Posted by: AAPGAI | March 28, 2011


A flooded hotel car park The past weekend saw our first return to the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth, Cumbria since the floods in November 2009.

Supported by AAPGAI for a number of years we were delighted to be able to return to this hotel on the River Derwent to hold our Spring Assessment and Public Open Day Weekend in March.

With the hotel now fully restored we couldn’t have picked a better weekend, almost cloud free bright blue skies, very little wind and a glowing sun gave our candidates almost perfect conditions with which to conduct their Provisional, Advanced and Master level assessments.

A refurbished Trout Hotel 

THE ASSESSMENTS: Special congratulations to some of our successful candidates: Bert Schaaf, John Young, Trevor Hayman and Martyn Armstrong. Trevor is our first candidate to come through the Weekend Instructor Initiatives first introduced by AAPGAI in 2010.

Bert Schaaf Trevor Hayman

(Above left) Bert Schaaf an Advanced Salmon Instructor had driven all the way from Germany, and (Above right) Trevor Hayman are both applauded for successfully passing their Trout Provisional Assessment. AAPGAI Chairman Illtyd Griffiths presents them with their awards.

John Young Martyn Armstrong

(Above left) Illtyd congratulates a ghostly John Young on passing his Advanced Trout and (Above right) Martyn Armstrong who passed the very demanding Trout Masters Level Assessment… Congratulations.

THE OPEN DAY: Following the completion of the assessments, we were joined on Saturday by a host of future instructors & keen anglers to enjoy a packed programme of demonstrations and 1-2-1 fly casting & fishing.

Open Day

After introductions by Gary Champion it was up to Ian May to get things rolling.

Ian May - Switch Rod

Becoming ever more popular and still with an air of mystique as to how best to use it, Ian looked at methods, techniques and likely uses for this this hybrid single or double handed rod – the Switch Rod…


This lead onto Martyn Armstrong & Gary Champion

Martyn Armstrong & Gary Champion

They looked at fishing chalk streams & rivers concentrating on presentation casts and stealth like approaches when fishing from the bank as opposed to wading.

Martyn describes a more cross stream presentation…

Martyn Armstrong

Crouching tiger hidden dragon – Gary Champion demonstrates a more upstream approach for the perfect dry fly drag free drift…

Gary Champion

Martyn goes one better – knees’y does it.

Martyn Armstrong

Now time for the big boys…and not just Paul Little & Mike McDaid

Paul Little & Mike McDaid

Paul & Mike extolled the virtues and uses of the Double Spey and the Snake Roll with spey lines, shooting heads and single handed rods – Guess who drew the short straw?

Paul Little

Paul Little demonstrates various Snake Roll techniques above…

Paul Little

Paul launches the forward stroke from a Double Spey layout… and launch it stayed!

Now for the maestro of all things Roll Casting, Vic knight steps up, or

Vic Knight

More than just a straight line cast, Vic demonstrates changes of direction, curves & hooks for tricky situations when the overhead just isn’t an option…

Vic Knight

Vic Knight above slows his natural Mach II tip speed delivery down to a blurrrrrr…

Twas’ Vic who concluded the morning sessions leading into lunch… arranged on river it gave all the attending visitors the opportunity to either pick up one of the plethora of rods, reels and lines available, have a cast, a chat, or just relax and munch the delights provide by the Trout Hotel… sticky bun anyone?

Moving on and re-energised it was into the afternoon session and Lee Cummings.

Lee Cummings

This was utterly mind blowing, in layman’s terms Lee demonstrated distance casting techniques, why & where they can be useful, set ups for general fishing distances such as big reservoirs or techniques for those that perhaps have aspirations for the competitive arena.

Lee Cummings

I only wish we’d had a lens wide enough to have captured his key shots… (Note to self: ‘fish eye lens next time’)

Finally it was onto the twilight shift and Jim Williams

Jim Williams

Jim has a passion for long rods and light lines so described the tackle, set ups and techniques he uses for High Sticking, Duo, Czech and French nymphing

Jim Williams

A bit of simulating required with the Derwents water at summer level and shallow.

Having concluded the demonstrations early afternoon with Steve Peterson who’d brought along some of the recent and latest technology in rod designs (The Hardy Sintrix) it was time to split up and let our guests and visitors come forward, grab a rod (any rod) and spend some one on one time with an instructor… regardless of ability everyone got to cast one of at least 70 to 80 rods made available via instructors. Just a great afternoon to complete what was a fabulous day… made so by the attending visitors, thank you on behalf of AAPGAI

We look forward to seeing you in October 2011 at Caer beris – more details