Tom Rowland, Gary Coxon, Bruce Richards, Brad Wesner, Barry and Cathy Beck

"Experienced" - by Mark Hoffman

Since I've met Paul recently I thought it would add a new dimension to the paul arden experience to have something from those who have experienced paul arden...:)

The Paul Arden "Experienced"

Paul is an interesting young man. He is a qualified professional fly casting instructor, trout fishing guide and itenerant trout bum. He is also a man with a problem, a big problem: it's bigger than him or in fact all of us - his problem is with saltwater. He has progressed from a naive interest in dabbling a fly in salty water, through varying states of disappointment and disillusionment to arrive at a serene and confident complete and utter lack of expectation of ever hooking any sort of piscine creature on anything that can be legally called a fly.

This is a bit unnerving to an average angler who already has a balancing act between negative and positive expectations of any fishing outcome. The proverbial tip of the ice berg with Paul is an apparent whimisical dismissal of the entire saltwater fly fishing realm as the mass literary delusions of frustrated or aberrant freshwater fly fishers that a cynical fishing tackle market has exploited with some of the most costly fly fishing gear ever sold in history. Heaven knows what the other nine tenths of Paul's problem consists of....

But really Paul had no business turning up on my doorstepwithout a definite week's notice so the local fish could be trained by daily burleying to turn up at the right place at the right time. But this I have only appreciated with hindsight.... as it happened I agreed to take him to a sure-fire spot at a local river mouth. But I should have become suspicious as we walked around the beach with Mr Arden spouting forth his "trout this, trout that" talk. No wonder even the lowly local sprats refused to even put in all but the most token of appearances.

Then after flogging away for hours from low to high water , Paul's cool professional veneer started to erode and he began to turn nasty. And personal. With the thinnest pretext of magnaminosly sharing his wealth of professional fly casting knowledge he handed me a rod and then asked me to cast. Of course 'performace anxiety' on my part ensued; who wouldn't when their personal and private casting style was now being coldly anlaysed by a man with a grudge that would have made Captain Ahab's problem with whales look like the merest indifference. There were smoothly delivered comments about not 'rotating the wrist' and 'anticipating the forward cast' and then to add insult to injury he then took my rod itself to task. Probably just sour grapes because I didn't purchase it from his email emporium that bankrolls his annual international fly fishing junket.

Is it any wonder we didn't catch any thing? Even the other bait anglers present (Paul's foot seemed to twitch as if it had a mind of its own to try to kick some sand in their eyes as we walked past these honest humble fisher folk) reported that they had experienced uncharacteristic failure at a place they normally could rely upon. Families would be going hungry that night. Paul feigned sympathetic surprise at this malady and marched back to his mobile fly tying bench that doubles as his camper van. Thus we drove back to my place.

Paul left a few hours later, bound for Rotorua, breathing threats of exposing the global conspiracy that perpetuates the saltwater flyfishing myth and pressed a parting gift of a size 16 booby nymph into my hand to inspire me in the only noble pursit of flyfishing for trout.

Mark Hoffman

Mark writes for fishing magazines in New Zealand, he lives in Auckland, he's been heavily involved in the Sexyloops Glossary and just like everyone else he never catches anything out the salt either. Well, that's what I think.