Paul Arden | Monday, 24 July 2017

I don't know if other pursuits have the same sort of all-encompassing meaning of life. I know for some life is about the pursuit of money, and while it's handy or essential even to have some, having more than you need seems to me like a waste of precious time that could be better spent fishing, instead of working. In fact when I have any amount of money in the bank I think to myself, "Paul, slow down man, you're working too hard!" Not that this happens too often you understand, and that's because I have this work ethic distraction well under control.

And it might well be that other "pastimes" have the same draw. Maybe tiddly-wink players become truly obsessed and dream of winking tiddlies all night long. Mountain climbers - yes maybe, but I doubt they do it every day and never peak, always becoming ever-better mountain climbers. Anyway if there are other meanings of life, then that's cool too. Saying that the meaning of life is just to go fly fishing, of even fishing, is seriously narrowing down the options and I've long believed that the meaning of life is whatever you decide it to be, which for many of us here is fly fishing. For me this means I have to fish as much as possible, every day not being too much.

I get much more out of fly fishing than the act of fishing and believe it really comes down to both learning and perfecting the art. I'm a fucking long way from perfecting it by the way! If you include evening rises and days guiding, which I do, then I've fished around 10,000 days on the water and I think a great life would be 20,000 plus days spent fishing. It's not exactly Florence Nightingale material - I'm not making the world a better place, but I do take heart that we're not making it any worse either!

My good friend and long term fishing mate, Stuntman Ronan, is mid-way through his first two-week trip fishing here in the Malaysian jungle. This past week I've really tried hard to show him the different Snakehead shots, tighten up his (already very fast, although sometimes erratic) casting, as well as put him on a few Gourami. Ronan has landed one fish, a 3.5KG Toman (Giant Snakehead) and as you'll see in the movie that we are making, he is having a great time, despite having had to lower his expectations! It really is a very challenging fishery - the most challenging I know. I call it at a one fish per day fishery (Snakehead of Giant Gourami) and while it's possible to do more, you can't always guarantee one fish, and if you're not on fire you won't catch any!

This week, starting today, we'll fish in separate boats which means that I can now fish too. I haven't been able to swing a fly in anger too much recently and I'm biting at the bit. I had one free-rising shot last week, while we were fishing for Gourami (Ronan on strike with the Gourami rod and me at the back with the Snakehead rod) and I caught that one, but a full-on day's fishing, let alone a full 5 or 6 days of fishing full-on is something that's been eluding me recently. So you'll have to forgive me if you don't hear too much from me this week; I'm doing what I enjoy the most. I hope you are too and have a great fishing week!