New skills, making tracks

New skills, making tracks

Paul Arden | Tuesday, 2 November 2021

I had a very interesting 4 days in Sungai Tiang learning about trail building (“Sungai” in Malay means “River”). We really need an access track for guest fly fishers, who will start coming here for the Mahseer, from around the beginning of Feb onwards. It was quite fascinating to learn about what is required in building trails and how water flow needs to be considered at all times!! (Especially here in a rainforest!!). There are in fact 5 Essentials to Trail building! Of course there are :)) Funny thing is, now, whenever I look at any trail, I’m going to assess it to see if it was designed and constructed properly. “What design caused the erosion?” “How can it be fixed?” And so on…

It was also great to catch up with my friends, Hadi, Khairol, Ray and Roy amongst others. We have a very busy time coming up, preparing for the grand opening, which is just around the corner really, straight after the Wet Season when it stops raining completely here. This is such a good project, protecting the river through fly fishing and giving the Aslis a great (and fun!) business to operate themselves. I’m under no illusions, it’s going to take time and a lot of work but it’s worthwhile. This and all the other projects in the National Park are long term ones, but what’s important right now is that future guests, both local and international, start thinking about their trip here! The pristine, prime months to be here, are Feb, March and April. It’s then that the river is gin clear. Mid-March onwards is also one of the best times to be out on the lake. So I can well imagine a few of my guests doing both. :))

It was also enjoyable to meet Yong and Lawrence who gave the trail-building course. Yong is an excellent teacher and it was inspiring to learn from him. I’ve learned a few tricks than I’ll apply to my own fishing lessons.

So I’m back on the lake. The Wet Season is definitely closing in fast around here. This is some of the best fishing of the year; I’m fishing in the mornings, when it’s dry, and boat fitting in the afternoons, even if it’s not raining, because this is a job that needs finishing before I die!

I’m also working on the HT5 - man what a tool!! And preparing for the potential reopening of the country with clients coming to visit me to go fishing again! I’m very excited for when this actually happens – and hopefully before the year’s end. January and February are typically not great fly fishing months for Snakehead on the lake, which is good news for my involvement in the Sungai Tiang project, but not so good for the bank balance, so the sooner borders open the better!

Now that I’m back this week, I’ll be able to finish a fly fishing video that’s taken a long time to start editing, and I hope to be able to promote the HT rods as well. As you’ll no doubt know, we make some of the finest fly rods in the world today, at least as good as anything else, and MUCH better than most, and so I need to keep talking about them, so that when you buy your next top end rod you buy one from us!

I don’t like to hype and truly dislike a lot of the crass marketing that exists in product advertising. So I try to avoid all that nonsense. Sexyloops simply makes an awesome product and I don’t think you’ll ever feel the need to replace it in search of a “better” one! It’s still very difficult for me to imagine replacing any of our rods for something “better”. If we can ever do it, then we will of course, but I think it will take some new technology or material to come along that doesn’t exist yet. I don’t mean new for the sake of being different, I mean new that actually leads to a real improved difference. And to be perfectly honest, even then, I don’t think that it could be better! I’m not even sure what that would feel like. They already feel “other-worldly” as it is. :))

Which is good news for you!!!! Because then you don’t have to replace rods; willy-nilly; instead you can buy different line weights and rod lengths, knowing full well that you have one of the best rods available in its class. And then you can spend time working on other things, like learning to make the best use out of it and going fishing and enjoying yourself, having fun in life and becoming a better fly fisher!

One of the days this week, or possibly next, I also plan to do a 1/2 Ironman distance as well. I couldn’t complete it last month, because of fallen trees, leeches and maybe just not being fit enough for this climate. I’ve since thought of a better place to run, so it’s a good idea. I quite fancy a bit of a blow out – and if you want to stay young and sexy like me, then you have to train for it!

And finally… I had a message from Stu a few days ago who has now finished writing his second book, Chasing Tigers, and like last time he needs some upfront cash. I’m looking forward to reading this book; I certainly enjoyed the last one, Snakehead Blues! So get in there and help him out… :))

Have an awesome week! I’m not sure if Bernd is back tomorrow. I know he’s been insanely busy lately. Which is great! I’m looking forward to hearing how that’s gone and hoping to have a bit of that myself soon too. :)))

Cheers, Paul


PS the Five Essentials of Trail Building,  for those of you who must know everything :)), are the Half Rule, the 10% Average Guideline, Maximum sustainable grade, Grade Reversals and Outslope. If you are interested you can find out more here...

PPS thanks to Lawrence for the photos today. :)