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29/03/03 - The Mind

Mohicans are in. Apparently. And I should get one. If I knew what was good for me, which I don't of course. I tried explaining that having a Mohican doesn't just make you trendy, it also says something about your personality, and it's not something I have any particular need or desire to express; I'm a flyfisher. She said: “You could always wear a hat.”

action shot as the crowd prepares to go wildBollocks.

So I'm back in Europe for a bit, sort of discovering London and to be more precise the fact that there are women there. Interesting and exciting women no less, women who think it's trendy to shave the sides of your head. You don't get that in the bush. The most interesting and exciting thing in the bush was Tom, and not once did Tom suggest I get a Mohican. We never even got close to that subject, and we talked about all sorts of things.

Charles Jardine pulls the crowd while his gillie waits at the ready with the netStrange as it may seem, this is not why I came back to London; I returned for a flycasting demo in Germany at Brinkhoff Flyfishing International. Which was worth doing; I knew it would be. For one thing Charles Jardine was there; we flew across together. Although we didn't discuss Mohicans – I didn't know they were “in” then – we did discuss Damned Lies, the series we write for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, and have been doing so for the last thirty-eight years. It had become pretty important that we did this because the casts were getting far-fetched and so we needed to decide upon a new approach. That and it was just nice to see him again – we don't get to spend a lot of time together, and it's nice when we do.

I have a bit of a connection with Germany, having had not one, but two crazy German girlfriends. In fact all my girlfriends have been a bit crazy, I have yet to decide whether that's a reflection on women as a whole, or me. I have a feeling that it's me, but I won't know for sure until I meet someone sensible. Having said this, I like mad people; they are more interesting.

The thing about German girlfriends is that they are control freaks, and although they're crazy, they are straight-down-the-line controlling crazy. It's never a spontaneous what-the-fuck mad act, it's organised. At first I thought that it was me, attracting these dominant German women, but it's not; it's their culture. At the risk of sticking people in a box, they're all like this and they stick themselves in the box.

An intense moment as Charles wills a fish to take his highly imitative orange zonkerI'm really into freedom, you know, doing whatever I want, whenever I want, so long as it doesn't harm anything. I don't think life is all that serious and I don't want it to be; I reckon it's fun and as meaningful or as meaningless as we make it. Sure I see irony everywhere, but that's my take on life and my choice: I like irony. It's all in our head, nothing is real, everything is nothing (have I got problems! – it gets more interesting too: I reckon our beliefs create the illusion) – and I simply don't understand why people choose to live in a closed mind. Even the mind itself is simply another box – explode the mind and you'll be truly free.

Not a lot of Germans understand that bit.

It's always very interesting demonstrating on the Continent because there have been huge influences on casting styles over there, casting styles that are quite different to those taught in the UK and US. They are not wrong – there's nothing wrong in flycasting – but I do something radically different and that always attracts attention.

The Continentals are very much into an oval path of the hand (or finger) and therefore rod tip, often the backcast comes underneath the tip of the rod, and the hand tracks a straight line on the forward delivery, which comes from an elbow extension. I don't do any of that stuff normally, but it's fun trying to step in and improve this style :)

Here I am describing an unusual casting technique - I'm not sure which one, but it meant something at the time. Cleverly caught on camera by Charles Jardine. Well done Charles...Here's something I want to say: I learn from everyone. And I can't understand why some people don't want to learn from me, or God forbid, think they know it all. I don't care where it comes from, I figure everything happens for a reason, and if I'm open with everything I know, I create an environment around me of openness and a desire to learn, that is actually what this site is about, and why IMHO it works. Take the Board for example; we have an environment where some of the world's top flycasters and instructors are giving and sharing knowledge. Isn't this how life is supposed to work?

Personally I don't care if I'm proved wrong in anything, indeed I not only expect it in many things, but I actually hope for it. For this is how we learn. For example there is much written in the flycasting section which I know now is quite incorrect; we are learning new things continually and the flycasting section was last updated only 9 months ago, and I had to do it then because it was radically wrong.

This is of course one of the outstanding attributes of the Internet; it evolves with lightening pace. Another is that it allows International communication in a way never before possible. I feel quite privileged to be a part of this thing. Since Sexyloops was first conceived, my personal flycasting understanding has mushroomed. I've been literally forced to reconsider everything I thought I knew. And I'm a far better caster because of it, and it's a continual process. For me it really is the best thing “out there”. And I don't need a Mohican to prove it either.

A humerous moment as Charles realises that the only suitable fly is the bright orange one, and he just so happens to have one with him, in fact he has a boxfulAnd the other thing I've learned is how to communicate, and for that matter how to write. I still don't consider myself to be a “writer” – although I do sometimes call myself that when I meet women (for some reason best known to themselves, flyfishing just ain't sexy, writing however undoubtedly is, I kind of blow it when I say that I write about flyfishing, because that's always the next question, but still writing about fishing is better than simply fishing and more likely to get you laid) – but I'm not a writer like Sean. Now Sean is a writer, with it's a real and genuine talent. I've had to work bloody hard to pick it up, and I know I don't read anything like as much as I should (I'm way too busy).

But the Board in particular has focused my communication skills and I know it's the same for other members. Frank LoPresti wrote something very similar just before he disappeared for a month of saltwater fishing (won't work). And that's great. Of course when you get it wrong you get shot down in flames, which I guess does go to make the Board a bit intimidating, but WTF, I like that and that's how it is.

Another all-action shot and the crowd goes wildStrangely enough we had a bit of an argument last month with Paul Burgess, as I'm sure most of you followed, and I came under some criticism during the discussion for not pulling the thread, or trying to control it, but instead choosing to “go fishing” for a week, but I simply don't believe in censorship – if grown men can't discuss a topic (and we're talking about flycasting here for Christ sakes) like normal adults and without slinging mud at each other then so be it. I have enough difficulty being responsible for my own actions; I'm sure as hell not going to be responsible for anyone else's.

And like you, I too can read between the lines (sorry, that was a bit of a pun).

I've never had to censor a thread yet – actually that's not entirely true, I pulled one direct sale attempt that I felt competitive and therefore inappropriate; it was a misunderstanding and settled quite amicably – you can't create a board like this, in spite of what people may think, all you can do is create the environment (and it wasn't intentional ;)

Interestingly no one has tried to sell worms there for almost two years.

Coming soon!

Charles tunes into some special AAPGAI powers and senses that all is not as it should be...Now that we've moved the Newsletter to Saturdays (principally to free up my weekends, so I can go out and meet girls who think I need a Mohican) the Sexyloops time fabric has become distorted. Tomorrow – that's Sunday – Sean will be writing a Fishmail. Monday, we hope to have Noel Perkins loop dynamics equations up on site. Tuesday, dunno; maybe something from the Flow. Wednesday: Mike dissects a Heffalump. Thursday Ben ties a Spinks Special involving an undiscovered complicated hackling technique. Friday: something secret and extraordinary.

I hope that you are following the new Pic of the Day series. This is Steve in action – see what I have to work with??? :)))

Have a great weekend!

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting superglue 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 part 17a; the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite important
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
The finished fly: A Lunn's Particular

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