The end of an era:, the beginning of the Hot Tortuga

The end of an era:, the beginning of the Hot Tortuga

Paul Arden | Tuesday, 20 February 2024

As many of you will know my Sexyloops master craftsman rod builder has been Lee; a bearded pirate, living in Hastings. It was never a full-time job for Lee, and he actually has a full time job! A few days ago he informed me that he just doesn’t have the time to build anymore and I fully understand this. Life is partly about what we do for a living — but it’s also very much about how we live when we are not working. We all need free time. I certainly appear to have this work/life/fishing balance thing… well anyway…

It’s been wonderful working with Lee for the past… ten years? It’s been a very long time certainly. Lee is a really outstanding chap and great friend. When Brexit reared its ugly and stupid head, it created a real problem for us. Blanks manufactured in Spain, rods assembled in UK and 40% of Sexyloops sales in EU. A nightmare scenario in anyone’s world.

That was a very difficult time back then, it didn’t make a lot of sense to carry on this way, but Lee is such a good friend, and a great rod builder, who has really put his heart and soul into Sexyloops, and so we cobbled together and soldiered on. And we lost about 35% of our sales!! We managed to continue selling some rods into the EU by sticking them down trouser legs, like in “The Great Escape” movie. People coming through customs must have looked like they had wooden legs… or had shat themselves!

Anyway, we all should do things in life that make sense for us. Working every hour of every day doesn’t! I was hoping at some point to offer Lee a full time job, but it’s a very difficult jump from part time to full time and we are somewhere in that middle ground, where we can’t get enough rods out quickly enough, and if we were getting rods out quicker, we would be selling even more rods, but still not enough yet to be full time.

Last year, I mentioned that by the end of the year, that I would like to have two manufacturing bases. One in England and the other in the EU. What a headache that is!! Twice the work, twice the stock holding, twice the expense… and components everywhere!! We have a rod builder in Spain lined up for this, who has built a number of Sexyloops rods for us… Juan. Juan is a full time professional rod builder and the rods he built for us have been immaculate.

So what we are going to do is this; Lee will complete our current orders. He has seven builds on the go. And then we will shift rod building over to Spain.

The advantages are: Juan is full time and can build 20 rods/week, or 1000/year. Even at our busiest I don’t recall ever selling more than 15 rods/week! This means… drum roll… we will finally be able to hold stock. Which also means, in a few months from now, you will be able to order a standard build Hot Tortuga, and it will be shipped the very same day. For those of you who are used to waiting 2-3 months for a Sexyloops HT, this will come as an incredible surprise. As it does to me.

Secondly, because Spanish post is arguably the very worst postal service in the world, every rod will be shipped to you via courier. Yes: tracking that actually works… unlike the Royal Mail.

And finally, for those of you in the EU, this is all very excellent news, because there won’t be any silly customs charges, or damp rod tubes, to deal with.

It’s going to take a few weeks to get fully organised.  I may fly over to Europe to speed things up.

Thank you Lee, for the many wonderful Hot Torpedos that you have built, that give so much pleasure to so many. I still owe you a trip out here, dude. We have to make this happen!! Best of luck with your next escapade and I look forward to catching up real soon!!! Let’s set the world alight! It’s been a privilege mate. And when you retire, and fancy custom rod building, then bring it on!!!

Cheers, Paul