Sexyloops turns 20

Sexyloops turns 20

Paul Arden | Sunday, 23 September 2018

“Holy shit, Batman! Twenty years old!”

And what better way to celebrate than a campfire? I’m sitting out here at the Latohegy Mancamp, wearing a NZ Swannie, drinking Latohegy wine and thinking about the last 20 years! Wow - what a ride!!

To be honest it all started with a piss-take. I’d just written a flycasting article for Fly Fishing and Flytying magazine, that had “Grasshopper” asking Caster Master how his loops could be sexy. This was back when the Internet wasn’t like today - in some ways it was better because phones didn’t have Internet and it wasn’t the constant in your face BS but instead you would sit back and look for interesting content. It’s better now in another way of course because more than three people use it. 

Yeah it was pretty novel and I’d been teaching flycasting for about three years and being the youngest instructor in the country, I decided I should be ahead of the times and have an Internet site, advertising fishing instruction, guiding and tackle sales. Cover all bases. 

I rang up to buy a domain, but some barstool had got in there first - believe it or not this was a BIG surprise in those days. “How about ‘Sexyloops’?” “Pardon?” “Sexyloops. If I can’t have the flyfishing one then I’ll become Mr Sexyloops”. 

Yep that one was free. 

Now if you ever need to believe that things happen for a reason then this is it. In one phone call my life’s path was changed completely. And over the next 6 months 100 people visited it. Sexyloops was not exactly making waves. 

So I did two things. 1) I spent ten days writing the Fly Casting Manual and overnight put Sexyloops on the map as one of only two resources of fly casting on the Internet (and I’m sure because I did this it hasn’t happened since). And 2) I put up the entire catalogue of a UK fly fishing tackle distributors (Guide Fly Fishing) telling people what they should and shouldn’t buy!  

Here comes some more Sexyloops Synchronicity: I had a guy trying to buy a fishing outfit for the saved discount value as opposed to the discounted price. “What the hell?” (No WTF in those days!). “You only *save* £73 pounds, you can’t buy it for that price!!” 

Turns out he was an IT guru, and a genius. Takes one to know one. And together a lot of what became the building blocks of Sexyloops were down to us working together. Pic of the Day, the Beginners’ section, the Board and many many more. Interactive multimedia content - he was ahead of his time, and still is. I miss him.

The thing about Sexyloops, and life in general, that you have to realise, is that people come and go. Steve disappeared because he was insane. Yes it takes one to know one. But the machine carries on. Sexyloops is the seed of an idea that grows into a huge multi-coloured hideous snake. 

One of the big steps forward that we took was 18 years ago when we went 7 days a week. Steve wanted to go 5 days but I overruled him because there was seven in mine - and lacking an obvious Sunday figure God came in to help. The fact that God was a black dude and had bitches seemed perfectly inappropriate. 

I’m going to give you a fact of life now. Don’t try to be anyone else. You’ll only ever be second best. At being yourself you will always be the best. Man this campfire is good! 

Sexyloops for years has been written around campfires. For a while it came from the top of a mountain.  Internet was around 8-9Kb/second and I had to connect my, originally Psion5, later laptop, to a mobile phone and upload using the telephone line. Consequently a photo of 100K would take 20 minutes to upload. And to make this happen I used to regularly drain the car battery flat and hope to hell that the page went up in time. Consequently; upload top of the mountain and... bump start all the way down. 

That’s how Sexyloops began.

Two things made it fly however. One is the incredible generosity of my friends writing the Front Pages. I don’t know how many FP writers we’ve had over the years. 100? 150? More? But what an incredible resource, to have anglers from all over the world contribute - many of whom are absolute experts in their field - who write  a “series” and on a regular weekly basis. 

This is absolutely amazing! Every one of these guys is a hero. Some do a little time, some do a long time. Viking Lars has done 18 years!!! Bernd is on a super-roll. James and Tracy have just surpassed 100 pages. Ronan has been running his blog for over 10 years! 

One thing is for sure, we’ve had series on Sexyloops that have been like nothing else... Mark, Zoran, Sean, Ben.

Every single FP writer has contributed to Sexyloops and I am immensely thankful. 

I hate it when someone on Facebook says they’re blessed. This is the real “being blessed”.

“Yo get down MoFos - I blessed the dude by accident. My bitches love him!”

Reason no.2: The Board. There was a time when discussion boards were the hive of activity of the Internet. I used to spend a lot of my life on The Board. Still do sometimes. But to be honest Facebook demolished that. Now it’s all about “what I had for breakfast” and “what a good shit I had this morning”. 

The very front end of fly casting knowledge and understanding was, and still is, the Sexyloops Board. It’s still read by over 18,000 people a month - which is more than I can say about my FB posts. 

We’ve lost discussion forums - hopefully they’ll come back in vogue some day because this is archivable, searchable information for everyone now and in the future. I have a previous SL board that needs reactivation. It will happen this Wet Season. But please, looking ahead, if you want to interact with me then please do on the Sexyloops Board. This is my real campfire and the guys I share it with are all the absolute best. 

At the end of the day it’s actually down to you guys and girls, our readers - our friends. All we are really doing on the Front Page is sharing our fly fishing worlds with you. The reason we talk to you, like we do, is because you are our friends and fellow anglers. 

You know, when I was a boy, I was brought up to believe that fishing is the equaliser. No class, no race, no sexual prejudice. We are all equal and fishing - in our case fly fishing - is our common denominator. 

Now that I’m an adult, I still believe it to be true and even work to make it more so. Here’s raising my glass to another 20 years of Sexyloops bliss, anarchy and fly fishing! I sincerely hope to meet and fish with you all  

Cheers, Paul

PS tomorrow is another day. Expect some videos. 


YAY!!! 20 years!! Totally fucking amazing!! 

You know when my mate Al Greig (short stint as God) watched “The Instructor” movie for the first time, he said that Sexyloops had ten years in it. But he forgot to take into account that we can be old fuckers too. And I can tell you for a fact that I will be The Old Fucker of Fly Fishing!!! 

“Don’t be like him grandma, he’s totally fucked up!”

I’ll start being an old fucker in another 20 years time. So that’s something to look forward to. Lock up your grandmas.Kiss

PPS. I forgot to mention Eric. You da man!! Come fishing together next year; we’ll wear tin helmets. You can’t be too careful with lightning, Batman!