Time of our lives

Time of our lives

Paul Arden | Monday, 21 December 2020

It’s funny, for as long as I can remember, there have been people who have told me that I should do this, do that, stop travelling, get a real job, take life more seriously, grow my hair, cut my hair, find God, eat meat, don’t eat meat, get married, live in a house, fish less, fish more, stop, go, turnaround, stand on my head, run on the spot, wash my socks, get lost. And I’ve never listened to any of it!

I think this “telling others how to behave” is deeply psychological, and let’s face it, the underlying assumption is that they’ve got life sorted and we should all be just like them. Boring!!!

Something rather unexpected started occurring recently when I noticed that these same people were starting to say stuff to me like “I wish I had done what you did!” Now instead of me saying, “I think you are a buffoon” I say stuff like, “oh you probably wouldn’t have liked it” or “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be” or even “well I’m sure if your kids don’t love you now, that they will some day”. Helpful feel-good stuff like that.

There is a lesson in there somewhere for you youngsters... do your own thing; lead your own path! You don’t have to steer the same course as everyone else, running along the same life treadmill. We all end up in the same place and it’s living the life you want that should matter to you and generally the only person worth listening to in this regards is yourself!


I figure that if the stars align then I’m about half way through life now, maybe more, but certainly I would hope no more than midway through my fly fishing life – I plan to avoiding lightning strikes, meteors, charging elephants and other untimely demises and am constantly on the look out for these. I’ve cleared somewhere in the region of 10,000 days of flyfishing. My life “goal” is 20,000 and then some. Why, you may well ask? I have absolutely no idea. Why do anything?

The point of this long-winded, yet highly-articulate introduction, is to say quite simply, that hitting the 50 milestone has made me extremely grateful that I’ve lived the life I have – and now that I’ve done this, I  intend to do exactly the same thing for the next 50 years but with even more passion and dedication!

Once you hit 50 you stop having to even consider about putting up with other people’s shit. And, nowadays, even more surprisingly perhaps, I don’t feel the need to give other people shit about what they do either! A friend of mine was fond of saying “do whatever makes you happy”. And he wasn’t a complete arse either!

The one thing – and it’s the only actual piece of non-flyfishing advice that I will ever give  – is that you must keep your health. It’s relatively easy to be a fit bastard when you are 20. But to be fit in your 40s, 50s and beyond takes some serious dedication. And just like to be a good fly caster you must enjoy fly casting practise – hint – to be fit when you are 50 means that you must enjoy busting your guts in the very physical sense, while making it one of your passions in life.

Last year I set myself the exciting 50 year challenge to complete 5 long distance triathlons in respectable times, and not the usual annual one that I’ve been half-heartedly participating in these past few years.

Whether COVID allows that this coming year, or if it will be the one after we shall see, but I’m very focused – Ironman tends to do that to you! I’ve been working hard on putting my running back together just recently, which isn’t all that easy when living on a boat, but I’m running a couple of times a week, whenever I visit the town for supplies. I would like to be running a lot more of course but if you run in the jungle it’s not the lightning strikes that will get you; it's the crouching tigers! Consequently most of my current training is on the indoor bike.

So yeah, you friends who are starting to accelerate into your 50s, start to think about your health! Otherwise I’m going to outlive you. And then just imagine the stories I’ll be able to tell about you once you’ve gone!


It was Lars’ birthday yesterday (it’s easy to remember Lars’ birthday because it’s always exactly one day after mine!). Lars bought the HT763 (no.666) a few weeks ago and we fitted a rather special spacer to the reel fittings for him...

As some of you will know, I own a small piece of land in Hungary, at a place called Latohegy (“seeing mountain” is a rough translation). It has incredible views over the River Drava National Park and Croatia. It’s the sort of place where you can sit all day on the terrace doing nothing and feel that you’ve had a productive day.

Many years ago the “Duke” of Latohegy, who was a gambler, womaniser and (I like to think) a fly fisherman, lost some of his land in a card game. To signify the division he imported Osage Orange trees from France and planted them all along the borderline.

Well as life goes, it turns out that most of the remaining trees are on my land. A few years back we had a pruning session. The wood is exceptionally hard and also quite beautiful. Lars’ 706 “666” has a spacer made of Latohegy Orange. It might be something we offer in the future. We will have to see if it falls apart on Lars first.

Talking of Latohegy, it was originally my intention to own six “Latohegy” type properties around the world, spending a couple of months of the year in each. This I thought would be an idyllic life. Having got one however, I realised that this was a crazy idea and I would spend all of my life performing building maintenance and bloody gardening! Recently I have been revisiting the idea, and I think that if I can somehow turn them all into small businesses this could still work. Home-stays / fly fishing schools / vineyards.... that sort of thing. Brilliant!

Well anyway we shall have to see. Right now I’m just keeping my head above water with the consequences of a world trying to contain this bloody virus. But at some point we will be through this mountain. Currently it’s head down, fish on and keep developing the Hot Torpedo rods. I have to say though; I’m loving life more and more. I hope it’s the same for you too. We are very lucky to be here.

Cheers, Paul

PS have a MF Christmas!