Fly Casting and Fly Fishing Instructor Exams

Fly Casting and Fly Fishing Instructor Exams

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Pretty often I was asked about what to expect from each instructor exam offered by the different organisations like IFFF, EFFA, AAPGAI, GAIA or SIM. The requirements to pass all the different exams are very different. That made me compare what and how I teach in my fly fishing and fly casting lessons compared to what and how will be tested in those exams. A few main differences immediately came to my mind.

In my lessons I make sure to adjust the rod - line combination to the fishing situation and the student. This often means I change the fly line and sometimes even the fly rod, which my students bring into the lessons. Doing so I simply get better results and I also hit the desired goals in less time.

In regard of fly fishing and fly casting instructor exams I often heard examiners saying that passing the exam with just one rod - line combination would be the best requirement for the exam. Furthermore it should not matter which rod or line will be chosen by the candidate. He/she should be able to pass the exam with whatever rod or line it will be (as long as rod and line match the limits in rod length and line weight). That would be because students may come up with all kind of different tackle. Personally I think it would make much more sense to have each candidate adjusting especially the fly line profile to each task within the exam. Why? Because that's what most experienced fly fishermen do in fly fishing and fly casting. Even in the world champion ships in fly casting we adjust the tackle to each different disziplin. And who knows maybe pointing the candidates to adjusting the tackle for the single tasks may make a lot of them think about having different lines and rods available for their students.

Since all the exams are named to be about teaching I was asking myself what the essence of my lessons truly is?

Pointing out potential to improve and offering a proper way how to improve one's fly casting and fly fishing abilties that is.

All exams instead seem to still focus on the candidate's (potential teacher's) fly casting abilties in a high degree. Yes, there are differences from one organisation to the other one. For example the IFFF puts more focus on teaching abilties as does the EFFA. And the AAPGAI is more focused on Spey casting while the EFFA is more into overhead casting. But still most tasks are more about performing a cast instead of explaining and identifying the typical issues most students would have with that type of cast. I think there is still room to focus more on teaching and less on casting performance.

By the way a student lately asked me, if a great fly casting teacher would need to be a great fly caster, too?
My answer is no. There are many great teachers in many sports out there who never have been in the top (sporting) range theirthelves.

Back to the initial question about what to expect from the different exams. I recommend to decide wether you want a paper assigning you to be a proper fly caster in the first place, or if teaching will be your purpose after having passed the exam. And if teaching will be it, then I would ask if teaching fly casting only or if teaching how to fly fish will be your main goal. In my experience most candidates wanted to be assigned being proper fly casters in the first place. Seems to me like most organisations still do a proper job to fullfill exactly that desire with their certs!?

Whatever exam might be your choice - I wish you to be satisfied when getting certified in the end!

All my best


p.s.: You may enjoy some video impressions about coastal fly fishing for Sea trout HERE

Some pictures from last week...