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Ronan's report

Monday 12th September, 2012

These days we can find quite a lot of discussions about different fly fishing organizations like International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), Association of Advanced Game Angling Instructors (AAPGAI), European Fly Fishing Association (EFFA) or Comision Nacional de Lanzado (CNL) - just to name a few. Most of these discussions (in one way or another) are based on the different aspects of fly casting instructor certifications. Now two terms immediately come to mind: CERTIFIED and QUALIFIED.

In regard of those searching for a lesson in fly casting a fair question might be: Will a certified instructor be qualified to teach me well?

Reading on all different organizations' websites the answer seems to be YES. But is that really true?

To me a truly qualified fly casting instructor is the one who meets the exact requirements each single student brings into the lesson. Those requirements are often very different from one student to another one, even if we just compare beginners in fly casting. As a student personally I always would want to have the best instructor I can find independent of my own level in fly casting. I would want the instructor to be able to EXPLAIN the exact aspects of fly casting based on current knowledge, to DEMONSTRATE them and most important to TEACH them.

Looking for the best instructor - even as a beginner in fly casting?

All organizations offer us a list of certified instructors based on at least two different levels of certification. This for example can be the Basic and the Master certified instructor. Listening to the organizations for many times I heard their members saying: "The Basic instructor typically is the one who will teach beginners and the Master instructor often is the one who teaches instructors as well." Personally I tend to understand this differently. Especially as a beginner in fly casting I would want the very best instructor I can find. This is because I would have almost no change to identify teaching contents to be discussable or (who knows) even to be wrong! So in order to have a great start into fly casting I need the best instruction I can get. Later on I will be better prepared and have a much brighter knowledge to be able to distinguish between different methods of teaching as well as different ways of fly casting. Finally I hopefully find the one that matches best for me and my fishing situation.

Back to the two levels of certified instructors that most organizations offer: The Master level seems to be best though!?

After being involved in different organizations and having had over a hundred lessons by certified instructors I am missing two things in regard of instructor certifications:

1) The TEACHING side of instruction to be more involved into each task of all exams and

2) The renewal of instructor certifications not done by paying annual fees but instead by retesting and forcing the listed instructors to update their knowledge on fly casting.

After all I found fantastic fly casting instructors being really updated with their current knowledge about fly casting. At the same time they had a huge teaching experience while holding the Basic instructor degree or not even holding any degree of certification at all. And I also found Master certified instructors who did not even pass the exam. Some of those who did pass the exam did it many years ago and then not updated their knowledge anymore and also only teaching a lesson here and there over the years.

This leads to my personal thought about instructor certifications: They are just a piece of paper not telling us much about if the instructor has serious experience in teaching fly casting nor if he is updating his knowledge. So back to the main question: Will a certified instructor be qualified to teach me well? My answer is: Yes, some will and no, some won't. In my opinion yet the list of certified instructors which all organizations offer to us don't seem to fully represent what I would look for as a potential student in fly casting (I will keep being a student in search for further instruction all my life long).

So instead of searching for the best instructor in these lists I prefer to talk to former students of the instructor as well as to the instructor him/herself to find out if he/she may match my personal requirements for the lesson.

A great day to all of you and may the tight loops be with you!


Pic Of Day



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