Posts Tagged ‘Who Packed Your Parachute?’

It’s Complicated

July 4, 2013

Complicated Head

One of my favourite writers is Bill Bryson, he has that ability to make complex things simple enough for the average person to grasp. Who can have read “A Short History of Nearly Everything” without walking away with a better grasp and greater appreciation of the world and the people who have shaped our understanding of it? It’s a trick to be sure, to be able to do that. To make it as entertaining as Bryson, well that really puts the cherry on the cake but I am finding that making things simple is actually pretty complicated.

So to me fly fishing is actually pretty simple, or as one wag commented in mid international competition, “Come on Tim, just chuck em’ out and pull em’ back”, it certainly isn’t rocket science and I have over the years become more and more enamoured with the idea of trying to make learning the disciplines associated with fly fishing simple for the average bipedal hominid to grasp. But apparently making things simple is a complicated affair.

It is an oddity that in many fields of endeavour one sets off on a path and becomes diverted. Many fly anglers have become more focused on casting, fly tying, photography or whatever than they have with actually catching fish.  For my sins I have become rather obsessed with writing about it all, you may or may not think that is a good thing, I am not entirely sure that I know if it is either.

But much as one lesson in fly casting leads on naturally to the next, one fish leads to bigger fish, more fish, specific fish etc so everything seems to be in natural progression. Things started off with little more than a reasonably regular newsletter, then a website, then a blog and books and then electronic books. In the midst of all this I had to learn to use computers, teach myself to type, learn graphics programs, wriggle my way around international taxation requirements, get (would you believe) an American tax number, and a whole lot more. All supposedly such that I might get what I thought were some fairly simple messages across.

 BooksHeaderThe graphic images have all been updated on the site.

Now I have just updated the website once more, this time incorporating a book shop. But it’s complicated, when I left school nobody had a computer, in fact the hospitals in which I worked didn’t have computers and even had they been available it wouldn’t have done a lot of good, I spent the first year of my working life heading to the laboratory on a bicycle, where was I going to put a desk top computer, even if one had been available?

cheaterOliveThe Fly Images have all been updated.

Later those hospitals had computers, massive things that required reinforcement of the floor if you were anywhere above ground level and housed in an air-conditioned room with “Computer Room” stencilled on the door along with grave warnings that mere mortals should “Keep Out”. Nobody needed to worry, the bloody things terrified most of us and the inner workings of bits and bytes were so far beyond us that we still did most of our calculations with a pencil.

Format_BookFormat_CDFormat_DownloadNew buttons have been created to assist with navigation and book orders

Now I have become overwhelmed by this tidal wave of complexity, in this recent little jaunt, apart from updating graphics and modifying links (I only hope that they are all working), I have even been forced to dip an intrepid and quivering toe into the murky (at least for me) waters of HTML code. I didn’t set out fishing so that I could learn the vagaries of Hypertext Mark Up Language, I just wanted to catch a few fish and perhaps help a few other people do the same. It is, as said, all a bit complicated.

PreviewBookPreview images of the books have been added along with an entirely new Bookshop section.

Anyway, with some good fortune perhaps there won’t be too many complaints and I shan’t receive and overabundance of sniggering emails pointing out broken links and incorrectly rendered graphics.

This whole “Making things simple” thing is becoming too complicated for my rapidly aging synapses. When I started fishing I only owned one rod, I used to phone my fishing buddy Johnny Hallet from a red British Post Office Telephone box about half a mile down the street from my house to make arrangements, it was most useful because you could check the weather on the way down the road.

The phone had a dial not push buttons, never mind touch screens. We fished three methods, Fly, Spinner and worm and catch and release hadn’t even been thought of. Now I can cast my plans on Twitter, Facebook, eMail or Smartphone, I have to choose which rod to take with me, what lines, even which digital camera for that matter, and I can get an hour by hour prediction of the weather before I leave without so much as opening the curtains. Some colleagues will use GPS on their way to the water, some souls, ( of in my opinion questionable ethics),  will use fish finders to try to locate the trout. When did it all become so complicated? It used to be simple, you would go out, sometimes catch some fish and sometimes not, now each escapade takes on the dimensions of a military operation.

Format_DownloadYou can even order and download pdf versions of my books direct from the site if you wish.

Having said all of that, I am rather proud of what has been achieved with the website, you may wish to have a peak at it on the link I think that it is pretty neat to be honest, in essence it is as simple as things get, just an array of zero’s and one’s apparently, but darn it seems flippin’ complicated to me.

Bookshop_WordsBookShopHeadThe “Bookshop” provides links to download books as well as to all the other places they are available including Netbooks, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony and Kobo

The eBook Revolution

December 18, 2010

The eBook Revolution:

Some years back I had my first book published in the traditional print media, “Learn To Fly-Cast in a Weekend” published by Struik, now Random House Struik. This humble little tome has received great reviews from those who have used the exercises within it to improve their fly casting or to learn to fly cast from scratch (the easier option for sure).

It has been very rewarding, perhaps not financially but in other ways to see that book out there and to receive responses from happy anglers from as far afield as America and even Denmark on how the publication assisted them. However (my mother told me you shouldn’t say BUT), there are some problems with this sort of publication, and I have been investigating eBook technology with a view to putting some other thoughts out there. (This eBook thing requires a change of thought process, so I can’t write “down on paper” as I may have previously).

Firstly eBooks can be published by anyone and quickly, that is a double edged sword because perhaps some of the stuff then isn’t of the highest quality, which leads to a negative perception of the genre, but at least we all have a voice and one can sort out the wheat from the chaff over time. I have bought more than one hard copy book that wasn’t worth the cover price so perhaps there isn’t too much change there.

More importantly eBooks provide advantages to both the author and the reading public, the potential audience is world wide almost immediately and there are no stock problems because the book can’t go out of print or be unavailable. There are no eco issues, the book won’t use any paper unless you decide to print it and it won’t be fouling the jet stream with aviation exhaust whilst it is being transported about globe to millions of customers (Yes we live in hope 🙂 ).

Mind you I suppose if my humble books would become so popular as to risk a significant negative effect on the ozone layer and contribute to global warming I am not sure that I would be too disappointed.  I suppose one should be responsible though and if I make it onto the Oprah book club I shall be safe in the knowledge that I have done my bit to protect the planet.

Still the medium offers everyone easy and generally inexpensive access to information, cuts out the “middle man”, provides rewards directly back to the author and allows literally millions the opportunity to gain knowledge or enjoy a good story without any onerous traipsing from book shop to book shop, parking tickets and all of that. (There is potentially some considerable eco benefit in that too, not to mention the lack of stress)

eBooks also allow for the reader to decide and you are not limited to what the large publishing houses or chain store bookshops think you should be allowed to read or put differently, those publications that they think will provide a quick turn over. Most eBooks will also allow you a free preview of at least part of the book, something like paging through a publication in the bookstore, but in the comfort of your own home.

A change of mindset:

There are some quirks to eBooks however which may require a change of mindset, some of the plus factors are that eBooks can be indexed with hyperlinks such that you can flip to the exact page you require instantly, you can link to hyperlinks out there in cyberspace to check out a relevant video, Facebook page, Twitter account or graphic. Many will even allow you to e mail the author directly with the press of a button.

Because they are in effect living documents eBooks can be updated and modified, so that anything from new information, changed contact details or simply typos can be rectified with the touch of a button, meaning that eBooks should in general be more up to date than their hard copy counterparts.

There are however a few things that can at least at first be perceived as negative. eBooks don’t have pages, because the reader can generally change the font, the page size, the colour of the script and more you can’t have traditional pages, that can take a bit of getting used to if you are an inveterate page turner, on the plus side you don’t keep losing your place either 🙂

Then of course one enters the murky world of copyright, eBooks are subject to copyright, as with any intellectual property but they are easy to copy, swap and sent about the place. That means that the author is mostly reliant on the good nature of the reader not to misbehave. Obviously some will but most authors trust that their audience will abide by both the rule and the spirit of the law and pay for downloads that they think worthwhile..

If you have yet to explore the wonders of the  eBook genre maybe you should take a closer look, there are many books available on a wide variety of subjects. Don’t imagine that all the authors out there are failed and rejected people who are determined to do the “vanity publishing” thing come hell or high water. There is some good stuff out there, it is eco friendly, instantly available, you can download much of it in a wide variety of formats from .pdf files to stuff straight onto your Kindle and it will almost always cost you less than a printed version. With Smashwords at least you can’t even lose your book because it will remember that you bought it and you can download it again should something go wrong. There are even many eBooks that are free.


I personally have to date published my eBooks with Smashwords, they have an extensive and growing catalogue of titles from fiction to non fiction, gardening to erotica and you can reach them on

You can reach all of the books published to date under my name at (Tim’s Books)

Three short titles which are completely free:

Who packed your parachute?

A discussion on new ways of tying parachute fly patterns, which last longer are more imitative and quicker to manufacture once you know how. You can download this book directly for FREE from

Available in the following formats: Read on Line,, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF (Sony Reader) and Palm Doc (PDB)

Learn to Fly-Cast in a Weekend excerpts:

Some information on casting, learning to cast and the myth of the casting clock system. Excerpts from the hard copy book available from various outlets, but almost out of print. You can download this for FREE from

Available in the following formats: Read on Line, EPub and PDF

Make your own Fly Fishing Lanyard:

A simple fact sheet on making this most useful of gadgets, and remarkably the most popular publication of mine to date with almost a thousand downloads. You can download this for FREE on

Available in the following formats: Read on line,, EPub, PDF, LRF (Sony Reader), PalmDoc.

The latest:

100 Fly Fishing Tips , Tricks and Techniques (Tackle Rigging and Leader Options) ,$6.99 (check below for a limited offer festive season discount).

A richly illustrated book filled with colourful and informative graphics and over one hundred little tricks that will assist you to fish more effectively, catch more fish and have more fun, without much of the frustration.

Some 21 000 words of all manner of aspects of rigging fly fishing gear from how to put your rod together (and get it apart at the end of the day), to sharpening hooks, tying knots and manufacturing revolving droppers.. You can download this for a discounted price from

Available in the following formats: Read on Line, EPub, PDF,, LRF (Sony Reader), PamDoc

Want a festive season discount?  For the remainder of December you can use the following voucher to receive a 50% discount on this title.  Discount coupon number JV53 V

Just think that you could do all of your Christmas shopping without leaving the house if you have a a family full of lexophiles.

Have a wonderful Festive Season, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all the readers out there..

Paracaddis.. aka Tim Rolston .

Tying Flies and Writing Books

June 28, 2010

Winter and nothing to do but write and tie flies.

New Free E book Published.

The lack of content on this blog of late has been a result of a total lack of fishing, tricky to get motivated or to have something to rant about when you haven’t been on the water. More so when half the world is in the middle of their fishing season and the only result of reading magazines is envy. Not an honorable subject for a blog. If you have seen the latest edition of Fly Life you will understand the envy issue, those fish are so big as to upset the most level headed.

Still I have been trying to follow some of the competition scene; South Africa did well in the World Championships, getting their best placing ever I think, and finishing fifth. Sounds as though they were touch and go for a bronze medal up to the end but if you have ever fished a competition like this you know that it isn’t over until the fat lady sings.

The Commonwealth Championships also saw the SA men’s team take a fifth place and the Aussies get a gold. This is something of an achievement because to my mind in many ways the “out of towners” that is the New Zealanders, the South Africans and the Aussies have more of a disadvantage at the Commonwealths much of the time. They are fishing against teams who virtually regard the venues as home waters and they do a good deal more boat fishing than the Oceana crews do. So a great result for the Aussies. Well done.

Alas the ladies teams of both South Africa and Scotland were lying at the bottom of the log, it seems a great pity but I know that they don’t get a heap of help from the men most of the time and they don’t have quite the experience levels that many of the male teams do. I was particularly interested in the SA ladies team as I had some vested interest and had tried to offer some assistance prior to their departure. The South Africans got the Friendship trophy again, nice but I think that it is about time that we thrashed a few teams and annoyed a few people; the consensus is obviously that we can afford to be friendly because we aren’t a threat. 🙂

Still from my past experience the Commonwealths is really a friendly if at the same time highly competitive championship, and to my mind shows that one can have both without the loss of either. After all fishing is supposed to be fun at least most of the time, wet waders, cold hands and hooks in the ear are enough you don’t need to be unfriendly as well.

New E book published.

I have for a long time enjoyed playing with fishing flies and in particular as a fishing guide trying to both maximize their efficacy whist at the same time minimizing their complexity. As a result of experimentation and lots of thrashing over a hot vice there are some ideas which seem to have stuck and perhaps the most useful is the modernization of the way I tie parachute fly patterns. So recently I added another short e book to my collection at Smashwords on tying parachutes that are more durable, quicker to manufacture and quite possibly more imitative at the same time.

There are still many anglers who don’t particularly like parachute patterns and don’t necessarily understand their advantages. They probably do however understand their disadvantages, they tend to fall to bits the commercial ones are almost always overdressed and some methods of manufacture require specialized tools and different techniques. In my most recently published booklet, which is available to download for free I cover some of these problems and demonstrate an easy and durable means of whipping these flies out by the dozen in short order.

“Who Packed Your Parachute” is a short booklet that can be downloaded in a variety of formats from pdf file to Kindle editions and provides both text and illustrations on how I tie parachutes and hopefully provides some useful information for those who would like to do the same with more efficiency and durability built in.

You can download your own copy from Smashwords by clicking here.

In case you haven’t seen it there is another free e book (well it is really more of a fact sheet than a book but still) on the same site on building your own fly fishing lanyard and you are of course most welcome to download that as well you can get hold of it by clicking the front page image below.

Fact sheet on manufacturing your own lanyard.

I am supposedly going to get on the water next week at a commercial lodge, the fishing isn’t likely to be the best, I far prefer rivers to dams but the rivers are all closed and the dam fishing there is bank based on a relatively small bit of water. Still any port in a storm and it will be a pleasure to unleash a fly line again, no matter the water.

For now the sun is still shining, the river season is getting closer and there is still enough time to tie up some flies for the fishing and guiding season without having to rush things too much. The winter solstice is passed and we should be on the home run to the river season. In reality probably not, the worst of the winter storms generally come in after this point in the calendar and just because the club says that we will be able to fish in September doesn’t mean that the meteorologists will agree, either way it is something to  which to look forward.