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Take the Shipman's

I've been thinking about it for a while and I've decided to give up giving formal, paid lessons for a while. I'm not doing very many at the moment anyhow, not while travelling, but the ones that I do seem to completely disrupt my life. Some people try to tell you that they don't enjoy fishing every day, and that they would find it boring – and these are anglers talking, but personally I love it. I miss the odd day here and there, through shows, travelling and lessons. And that sucks.

I don't really have any plans to be back in the UK either. Sure I'll probably go back for a few weeks next summer, possibly around the Gamefair, and if I do I'll make a trip to Spain, but nothing more serious than that. Anyway I have a dislike of work of any kind – it's a spiritual thing.

If I run out of money again, then I'll probably get back into giving formal lessons, but so long as I can make a go of it here on the Internet, and I think I can, then I'll just cast and fish with people. Of course I'll still teach, but only when I want.

It's been an interesting week, what with the server problems and that discussion over on SOL and then our discussion over here on Sexyloops. I think it should be pretty damn clear to everyone that proper instruction is of huge benefit.

Let's talk about it, now that I'm clearing out to go fishing – and believe me, I need to do this; I've had a wake up calls now on both the Gunnison and the Madison.

First I want to talk about the FFF-Europe. My leaving the FFF-E had nothing to do with the quality of instructors you find there. I left the FFF-E because they weren't interested in listening to me, which is fine of course, but if a group chooses not to listen to me then I don't feel a part of that group. And yes, I had a big problem when they failed me the first time around when I didn't pass their casting requirements. If they were better casters than I, then I wouldn't have had a problem with that either. Don't get me wrong: they are all fabulous casters and truly Master instructors in every sense, I just think their exam's too tough – Gunther has said several times that none from the US would pass their exam. Then where's the sense in that? Are there no Master instructors in the US?

I said their exam was too hard both before and after passing the second time around. I said it shouldn't be public, that makes no sense. I said you haven't even taken your exam, not under exam conditions, and only one of you guys will cast with me. They said we like our exam, wear shoes and trousers from now on whenever you demonstrate and any more suggestions put through your country's representative, Charles Jardine. So I left.

Hang on, I'm not putting this very well. Whatever problems I have had with their organisation and their outlook on the casting world, there is absolutely no question in my mind that everyone would benefit from a lesson with any one of these guys. Including me.

Salmon and Trout Association. Who knows, maybe I'm not nailing fish here because of problems in my past life, but just in case I'd better sort this one out.

So I left the STA and returned their Salmon and Trout Association National Instructor's Certificate. Now this is more complicated. You see I don't believe in the STANIC. I don't think it was set up for the right reasons and I see it as a political power move on the part of the STA. There was already an instructor's qualification and it was and still is a great one (notice that I didn't say good; I said great). The STA wanted – and still wants – to control instruction in the UK. The STA are a non-profit making pressure group, interested primarily protecting salmon, but also trout fishing, who quite obviously know nada when it comes to professional flycasting instruction.

I also find it to be quite clicky, which I always have a problem with, however there is no question that the group does good things in other areas. Just not instruction. I have no idea how many STANIC instructors there are, we are talking hundreds.

I'm sorry to say this, but some of them aren't good enough, not to charge money anyway. Some of them are of course, and some are excellent, and every bit as good as AAPGAI, which is where they should be of course. I know a few who have had problems with the AAPGAI in the past; whatever they were the AAPGAI has now changed.

And now the STA, unhappy with their STANIC scheme has invented a new one, with the vision of creating hundreds more instructors beneath AAPGAI level. In order to try to control this, the AAPGAI have managed to become the examiners, at one expense – in order to become AAPGAI you have to go through the scheme.

So that's why I'm not a member of the Salmon and Trout Association.

If you've read this site – or seen the DVD – you'll know the AAPGAI. AAPGAI is the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors. We changed our name from the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors before the STA could invent an advanced qualification of their own. AAPGAI is now our qualification.

After all the changes we've been through and the jumping through hoops that the STA have put us through, I am still completely behind the AAPGAI. I've never been told to wear shoes – although they do call me “Swampy” – I'm on the examination committee, for better or worse, and we all cast together.

So if you're in the UK then call an APGAI instructor.

The CNL.

Some of my best friends are in Spain. One of the best instructors on the planet is Carlos. He's also in the top three presentation casters I've yet to meet. His games are amazing. Carlos has done to slack line what Bill Gammel has done to the overhead cast. If he was American he'd be a National hero.

The CNL has amazing talent. Rick Hartman, who's still about 8 feet in front of me incidentally, reckons there's five people in this bracket. He's wrong; there are six. Alejandro's over 120 with the 5-weight. In fact I've come to the conclusion that Alejandro, as well as being one hell of a caster, knows more than me when it comes to the physics of the thing.

The CNL is a wonderful association and I can't think of a more fun and downright interesting group of people anywhere. Worth travelling to Spain for – as well as the Tortugas.
So anyway, why do we have all these problems? I mean, fuck, I'm just here to go fishing. That's all. I have to making a living out of it, because I want to fish all the time. I don't give a damn about the “name” bollocks. Why are you here?

I have a pretty weird life. It's not normal to fish all the time and wash your socks on the roof. But the funny thing is it all makes sense. And you should do it because there are some amazing people here. In fact out of all the people on this site, I am the most normal.

Actually, sadly that is true. And I take the piss out of my friends, which I enjoy very much (Rick – just wait to see what's coming, are you in trouble now). Rick is mad. He's the best caster I have met. And he's a great angler. And he's madder than me. He thinks he has a longer dick but he hasn't.

So I was surprised. It's rare to find talent like that… but I suppose that we all have our inadequacies, however small they may be.

So yeah, it was quite a week. I think Rick was extremely surprised by all the rubbish in the car. It's how you use it mate; not how big it is. That and it's in the accent.

And the casting is weird, but fun. I actually think it's normal now to cast in the park. I wonder if they know how amazing it is to watch the finest caster on the planet, the one who doesn't have an accent here.

I suppose there always has to be someone better than you. So I'll just have to get better than him. And so I will, you fucker.

So anyway, the fucker, Jesse and I all went fishing and everyone caught fish but me. WHICH SUCKS. I mean what the fuck is that? What the fuck are these fish thinking? Don't you want a Shipman's? Please, for fuck's sake: TAKE THE FUCKING SHIPMAN'S.

So I'm going to have to learn to do it right. I know how to do it because I've done it before. And it's fun but I'm going to make it happen quickly because I don't want to be told it's because I had a “choir boy in the back of the car last night”.


There are different ways of connecting with people.

If you think I'm going to talk about the FFF now, you're wrong; you know what I think of them: they're Americans; there are a lot of mentally disturbed people here.

There's something wrong with the spin cycle, dude


Related links: Vortex archives

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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