Despite a drive of 11 hours there and back in one day an Open Day of top-drawer demonstrations and casting tuition in stunning March sunshine made the trip to The Lakes on Saturday a big buzz all round.
Fascinating demos included Gary Champion casting with the switch rod that caught him 15 salmon in Iceland last year, Lee Cummings with a lightweight single-handed shooting head set-up he uses to extract salmon from the Cumbrian River Irt, and Clive Mitchelhill doing his excellent tuition with the big rod.
In between times I never missed the chance to watch the peerless casting and teaching of Glyn Freeman and Illtyd Griffiths. ‘King of the Umba’, Illtyd – as well as telling a great story of a Kola Pensinsula mosquito attack on an unfortunate chap’s ‘undercarriage’ (don’t use an outside loo out there in July, is the lesson of the story) was at his best Circle casting a Skagit line.
As I watched him crash the line 60 yds into the other bank it confirmed what I had suspected, that he has a soft spot for this British Columbian-spawned ‘heavy fly delivery system’. A maestro touch was the extra ‘kick’ he gives the ‘spiral staircase’ manoeuvre to gain extra D loop dynamics. (You know you’re turning a bit AAPGAI when you start using language like that!)
The icing on the cake was one-on-one tuition in the afternoon with Paul Little AAPGAI. Apart from his great help honing my double-Spey casting, Paul, who Tweets under @aapgai_flytying and is perhaps best know for his work at the vice, was just such a good bloke to meet and spend time with. Very enjoyable and an excellent teacher – thanks Paul.
It was also a pleasure to hook up with John Legg and I am now in proud temporary possession of a Vision Cult 14′ 7″ and their classic GTfour Catapult 11wt (and in permanent possession of a new Lamson Guru 4 reel – Yesss!!) and I hope to hook up with John for a casting day very soon, maybe on the Nith.
Lovely to get home (midnight Saturday, in time to see Sheffield Wednesday’s win on the Football League show!) though and see Chloe and Pippa and we spent a great day in the paddocks yesterday. More wall-to-wall sunshine, Pips wearing Dada’s new AAPGAI Open Day hat (pictured right, with Chloe behind)..
And the AAPGAI Path to all things casting – and hopefully combined with all things salmon-fishing? I’m on it.