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21/07/03 - The road

You know people can be very strange. When I'm flycasting some will say, “you should go fishing more Paul, all you ever do is cast.” It's the same when I'm working hard on Sexyloops, they'll say, “get out there and do some fishing, all you ever do is work, how can you write about fishing when you never do it?” And then when I am actually fishing, they call me a playboy and say I should be working harder and doing serious things with my life.

I suppose it doesn't matter what you do, there are people who'll always criticise, because that's what they do and I've noticed how it's always the same people. Anyway I'm fishing at the moment, and loving every minute. I feel like I've just spent three months casting and working, which was great too, but it's time to go fishing again.

Why I started

Sexyloops is a fantastic thing to operate, and yeah I kind of enjoy writing and developing ideas, and the teaching and casting can be fun too, but the only reason I got into this whole thing in the first place was so I could continue fishing and travelling, and get better at it, and not bother about anything else.

And it's not that much different to what everyone else does. Most people work so that they can find the money to do the things they want. I just don't have all the compromises, the relationships, or the mortgage. Everything I own right now is sitting in the boot of a car and I'm back on the road. Fishing.

In fact reading this there is one other difference; I took up flyfishing as a “career” not so that I could make money, but so that I could improve. In particular I wanted to learn how to cast.

Anyway, I'm completely absorbed in my fishing again; getting away from the UK has been good for me, and I don't think I'll base myself in one place for the foreseeable future. So that's it; I am where I want to be which is exactly where I was ten years ago.

How it happened

It's really quite cool when you stop to think about it, the way things happen. It's been over ten years since I started travelling; I flew to New Zealand for a season and decided there and then that I wanted to make that same trip every winter until I was thirty (I thought I could only travel until I was thirty before packing it all in). I'm thirty-two now, yeah I know, but I've realised that I'm no longer looking for something and that travelling isn't some transient phase in my life but pretty much what I actually do.

It was while working on a fishery that I first got it into my head that it didn't really matter where I slept or what I did – just so long as I could go fishing. And the older I get the easier it becomes, not the harder. I've no idea why people think you need more the older you get; truth is you need less. Mind you I'm kinda pushing the travelling thing where the less you have the less you carry.

Huge readership

But there is one major difference between what I was doing ten years ago and now, and it is this thing you're reading. 35 - 40,000 monthly uniques (at last count), makes Sexyloops the most read flyfishing site in Europe. And although I'm trying to do stuff with it, such as advance the quest for excellence, bring people together and a million and one other things, as well as just generally doing something worthwhile, it's still only really a collection of ideas.

I've had to step out a little to get a feel for the bigger picture. It's pretty clear now, and there's a real change in the air, which I find exciting. And I think this change means that I can deliver from the road again, which is what I'm doing anyway.

Life's a Grasshopper

Last week I fished Erich Brinkhoff's stretch of the Moenefluss here in Germany, not every day, but enough to get a real feel for the river. I've had excellent grasshopper fishing, and upon discovering that I'd none of the right materials, in one thrilling spending spree I restocked my complete flytying kit – so you'll be seeing more of my unique flies shortly.

I also managed to get lost in a forest for over four hours while running. This is not the first time for me getting lost on a run; I've got a distorted sense of direction. I remember Camo-Guy telling me that when he first emigrated to NZ he managed to get lost all the time and that this was because NZ was underneath the rest of the world and that this somehow explained it. Camo-Guy has lots of these explanations.

This week I'll be making the trip up to see Mike Connor. We're going to head off to Denmark for some saltwater fly together. I'm looking forward to fishing with Mike. Mike's been writing for me for the last nine months and we've yet to meet.

I wonder if Mike likes Chilli-Beans?


Okay, okay, it's a bit short and it's pretty straight, but that's what Germany does to you. Another week here and I'd be wearing a tie and pretending to be serious.

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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