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Monday: Paul Arden
Tuesday: Harps
Wednesday: Bernd Ziesche
Thursday: Mr T.
Friday: Ray
Saturday: Viking Lars
Sunday: Bruce Richards

Ronan's report


Monday 31st October, 2011

It was 15 years ago when I first joined the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors. We've been through some turbulent times, as many will know, and after a failed attempt at collecting the different UK instructor associations under one umbrella, we went back to being independent under the new banner of the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors.

It was in fact the AAPGAI who inspired me to really learn to flycast. Many years ago when I was asked by New Zealand instructors which association banner they should operate under, I actually approached the AAPGAI first. However it was felt that our ability to administer a truly International program was outside our scope at that point, which didn't and of course doesn't prevent us opening our doors Internationally, and hence we do have Instructors in Denmark, Russia, US, Canada and Bulgaria (and other places as well, I'm sure).

Anyway, for a long time I've been aware that much has changed within AAPGAI over the past five years or so, and have been very keen to attend an AGM/open day, to really get a grip on the results of the changes that have been implemented. As many of you will know, my International involvement with the FFF has inspired me to attempt to make changes within that association, which I think will be for the better, many of of which the AAPGAI have been doing now for a long time.

And what better way to discover those changes than to sit the AAPGAI single-handed (trout and sea-trout) Masters qualification?

My main concern was that the examiners would be out of date. I suppose it's because, apart from one, they don't post regularly on the Board and I made the false assumption that the very real advances in our understanding with respect to tailing loop propagation, rod loading/leverage, function of the haul and so on, would somehow be unknown to them.

How wrong I was! The examiners make it their business to be current, many read the Board and they get together and discuss these outcomes on a regular basis. And that to me right there, tells me that the examiner program they have in place works and attracts the right examiners. To become an examiner for AAPGAI one must undertake a three year training program within the AAPGAI and pass an independent training assessor qualification. Hence Assessors are professional, expert, qualified and very importantly (in my opinion) paid. These are all good things that I fully support. It's my opinion that being an assessor of instructors is top of the instruction tree, carries huge responsibility and should be the long-term goal of every instructor. There is no greater learning in flycasting than assessing.

I passed my Masters and I was very pleased to do so! I planned to pass of course, but I knew from various friends, such as Lee, Steve and Ben, that the Spey Casting requirement within the AAPGAI is very high. What happens, and the reason we join these associations in the first place, is that when a group of like-minded instructors get together they have the ability to revolutionise aspects within casting. I was unprepared for just how far Single Handed Spey (and obviously Double Handed Spey) has progressed. It is out of all proportion to what I had expected and I can honestly say that this weekend, mostly under the guidance of Tony, that I have learned more than at any other instructor meeting I've attended. And not just a little bit more, but my eyes have been opened! This advancement in Spey casting is unbelievable exciting. I would say, for example, that Spey casting within AAPGAI has developed technically to a similar level that we've taken 5-weight distance in the same time period.

On Friday I had the opportunity to observe a couple of Advanced assessments. Let me tell you something about how the AAPGAI works: there is a Provisional qualification which you must take first, then there is an Advanced qualification which you need sit within two years, with a heavy mentoring scheme in place. After this, there is Masters qualification. And finally Trainee Assessor, Assessor and Senior Assessor. It is an extremely professional set-up throughout and the provisional qualification is of sheer brilliance simply because if a candidate fails his Advanced assessment he doesn't get pissed off and feel excluded from the association, possibly to take off and never return, but instead searches for professional development within the membership because he is already a member within the association!

The AAPGAI is now a truly professional body with the goal of having the highest standards of professional excellence. I find it very exciting to be part of this and I really want to see how we can develop in the future, because this structure that has been implemented - and the way it is administered - allows for tremendous advances. AAPGAI Advanced is an extremely high level qualification within the flycasting world and what has impressed me the most is everyone's desire to move flycasting instruction forward and keep right up with the times - as you would rightly expect from your instructor.

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends as well. Great to see Vic, who was one of my assessors 15 years ago!


On Friday evening Mark and I gave a definitions presentation. Mark rode in on a mechanical horse to deliver this, which I think may have surprised a few people. Fortunately our definitions weren't too controversial and the response was good. Phew. I know Mark was nervous, as was I; it's difficult to try to condense 7 years of discussions, with countless circular arguments on the Board, and five broken definitions models, into a one hour chat. Mark's thrust of the presentation was on the difference between qualitative and quantitive approaches to definitions. I was hoping that Mark would give us one of his celebratory dances.

Here are the links to the definitions we produced. This is the introduction and these are the definitions. It has been suggested that instead of using the term Drag for rod translation at the beginning of the Casting Stroke that we consider the term "Draw" or "Pull". I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this on The Board.

On Saturday I took a couple of demo slots. I've suggested that we give a number of standard workshops to all Provisional members joining the AAPGAI, including these two. The first was Bill Gammel's Five Essentials tool. There are several links for this, the first is my alteration entitled The Intended Tip Path - which I ran past Bill prior to publication in the Loop, and the second is Bill's Adjustments on the Fly. Bill also wrote a practical guide to using Sexyloops, which contains a teaching plan.

As well as the Five Essentials construct, I also taught Bruce Richard's Six Steps Method.

The second slot I took up was on the causes and fixes of tailing loops. We don't currently have an up-to-date article on Sexyloops on the latest understanding of the propagation of transverse waves. I have mentioned tailing loops fairly comprehensively in my guide to the FFF CI test (Question 3 and 19) - I think this should be of interest to other instructors if only to see how other associations tackle examinations. Many years ago two now out-of-date pages on tails are tailing loops and tailing loops 2, which while not being the most current advice do have some nice videos and a frame by frame sequence.

The way I now understand it, is the tailing loop is a transverse wave in the fly leg, which travels along the fly leg under tension towards the fly end, while the loop propagates. This can be caused by 1) too narrow a Casting Arc for the rod bend 2) Creep resulting in too narrow a Casting Arc for the rod bend 3) uneven/jerky application of force 4) finishing the haul too soon 5) breaking the 180 degree rule... as well as 6) Slack Line and - possibly - 7) line layout configuration at Loop Straight on the backcast, which Aitor showed me last month in Spain. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 all involve a concave or buckled path of the rod tip during the Casting Stroke. 5 and 7 are independent of tip path.

Long page! Anyway it was an awesome weekend and I look forward to many more. I hope the above links are useful for those who requested them.

I'm off to Malaysia, for ten days. I'm going Snakehead and Jungle Perch fishing with my friends there, as well as examining four CIs with Ling (inventor of the Cunning Ling Curve). Have a great week and I hope to have a successful fishing report next week.

Cheers, Paul


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