Paul Arden Visits the Gold Coast

July 4th, 2011

Once again South East Queensland Flyfishers Club managed to present an excellent weekend of casting, this time hosted by MCI Paul Arden. Paul, of the web site Sexyloops fame, is not only a world leader in distance casting, but also an internationally respected authority on the theory and practice of fly casting.
He has been in Australia to commence a marathon bike ride around the continent as well as to fish as much of Australia as possible.
Paul took time out from his busy schedule (the week before he was in Malaysia testing FFF members for their MCI and CCI qualifications) to host a clinic (numbers strictly limited) on 26 June. Respected Hervey Bay fly fishing guide Andy Beer kindly acted as chauffer to Paul and ensured he arrived safely on the Gold Coast for the event.
The clinic was attended by four current CCI’s, Ward Nicholas (who drove from Townsville to attend the clinic, a measure of its undoubted status), Paul Goodey, Shaun Ash and Jon Burgess, together with four local casters and fly fishermen of some considerable ability, Tazz Jeffrey, Norm Good, Ez Sarvin and Peter Nolan.
All participants at the outset were asked what they expected / wanted to get from the clinic, and answers ranged from the ever popular “casting over 100 feet” to “watching the teaching methods” employed by Paul.
Almost immediately we were fully engaged in the matter of distance casting. This included discussion and practical application of the haul, tracking, butt rotation, slide, drag and many related topics. This information was followed by a discussion and practical demonstration of the famed “170” cast.
Well the man can certainly cast – without doubt the smoothest I have seen and I have seen many. This is not only my own opinion but also that of the other CCI’s present. The loops were, again without doubt, the perfect aerodynamic shapes – simply identical to those drawn in the “how to” books – despite the fact that there was 80 to 90 ft of line aerialised at the time.
My only moments of absolute concern was when my prized 7 wt Sage TCX was used by Paul for a distance demonstration. The stories of the “exploding butts” of fly rods put under such extreme pressure flashed vividly into my mind, coupled with my knowledge that all present were unreservedly hoping to observe a practical demonstration of the seldom witnessed event. Watching the entire MED line plus a respectable amount of backing disappear with no visible effort by the caster left all present suitably impressed. For those not familiar with this feat the line the line alone is 120 ft. Hence the demonstration casts must have been a good 130 ft plus as the leader certainly straightened.
A pleasant surprise was that we were joined during the day by Australian champion distance caster Jackson “Jacko” Marrs, who had his distance equipment on hand for all to inspect. Those who met Jacko some years ago at a “midnight casting challenge” held during an Interclub Competition at Inskip will simply not believe his improvement since then (and it must be remembered that he not only won the Midnight Challenge that year but also triumphed in the Australian distance event.) It must be noted that the name “midnight casting event is in fact entirely a misnomer – the event in fact took place considerably after midnight.
In addition to the advanced aspects of casting covered by Paul, the basics, centered on Bill Gammel’s five essentials, were thoroughly discussed and analysed. As were the practical matters of dealing with the wind, roll, switch and spey casts. Then onto the more technical “trick casts” and slack line presentation casts which had all present attempting curve casts, reach and bucket mends, and several combinations of these casts. And such casts were all absolutely demonstrated.
An excellent and highly educational day was had by all present. Many thanks to Paul for his time and knowledge – so freely given.

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