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Honor Roll subscriber Ueli Zellweger tells us he is very impressed with AAPGAI, the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors, (www.aapgai.co.uk), a growing, U.K.-based association of fly fishing instructors. Indeed, a check of its Web site indicates the group has an extensive network of instructors across England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland and an ambitious program of upcoming classes and demonstrations. This past year, it had its first-ever programs planned in North America (Calgary, Alberta, and Carnation, Washington), but they were cancelled due to flooding in Calgary.
“The association has something over 100 members now, mostly in the United Kingdom, but its reputation has begun to attract members in Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, Hungary, the United States, and Canada,” Zellweger writes. “I had the pleasure of attending a Spey casting class last May on the River Tay in Scotland that was conducted by the three top fellows at AAPGAI: chairman Illtyd Griffiths, Glyn Freeman, and Bob Sherwood.
“I am not exactly a beginning salmon angler, having fished for them quite a bit over the last few years, so it is not without consequence that I say my three days on the River Tay with AAPGAI were the most enjoyable I have spent on this perfect fly water of Kinnaird House (Lower Kinnaird Beat). The course greatly increased the pleasure and enjoyment I get from salmon fishing.
“The three AAPGAI instructors all spent time with each of us, giving us tips and advice and correcting our bad habits in a useful and easily understandable way. Of course, all eight students failed at first and struggled to improve our performance. After a while, however, we understood what was meant and began to feel the thrill of line going out much farther than ever before with a fine-tuned sschhhh sound, all without the former huge body efforts required but with elegance and fine timing. Looking at some of the photos that were taken, I find it hard to believe that I was able to throw almost-perfect D loops and keep a prodigious amount of line in the air with the latest Scott McKenzie 15-foot no. 10 rod lent to me by Glyn for free.
“As a bonus, by the end of the course, I managed to hook and land two beautiful, lively spring salmon, both of them sea-liced despite being taken some 35 miles above the estuary. The fish weighed 16 and 11 pounds, respectively. Anyone interested in the Spey class I took can reach Illtyd Griffiths by e-mail at [email protected]. The course will be conducted on the River Tay again in May 2014.”