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Initial casts
Knowledge 1
Knowledge 2
Knowledge 3
Knowledge 4
Knowledge 5
Penny drops
Will Nick pass?
The roll cast
Thank you!
The build up
The exam!

The Experience

Nick lands a brown trout
Nick and a pike
Nick saltwater flyfishing
Nick is in!
Nick... again
Saltwater surf action
Nick checks his backcast

APGAI stands for Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor and is the top UK flycasting instructor's qualification. You are assessed in your abilty as a professional game angling instructor in a one hour on-the-water examination.

I've been going on about how great an organisation the AAPGAI is and how all the members are such fantastic dudes (although by and large a bit of a disreputable bunch) when Nick Hart writes to me that he's taking his AAPGAI examination in April and could I help.

So we are going to teach Nick and try and get him up to AAPGAI standards, at first via email and later in person. In order to make this exciting (like Nick doesn't have enough on his mind already) we are going to put these communications on the Web.

A hop, a skip and an enormous jump from the beginnings of the Experience, it is an extension of the Experience (we'll have to fill in the gaps later of course - and we will :-) ). Nick may not be as good looking as Karen or Steve, but we won't hold that against him.

Nick is a STANIC (Salmon and Trout Association National Instructor's Certificate) qualified instructor and he teaches in the West Country. He's a very nice caster BTW.

Nick writes

Hi Paul,

Hope you are doing well.

You had to bloody do it, didn't you. Going on about how great AAPGAI are so great and what it's done for your career, (career!? bumming about abroad?) and so what did I go and do?

Well I rang up Michael Evans who came on the phone, and in a shaky voice I asked for the AAPGAI prospectus, which he said was absolutely fine, except that it was a syllabus, and not a prospectus. So now he thinks we are all thick from Exmoor (which is partly true of course) and no doubt I have been failed already for such a poor general knowledge of the English language.

Anyway, I went on to give him my address so he could send out a "syllabus", during which I hurried him a little on the address and got asked to slow down. So, not only does he now think I am thick but impatient too, so I am sure I have failed now. Having said that I did use that funny Tango, Alfa, Romeo job to spell out my postcode which I think he found incredible from an illiterate Exmoor Yokel, so maybe I am still in with a slight chance!

Then in an even bigger fit of AAPGAI wonderment I wrote a cheque, ran across the road and posted my application. So, no going back from here!

Practice/Coaching advice? I realise I should be out every waking hour with a rod, but that just won't be possible due to work load. I am out in Africa from 23rd March for 2 weeks, one of which will involve a week of chucking large colourful flies at even larger and very toothy fish, not exactly the best way to be sweetening up your loops.

Do you have any advice as you are the only AAPGAI I know (and trust) plus you don't wear knee high breaks and talk with a plum in your mouth, which I find very reassuring. Should I be have a few sessions with APGAI instructors or am I up to the exam already. Tell me honestly Paul (and I know you will) as I want to be prepared and able enough to pass this qualification.

Hope to hear from you, all the best,

The Plan

So a cunning plan is devised. It is decided that

(a) Nick should get a couple of lessons from Michael Evans - Michael is an extremely good instructor, secretary of the AAPGAI, an international flyfishing star and often one of the examiners :-) And so money worth spent we feel.

(b) Nick should get a couple of lessons from me (paid for in curry and beer) - we've done this before and although I'm slightly more laid-back than Michael it should be an experience :-)

(c) we should start a train of email communication in the build up to his examination on April 19th. Sounds like fun actually :-)

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