So let's talk about this six-month break from women odyssey I've been embarked upon for the last five and a bit months, why it was such a good idea and why six months is too long. Firstly I'd like to point out that I'm not becoming a monk – I was worried for a while (like for about the last five months) that maybe this was perhaps my destiny ("but I haven't had enough sex yet!"), and although technically it still could be my path, I have now had other, "surface world" thoughts.
Well actually, thank Noa; yesterday with a little more planning and/or good karma the spell would have been broken. Still the fact that it would have happened at all is, I think, a good thing and brings me right back to this world again.
It was nice to see all women as sisters for a while and it has given me a special insight into the meaning of life, but I now think that, as Noa (very nice girl, who is also a psychologist, who found me very interesting and may write a book about me BTW) so correctly points out "it is very important to have sex". And she is a psychologist remember and so she should know.
(I just thought I'd share this with you, since I know some of you have been very worried and have written to me to express your concerns - and thanks BTW :-))
So what I have I been doing?
The image of sound
Last week I had a slightly unusual Pic of the Day, which was unusual in as much as it wasn't an image at all but rather a sound recording of Lake Te Anau. How did this come about you wonder? Well firstly it involved a girl (see I have been busy) and in one of those conversations that I seem to be having lots of recently, where one person says how beautiful nature is (pointing to something), and the other agrees (pointing to something else), she stumped me by telling me how beautiful certain things sounded, and how she was recording her travels with a mini-disc.
And then I realised that I never really listened. Which is such a shame of course and not a little bit worrying since I'll be doing some radio this year. Just as well I was listening to her, right?
BTW I was going to follow up this sound file "open your eyes", with exactly the same sound file but for some subliminal messages at the end: “buy a fishing rod, buy a fishing rod” and I was going to call it "open your mind", which I thought would have been really smart, but I couldn't work out how to transfer the file format back to a Wave file again.
What is AAPGAI?
Following on from the very successful AAPGAI world tour, many people have written to me asking just what it takes to become an AAPGAI, since it is obviously a very interesting and challenging occupation, involving hunts for unknown fish, a talent for casting, teaching, a working DIY knowledge of tackle repairs and life. Basically it's very obviously the dogs bollocks in this sort of thing and sometimes it even picks up chicks (when you're not embarked upon a – currently very difficult - crusade).
Anyway AAPGAI stands for the Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor and is recognised as the highest standard of teaching in the UK. Illustrious names such as Charles Jardine, Oliver Edwards, Gary Coxon, Michael Evans, Donald Downs, Henry Lowe, Vic Knight, me :-) and of course Jim Curry are all members. There are currently about eighty members.
Entry is by examination. In order that you can take this exam you must first have passed the basic STANIC examination – this is arranged through the Salmon and Trout Association (no connection to the Mugwai Association).
There are three disciplines for membership in both AAPGAI and Stanic: Salmon, Trout and Fly Dressing. I am qualified in the Trout discipline and neither of the others.
The AAPGAI examination assesses your ability as a teacher. Two examiners and a "hovering" examiner (to make sure that the assessment is fair) spend an hour assessing your abilities as an instructor.
That's it. One hour to demonstrate to three examiners who are perfectly happy to fail you, that you are every bit good enough. If you fail you have to wait a year to retake the thing so it kind of puts an edge on things.
I don't have the syllabus available, but I shall endeavour to get hold of one and upload it into this site.
Perhaps of more interest is how I feel about it and why I am only qualified in flycasting single handed rods and not in the double handed rod or fly dressing categories. The flytying question is easy; I'm crap with feathers. I think I tie great flies, of course, but that's not the point; I don't. And the other reason is that flytying courses have a tendency to be held in winters, and I don't have sufficient clothes for a winter experience and don't have a backpack big enough to carry them either.
The double-handed rod thing is also easy; I'm crap with that too. I've tried it of course, but they feel about 6 feet too long to me, and besides I don't do Salmon fishing (only ever caught one; an land-locked Atlantic Salmon in the New Zealand of all places) and until I am a very experienced Salmon fisher (and I don't foresee that happening in the near future) I'll wait and do what I know best.
The real question is how do I really feel about it?
Well I like the other members and although I'm definitely not a “club” person, I do feel very lucky to know these guys. Joining the AAPGAI was one of the best things I did for my career – retype, it was the best thing I did for my career. No question. And in my opinion they are the finest group of flycasters I know.
What they make of me is something else altogether of course :-)
Noosa in the Salt
I've recently flown back to Australia for some fishing around the Noosa coastline. Although it's actually the Sunshine Coast, you wouldn't know it. The great fishing starts tomorrow. It's very strange to be back here actually. Due to a number of factors it doesn't feel like home again and to be honest, that is a really good thing for me – and so I'd better make the most of the fishing since I'm not sure I'll be back in these parts again (this is the nice thing about travelling – you learn and move on; I guess that I had to keep coming back here to learn something and I have most definitely learned it now).
I'll let you know what happens (of course). The panel have given me some great advice on where to go if I don't succeed :-)
I am the lucky owner of a new Sexyloops hat. This one however, isn't a Sexyloops hat but a Mugwai one, very kindly donated by the owner of the tree house where I'm staying (what she was doing with a Mugwai hat is anyone's guess). Speaking of Mugwai, I have it upon good authority that there are a few in the estuaries. The pressure is really on now, since some of the site regulars are beginning to doubt their very existence ("Oh Ye of little faith"). I fully expect to have a serious Mugwai encounter this week, and am tying some extra strong leaders and especially big flies.
It is nice to have my old saltwater stuff back again. My saltwater reel was right where I left it in the back of my car. And I have lots of fly tying stuff here too, which is just as well since I don't appear to have any flies that work.
That's it for now, but you can expect regular updates on the Mugwai hunt and putting the Panels advice to the test throughout the week.