Paul Arden | Monday, 5 March 2018
The addiction has got me pretty hard at the moment. I’m trying to find that groove where I can fish every day and yet still fit other things in. You know, Sexyloops, emails, casting sport and Triathlon training. Even finding time to watch a movie one night would be a miracle. But I’m way off that happy medium at the moment and just need to FISH. I know some of you will understand; there is this feeling that I share with others - you possibly - that life can go to hell, the world can turn upside down, but so long as I am fly fishing then everything is ok. After all, a fly fisher’s life is measured by how much time he spends fishing.
At the other end of the spectrum is the dreaded “slump” where you feel that you’ve fished too much, you’ve lost your killer edge and are simply treading water. I used to get this annually on Stillwaters about 2/3rds into the season. My solution was to disappear for a month of river trouting and come back refreshed. I honestly can’t remember my last slump. I’m so bloody far from being in a slump at the moment that I can’t even remember how one feels.
There is so much to be done. Gourami and Snakehead to be figured out better. New patterns and ideas to try. Moments to be experienced. Yet again I feel myself to be fully immersed in fly fishing.
Following a recent late-night conversation with Zuie in Tasmania (we could talk forever) where I mentioned that I had ignored “the news” for a significant number of years, as an experiment, I recalled how life was different then - more carefree. After all, “news” is filtered and told in a way to make you form opinions. Opinions that may not necessarily be the ones you’d have if you knew all the facts! I never read the tabloids but even mainstream news is bias and not only by the very nature of reporting.
When the Ukrainian problems were kicking off I started following the “news” again - Reuters online - basically to check up on Lena and make sure she was alright. Since then I’ve found myself sucked in to reading the daily grind. The political soap opera featuring Trump, May, Putin, Erdogan and the rest. Why? Is it going to enhance my life, having my thoughts directed towards forming opinions about events happening somewhere else? I want my thoughts to be here, with me in the jungle, and not away with the fairies.
The Internet connects the world in all sorts of ways. At best it’s an information resource. You can learn about fly casting, fly fishing, car mechanics, you can even learn a different language. However if you’re not selective it becomes an intrusion in the same way that television becomes mindless. Don’t believe me? Take a look around your average cafe, bus stop, even your local pub. The Internet stops you being where you are, and takes you away to another place. Maybe that’s a good thing at the bus stop, but in social events or here in the jungle, I want to truly immerse myself in the real world around me and not the world of facebook and political soap operas.
And if there’s a nuclear war? Well there is not much we can do about that. I’m not saying that I’ll never read the news again - but while I’m living the jungle life I will cut this disturbance out. I want to keep these worlds separated in my mind. The Temenggor Jungle is a place where you and I can escape the mindless political bollocks and exist solely as fly fishermen.
You may have noticed that we are gearing up to sell Tonic Eyewear. The plan is to have a small operation here in Malaysia, where I can sell the odd item of tackle. Of course this also means that we can stock the Sexyloops shop with more gear too.
It’s long been a plan of mine to test different coloured lenses on different fish species and their respective environments. A few years back I purchased a pair of Maui Jim’s that were intended for freshwater fishing. They were unusual in that they had green lenses, different to my usual copper colour and a contrast that I actually found better. Whether this was the particular water I was fishing or my eyes I cannot say. However Tonic BLUE!!! Blue lenses beats green beats neon (light copper) - although we definitely need neon in low light conditions.
Blue? Who would have thought it? The water here is pea green colour and something about the blue lenses makes sighting clearer. I’ll experiment with Red later this week!
Incidentally, Tonic is a huge brand name in Australia. 17 years of leading the field. I’m completely fed up with polycarbonate lenses beginning to self-destruct after only a few months and having to be replaced every 6 months because they’re scratched to buggery. With glass lenses this doesn’t happen - or at least not to the same extent. There are many good reasons to buy Tonic in preference to other brands but I won’t go into them here.
Finally, I’m working on some new prototype fly rods. I hope to have one or two other models available for you soon. But you know me - I’m a bloody perfectionist when t comes to fly rods and I won’t release them until I’m convinced I can’t make them better.
I had an argument on the Board recently, where I suggested that the IFF CCI and MCI casting levels should be harder because many candidates were bringing a 7WT outfit to the exam. Everyone disagreed with me of course so I’m going to make a 7WT Instructor rod that will annihilate the tests and set a new standard.
On the lighter end of the scale (trout fishing), it was fantastic to be fishing the HT4 for two months in Tasmania. The sensitivity of the 4WT line definitely accounts for more fish than otherwise and it’s long since been my go-to river AND stillwater trout fishing rod. If you’ve cast one you’ll know why. In many ways this is our finest fly rod and casts like a chisel into the wind. There are many occasions when it is a serious advantage to fish a fast 4WT on stillwaters when compared to heavier outfits. Every Sexylooper should have one.
In Tassie I was fishing the original and final development prototype blank that I later had rebuilt to full HT specs - because HT4 No4 (my number) is undergoing technical maintenance! This particular rod - the final prototype HT4 - has great karma and caught numerous big fish all over the world. I was delighted when Zuie purchased the rod at the end of my trip and I look forward to hearing about its future adventures from its new owner.
For the next two weeks I’m fishing with Piffen. Piffen is a Sexyloops Board member from Sweden, an old punk, a drummer and a fly fisher. We have a lot in common (although I’m not a drummer) and I’m looking forward to meeting him. I REALLY want Piffen to catch some fish. As you will know by now, this is the hardest sight-fishing on the planet, Piffen is new to fly fishing (although has been practising his casting all winter) and I have a great feeling that he’s going to nail it.
My regular companions had better get themselves organised because NOW is the time to be here! Toman are nursing their young and the Cicada are shagging Cicada.
PS twisted leaders for Toman - I’m a convert. FP next week.