are you?” I’ll never forget that question!!

The first step in the process was to take an exam called STANIC (the Salmon and Trout Association National Instructor’s Certificate). The following year I took the APGAI exam and became a member of that too. That would be 1996 and ‘97 respectively.

For the summer of ‘97 and a short stint in 1998 I worked for a fly fishing tackle distributor in the UK as their Sales Manager. This was one of the few times I’ve worked for anyone else – and it was the last!!

Sexyloops started on Sept 22 1998 when I bought the domain by mistake. Well not exactly by mistake, but I did try to buy first – but that had already gone, by about a year or so. This really was the early days of the Internet. No Facebook. Google started at a similar time to Sexyloops. The idea of “social media” hadn’t been invented.

The name Sexyloops came from a flycasting lesson I gave to Derek Grzelewski in Turangi. Somehow loops became sexy, and the name stuck. I was writing for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine at the time, and wrote a fly casting article entitled “Sexy Loops” – which incidentally, was largely full of errors!

And so when the surprised reply came back down the phone line, that had gone and I was asked if there was another name I’d like to try, and I said “Sexyloops”, there followed a very long pause down the phone while the chap on the other side tried to process this new information. You could almost hear him thinking “fly fishing, that’s a bit weird… pornography… blimey! How does this lunatic decide to go from a fly fishing website to pornography? What will he ask for next if this is unavailable too?”

But it was available and so Sexyloops was born. How it went from an obscure one page advert to what it is today is another story…

Cheers, Paul