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Newsletter 05/08/02 - Distance is only a haul away

I saw my bank manager on Friday and for the first time in over three years he seemed genuinely happy; apparently my credit rating is one, which is as good as it gets. Obviously there has been some terrible mistake. Spluttering and spilling coffee everywhere I said: “How can my credit rating be one? I'm a reckless happy-go-lucky flyfishing dude who doesn't give a damn about money… you stick that rating straight back up to eight where it belongs and don't give me any of that 'credit-worthy' bollocks”

The following day Jon Allen who is one of the UK distance casters came around so that we could see just how far we could sling a line.

You know how sometimes you see a thing and you immediately know that you've just got to have it? And as soon as possible, if not yesterday then right now, and be quick about it. It was like that when Six-pound Sean showed me his digital camera last year (the one that now lives in my sunglasses pouch); “Gotta have one of those Sean, right now, it takes MPEGS, great photos, I want it yesterday”

It's futile to try telling me that if I wait a little longer, they'll be on sale, or maybe the next model will be even better (which is almost always true of course; the glaring exception to this rule being the Pyramids – and curiously, some of the latest in flyrod designs). And funnily enough I'm always right; I could have done with it yesterday.

And it was like that when Jon Allen came around on Saturday with his tape measure, some shooting heads and a video camera with a high-speed sports function. “Gotta have one of those; it measures distances, it's got feet on one side, metres on the other, I want it yesterday”

Try telling me that size doesn't matter, that the Sami measure distances in kettles of coffee (“How far is that mountain, Johan?” - “Three kettles of coffee”), that if your legs are longer the whole system becomes irrelevant (until you bump your head or drink instant coffee) and I'd agree with you but I wouldn't change a bit.

It was like that in Lapland. Vegard told me that a friend of his arrived 5 hours late when picking up some people from the airport (Vegard was only two hours late when picking me up incidentally) only to find them very unhappy: “We're in a hurry, we've only got a few days here and you've kept us waiting for 5 hours!” To which the reply came, “If you were in such a hurry then why didn't you arrive yesterday?”

So I climbed on top of a wall and started casting away while Jon shot some video footage. We got some fantastic shots of the rod flexing, unflexing, the double haul in action and the forming of the loop. I have learned things that I didn't know existed and had other things confirmed to me that I had only recently suspected. My task tomorrow is to buy one of these little moving picture machines for myself so that I can create some really fantastic casting MPEGS for the site. These really will blow you away - and my credit rating.

Anyway this is all to say that over the coming week you'll see more activity in the Dirty Harry series and you should be excited about it; I am :-). Pete Sutton AAPGAI is coming around on Thursday for some sexyloops casting stuff (and we might try catching a pike or two). He's excited about it too; says that it will make his day.

Which is a strange concept for me, since I don't really have one - not while I'm here in Essex at any rate. I work 9-5 (that's 9pm – 5am) on Sexyloops. The last time I was here, I was doing a lot more hours than this and in the end I decided that it was all too much. I figure that if I can't get a front page out in eight hours, some half decent content and finish my emails, then I may as well give it all up and go and live in a wigwam with Vegard. It's a simple life, if rather smoky (I'm still sleeping with my reindeer skin by the way).

And it would give me something to write about.

This week the focus has been on getting the site turning out high quality content on a daily basis – sure we've been doing that for about six months but we want it to be smooth. We now have two writers working for us weekly. There's Six-pound Sean on Sunday (fishmail) and there is Ben Spinks on Thursday (flytying).

Fishmail has now been going for three months! Incredible, what happened - did I miss much? In eight weeks I'll be leaving the UK for the Southern Hemisphere; life is such a whirlwind that I don't even get a chance to work out where I am or where I've been. And before I go I have to see a chick in Hamburg, drive North to see some dudes in Scotland, drive West to go bass fishing and I'm hoping to make the Flyfair in Holland. That's it; I'm going to pack it all in, buy a gas mask and lead the simple wigwam life.

While putting the site together this week I've been a bit reflective thinking about how it's transformed in the last 18 months, 12 months, 6 months, week, day. It's now a full time job for me (has been for a long time actually). Steve puts in an enormous amount of hours and Sexyloops is as much his as it is mine. Curiously, we have never met. That surprises some people; “Well he lives in France, down near Switzerland; it's a long way to go.”

But I know that when we do meet we'll get on; he's coming over in September. I suppose that it is pretty wild, that two people have been working together for two years together in bringing you this Sexyloops thing and they have never met. Still at least I'll get to check out his casting when we do.

So talking of casting, back to Saturday and Jon Allen. Jon arrived with his 100 yard measuring tape. “Only 100 yards Jon?”
“That's for the backcast”

Jon's a distance caster who measures distances in Vats of coffee, instead of your everyday common place Sami Kettle (“How far is that mountain, Jon?” - “Five double-hauls”). We laid the inch-tape out along the ground. It started raining; this is England. I am not going to bore you with the intricate details only that we didn't get the distances we expected. True there was a heavy feel about the air and we both commented upon it; “There's a heavy feel about the air, Jon”
“Yes Paul, the air feels very heavy”
“Do you think that this is why we're not reaching the end of the tape?”

There was even some lightening which stopped play on a number of occasions. Basically it was very atmospheric and even slightly dangerous. At one point I climbed a wall (by way of rocking chair – like who needs a ladder?) and stood on top casting for all I was worth.

Perhaps I should mention why. You see I wanted to get a movie of the rod tip and the haul timing and this seemed like the perfect angle to get them both in, and so basically it was a damn smart idea of mine. However, while up there I noticed that one of the neighbours was watching from over the hedge. Of course they wouldn't be able to see Jon filming (he was conveniently behind the wall out of sight); all they would see was me standing on the top doing some crazy flycasting stuff. I smiled and gave them a little wave. Strange people, my neighbours.

We also did some other stuff and came to the conclusion that putting everything into it, to give you that extra yard, only knackers you out (we were scientific about it). It's all about technique baby.

Well that's it; one of the shortest newsletters for a while, but nothing much else happened: sure I'm running again and I've even had a shave (people were starting to hide). Next weeks will be longer; for one thing I'll be fishing Grafham this week.

Finally, in the never-ending task that is sorting out my hard-drive, a task only surpassed in its magnitude and complexity by the never-ending task of sorting out my head, I have discovered this gem of an MPEG shot in Spain last month…

Have a great week!

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