Consequently, this knowledge, that we have acquired through flyfishing expertise, creates problems when it comes to swimming. Every time I swim in a lake, or river, or sea, I have the Jaws movie poster in my mind; me swimming above the surface, gliding gracefully through the water (we will come to that bit in a minute), with a huge mouth opening up below me. But I can control it. It’s not easy, but nowadays, I am in charge of my mind. Mostly.
But what about snakehead? I don’t know what would happen if I swam in to a set of parenting snakehead. I have googled this, which hasn’t been comforting, because if you Google snakehead attacking swimmers, you will find this. They do attack/defend their nests. So what is going to happen, not if, but when I swim into a set of snakehead and their babies, a kilometre or two from the boat? I genuinely think it’s 50/50. Those are not great odds by the way. They will either spook, or attack. And that’s a problem. Which has been largely keeping me out the water, at least more often than I would like.
And then, what about snakes (actual snakes that is, not just fish with heads that apparently look like snakes)? I’ve seen King Cobras as just one example, swimming across the lake – four times now. And every time I’ve driven the boat closer to take “interesting photos”, they have aggressively turned on the boat and chased after me! So that’s another problem.
Even centipedes… https://youtu.be/qUTfDL7yX48 Yes they swim on the lake too. And yes that’s another fkin problem. In short, swimming on the lake is not the casual relaxed affair that you might hope.
Ah, but then there is the other side of the coin. I’m preparing for the Malaysian Ironman, which arrives, just around the corner, in October. It’s now the greater of two fears. On the one hand, being attacked by some creature or creatures, and on the other hand, dying on the Ironman swim, or worse, coming out the water last.
And let me tell you, I have always wanted to be an excellent swimmer. Actually, not always – but ever since I’ve been an adult. As a child I hated swimming. But in England, the water is so cold that this is entirely understandable. In the tropics however, being able to swim gracefully across the surface; wow that must be amazing!
So I shot down to Kuala Lumpur last week for a swim stroke coaching session. It doesn’t matter what it is; golf, tennis, swimming, flycasting, there comes a point, where if you want to be any good, you need coaching.
And yes, it was an eye-opener. Seeing myself on video, was not what I expected. I mean I knew that there were problems. I just didn’t expect them to be so radical. And I’m very pleased that they are; because now I know I can make huge progress quite quickly.
I’ve been given three drills to train for the next month. This sounds a lot like what I do when coaching! Fun stuff. I’d like to be about the 120’ flycasting-level equivalent in swimming. That’s my goal here. And if I can get to 110-115’ between now and the next Ironman, then I’ll be over the moon. I have a lot of work to do.
Look out snakehead: here I come!!!
Incidentally it’s very interesting from another perspective too. While the goal is to be an awesome swimmer – and I will be – it’s also very interesting as a coach, to be coached. I have a good coach! Phew!! We will definitely be doing this for more than 4 months I think…
There will come a point when she says: “Paul, I can’t teach you any more; you are too good!”
But that’s going to take a while.
If you are in Malaysia and looking for swim coaching, I can certainly recommend this swimming school: https://www.myswimcoaching.com/
Being able to swim, I find, is very important as a fly fisherman!
We are very busy here. We have a lot or rod sales at the moment and I’m coaching every day this week. Remember if you buy one of our flyrods you get a free coaching session with me (flycasting, not swimming). If you have bought a HT in the past year and you haven’t had your session, because it was winter, do please get in touch. I’d love to meet up and have a cast together.
Everyone have a great week. I’m busy editing another flycasting video with Nick, which will be out Saturday. 110-115’. Getting quite serious!
And I have one space left for another lucky Zoom flycasting student. First come first served! It’s 700USD for 12 sessions with plenty of WhatsApp time in-between.
And now, I have to catch a snakehead before it catches me. “The Revenge of the Killer Snakehead” – that would make for a great movie, in which I hope not to have the starring role.