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Learn more about Vic Knight

THE BEGINNING

I am I think quite unique in terms of how I started fishing as I actually started with a fly rod and like most kids of my era I was taught by my father and grandfather to fish albeit firstly with a fly rod and then with coarse gear and, to be fair, I was not sure which I liked the best at the time. As long as I could be on the water fishing it did not matter.

I started at the very early age of 4 and fly fished for coarse fish with my father until he considered me proficient enough to fish for trout.

My first fish ever caught with a rod and line was a chub and whilst admitting that my father actually made the cast and then handed me the rod I can claim the rise, the strike and the playing of the fish to the net.

At around 8 years old I was allowed out on my own and I spent every spare minute I could find fishing or at least doing something to do with fishing or the river. Fishing the upper reaches of the river Gwash for diminutive trout and avoiding the keeper was considered to be childhood heaven.

Basically I was and still am an irretrievable fishing nutcase.

PROGRESSION

Moving to the midlands in 1965 brought a whole new world of water within reach and a short bus ride could see me on either river or lake and fishing mostly with coarse gear because of the location although I would fly fish on the river Severn at Bewdley and Bridgnorth at every opportunity.

Given the status of trout fishing at the time and the associated cost it was some years on that I started game fishing in earnest and when my father retired in 1984 I rang him from work one Wednesday and told him to dust off his Tom Ivans Iron Murderer (10.0” built cane monster) as I had been to the tackle shop and bought a newfangled carbon fibre fly rod and we were going fishing.

This was the start of a massive roller coaster ride of fly fishing and fly tying which took us all over the country, into Wales and to places I had only previously dreamed about. We fished many beautiful rivers and some notable lakes all with the fly and in all weathers, all conditions and all year round, the winter fishing courtesy of the lovely grayling.

BECOMING AN INSTRUCTOR

One Sunday morning in 1991 whilst on a small local trout pool near Bridgnorth a fellow angler came up to me to have a chat and asked if I would give him casting lessons as he had noticed me casting and actually reaching the fish where he was struggling badly. At the time I felt that I had to decline as I had no teaching or instructional experience. What it did do, however was to sow a seed of thought as to how to become an instructor. 

I had heard of the National Anglers Council which ran courses for anglers who wished to be instructors but a phone call informed me that the NAC had disbanded and that talks were underway to create STANIC leaving only the APGAI (Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors) route open to me. 

Very quickly a letter along with a fishing CV was sent to Donald Downs, then secretary of APGAI asking for information and to cut a long story short I attended the APGAI intern weekend at Grafham water in the summer of 1992 and came away with my Trout and Fly Dressing qualifications. 1995 saw me qualify with a salmon rod to become a full member of the association holding all three qualifications.  

BEING AN INSTRUCTOR 

Actually carrying the mantle of APGAI fly fishing instructor is more difficult than obtaining the qualifications in the first place as there are standards to be maintained and improved and also the added pressure of upholding the reputation of the association and actually being involved in teaching people of all levels. The latter is scary at first. When I passed my exams all those years ago it was a little like ‘right Knight you can now go out and use a rod on your own’.

Notwithstanding the above being a qualified instructor opens up a whole new area of fishing and fishing oriented activities.

Never having been one to sit on his laurels I have been a very active member of the association I all its forms from APGAI through GAIA and now with the premier association AAPGAI I have also found the time to take the FFF (Federation of Fly Fishers) exam and as a result I am also an FFF CCI (Certified Casting Instructor).

The progression for me from instructor was to become an assessor for the association and from 1996 I have been a part of the assessor team up to present and I am still heavily involved in the development of all the AAPGAI syllabi and the maintenance of the standards of instruction and assessment.

The  most gratifying part of being an instructor is to be in contact with so many different people and to see the improvement in them under my tutelage and the look of pure joy and achievement on the face of my clients when they ‘get it right’ or catch a fish cannot be adequately described in words.

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