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Paul Arden - where I'm coming from

I'm not going to give you any of that self-important nonsense, because that'sjust not me or where I'm coming from. However, since I actually do give flyfishing related advice over the internet, and in a big way, it's only fairthat I tell you who I am, and why I think you can take this advice withconfidence.

First and foremost I am a fly fisher. I'd like to say that I am a 'thinking'fly fisher. Whether or not I am, is a matter of some concern to me. I've beenfly fishing for just over 20 years, which actually isn't an enormous amount oftime by way of these things, but because I've been idle and reckless for ALLof those 20 years, I haven't actually done anything else (not worthwhile atany rate) and so I am 'of experience'. I hasten to add, that this is not tosay that I'm an expert; that would only be tempting fate, and as this isfly fishing, I have to be careful not to do this.

Although being a 'thinking' angler is questionable, there can be no doubtwhatsoever that I am indeed a 'travelling' angler. I started travelling toNew Zealand, 'for the fishing and the summers', eight years ago and Ihaven't had winter since. I've been lucky enough to fish all over the UK,NZ and Australia. I've fished the US but not as much as I'd like, in fact Ihaven't fished anywhere as much as I'd like, apart from Ardleigh Reservoir,where I actually managed to fish more than I'd like (rare achievement, thatone, but I worked in the fishing lodge for 5 years - my kind of work; couldactually sleep and get paid for it).

I've done lots of stillwater trout fishing, river trout fishing and messedabout in the salt. Migratory fish are something of a mystery and I expectthem to remain so, at least until I'm old and respectable, or failing this,just old. And as this is a VERY long way off indeed - I'm 30, but actuallygrowing younger - I usually bring in fellow angling instructors toanswer the salmon and sea trout questions sexyloops receives.

My actual 'job', and I use the word in it's very loosest sense, is as afly casting instructor and demonstrator. I hold the APGAI certificate inTrout. APGAI stands for Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor and isthe dog's bollocks in fly casting qualifications - to use a very Englishexpression.

There are a number of other UK coaching qualifications. The STANIC (Salmonand Trout Association National Instructors Certificate) is one I held for awhile, but dropped in protest to something or other - too many crapinstructors I think - but as the STA appear not to have realised that I'veactually gone, it may have missed the mark. Bit like their casting.

I teach individuals and groups to cast and have been doing this for aboutseven years full time. Unusual for many instructors, most of my pupils arealready competent casters and experienced fly fishermen, who simply want tolearn to cast more effectively. Of course, I teach beginners as well andwelcome this, as they are generally in urgent need of some new fishingtackle!

I also demonstrate casting to clubs and game fairs. I am lucky enough todemonstrate regularly (well, every year it seems) at the Chatsworth AnglingFair. I return to the UK specifically to cast at this show. This is thelargest angling fair in Europe; it's great fun and generally becomes anexciting mud bath. I try to just touch on the basic techniques and then getinvolved in complicated stuff that no-one understands. My secret objective,is to give a demonstration that no-one comprehends, but looks good, so thatwhen the audience leave they say to themselves 'I didn't understand a damn thing- that Paul Arden must be way out there...'

I'm particularly interested in distance casting. This has come by way of myearly stillwater experiences. In order to catch fish you either had to castfurther than everyone else or get a boat.

I've taught many anglers through shows and fairs. I worked as sales managerfor Guide Flyfishing Ltd for two years and one of my main jobs was toco-ordinate, demonstrate and teach at their road-shows. This was fantasticfor my on-the-spot casting fault diagnosis and is the foundation for myfix-my-bumcasting-by-email service.

For two years I worked for the Salmon and Trout Association on their JuniorCourses as their resident instructor. I figure that I've taught close on1000 kids as a result of this. Teaching children is great fun -incidentally, they require the co-ordination of the average 10yr old, orbetter, and if you want them to learn early on in life, then you'd be welladvised to get them interested in some hand-eye co-ordination activitiesfrom an early age. Throwing stones at greenhouses, for example, can lead toa highly successful angler. And if done on a regular basis, I'd say that wecould have a demonstrator in the makings.

As an instructor I have been taught and am continually learning. I wasoriginally taught by Henry Lowe (APGAI, Cambridge and Grafham area) and (thelate) Peter MacKenzie-Philps. I also spent some time with Mel Krieger whenwe did some Guide Roadshows with Redington in the UK, and he had a prettymajor influence on my casting at that time.

I am also what you might fairly describe as an angling journalist, with it'sinevitable consequences on alcohol consumption and woman chasing. I writeregular articles for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine in the UK and have acolumn with Charles Jardine on fly casting techniques. I choose to write forthis magazine because it's the only UK magazine I actually enjoy reading andbesides, I've been fishing with the editor.

Sort of. It seems that he reserves hisnever-tried-this-before-but-Paul-might-like-to theories for my visits. We'vebeen float tubing for pike with poppers, by way of example, in an area - andget this - never known to actually contain any pike whatsoever.

To be fair everyone I know in Scotland has some specialnever-tried-this-before-but-Paul-might-like-to plan for my visits. The factthat their suggested itinerary doesn't take into account the behaviour of thefish in question, doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest. Float tubingthe Firth of Forth surrounded by seals MUST have been one of my finermoments.

I've worked for a number of companies as a consultant. Guide Flyfishing andI go back to when they were formed and I was their product assessor. I alsogot involved with some of the Redington Rods (the 9'6" ones).

I consulted for Shakespeare for a brief period, bunging AFTM numbers ontheir rods and hanging out with them. I couldn't work out which of us wasthe more disreputable.

I review stuff for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine. when I'm in the UK.and if there's anything going.

I am currently independent of all tackle manufacturers and I will tell youif this changes. Although I often advise people to buy the stuff I sell (nosurprises there then) I do choose which products to sell. I will not sellyou a product with which I am not completely happy.

Honest reliable advice is the core of this site. And if I think that analternative product will suit you best, then I will say so straight away(and if I get this a few times, I'll source it and start selling it).

This website IS what keeps me in fast cars, women and fly fishing.

This is how and why we do it :-)

To be continued...

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