Continually Learning

Continually Learning

Paul Arden | Sunday, 2 July 2023

James and Tracy are at the Scottish Game Fair with the BFCC and apparently they are in an Internet black hole. So I’m back!!

Yesterday was my long in-boat bike ride. Once a week I have a long Zone 2 endurance indoor bike ride. Yesterday was a relatively “short” 4 1/4 hrs. The bike fit has certainly made things less painful, but four hours on an indoor bike, in what, for all purposes, is a floating sauna, is always draining. I couldn’t imagine running a marathon afterwards. In fact I don’t think I can imagine riding 180km on an indoor bike.

But I must be getting fitter because back in January when I first started this long Saturday night ride, I was completely wiped out the next day. And would never in a million years think about getting up early for a flycasting Zoom lesson!

Today was Michael. I’ve known Michael now for quite some years. He first came over to fish, camp and improve his casting in 2018. He was here the Year of the Big Storm, when one of my boats was sunk in a nighttime tropical storm. In fact he was in a hammock, possibly sleeping, while the rest of the world was fast coming to an end.

And surprisingly enough, despite this experience, Michael planned to come back to fish with me again, but a month prior to his second trip, the world very nearly did come to an end for the second time, when it went into lockdown. Remember that?

Back then lockdown was never-ending. And the moment one ended, another started up again. And it looked like we would never be free to fish together again. During the lockdown years, my family back in the UK were having friends and family lockdown quizzes. Where we would meet weekly and talk more frequently than we normally do. I set a few quizzes that any angler would have got right. Unfortunately none of them fish. 

Inspired by this, as well as Tim Kempton’s lockdown friends and fish meets, where I was invited to online meet and chat with his fishing club mates, it crossed my mind that maybe I could utilise Zoom to teach flycasting. But I had no idea if that would work, and so I suggested to Michael that we give it a go and see what happened.

Fast forward three years and Zoom coaching has become a serious business for me. I wouldn’t call it full time, because if you think I’m working full time then you really don’t know me. But it works out about 40hrs/month of actual Zoom lesson time, which is not to be sneezed at. And it’s certainly a lot more consistent than guiding.

So obviously in this time Michael has become a very good caster. We meet about once a month nowadays. These are amongst my favourite coaching sessions by the way. After the initial foray of 12 lessons over six months, which is obviously going to have a profound effect on anyone’s casting, just meeting every month or so, means that we can have continual improvement. And it becomes extremely interesting for me too because it’s not the standard stuff that comes up.

So Michael has become very good. What I was thinking about today, is that you know when someone has become good, because when you offer a cue, it gets absorbed, and then if you offer another cue, that gets absorbed too, without compromising the first one. In other words you can layer cues. So there is a sort of casting robustness about your student at this point.

The other interesting thing I was thinking about today, in my morning haze, was that I’ve developed as a coach too. Online coaching via video conferencing is different compared to standing knee deep in the same water. You need other solutions. And what I have certainly developed is an additional range of cues, drills and exercises over the last three and a bit years.

And that is the thing isn’t it? That’s really what it’s about. Becoming a better caster, becoming a better coach. Just think, in another 50 years I might be quite good at this :)))

Ok I’m going to have a swim, then I’m going fishing, and then it’s an early night because I’m on at 7am again tomorrow.


Incidentally you know when your truck is getting noticed when friends send you photos of it :)))

November/December is looking busy for Snakehead guiding. This is a prime time. So if you are interested then please get in touch. And right now Sungai Tiang is open. I really want to see anglers up there fishing with the Orang Asli. It is a wonderful experience.


Have a great day!

Cheers, Paul