Fly Casting Instructor Exam - Mentoring

Fly Casting Instructor Exam - Mentoring

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Last weekend I got a student for mentoring him on his way to pass a Fly Casting Instructor exam. So I checked the organisation's website for the current test and the latest updates.

Like always I found some parts, which I don't agree with. To me it's fair enough to put some things little different. But I do have a serious issue when things are simply put incorrect.

How would you mentor your student in order to pass such a fly casting instructor exam - would you teach him what you know many examiners want to hear him saying in order to pass him (even though you know it's incorrect) or would you teach him what matches reality (is correct)?

For me it's clear. I teach what is (to my best knowledge) correct! If any organisation based on that will not pass my student and can't reasonably explain their actions, then they will get in significant trouble with me. That's for sure!

Come on, we have slow motion videos available since now more than 10 years! No need to make the same old mistakes in defining fly casting all over again and again. Update your knowledge and match it with reality! I think, when you want to offer instructor exams, it is your responsabilty to first update your knowledge. The anchor doesn't load YOUR rod!

Let me give you an example:

In the current exam sheet it says:

Teach an intermediate caster the cause and correction of tailing loops.
The candidate will explain three common actions by a caster that induce tailing loops, the reason why each tailing loop occurs, and the corrections necessary to eliminate it.
The candidate will perform a demonstration of a tailing loop and its correction from one of three common actions by a caster that induces tailing loops. The examiner will select the one to be demonstrated.

I immediately remembered, that in the old times this was asking for

a) creep

b) too small arc for the amount of rod bend

c) too uneven force application

So I was wondering what the current definitions of that organisation are about and checked:

1. Creep: rod rotation during the pause in the direction of the next cast.

We all know this movement, called creep. Obviously it cannot cause any tailings at all. What the caster may or may not do afterwards may or may not cause a tailing loop. According to that definition it (the rod moevement after creep) will then not be part of creep.

2a. Casting stroke: Rod movement sufficient to cause loop formation.

2b. Casting arc: The angle change of the fly rod during the casting stroke. 

I very much would like to see an examiner demonstrating a smooth increase in rod bend and to then have the arc being too small for the amount of (max) rod bend leading into a tailing loop. I very much doubt, that this is ever going to be demoed to me though! Why? Because I believe this to be impossible, not matching casting reality!

Oh, and please let me add:

3. Tailing loop: Loop caused by a concave rod tip path in which the top (fly) leg dips toward and crosses the bottom (rod) leg.

4. Loops are expected to have reasonably parallel legs and be approximately 4 ft. (1.22 meters) in width or less unless otherwise requested within a task.

Let me put this straight: A proper tight instructor's loop can have 1,2m height. So it should be realistic to have at least 1,5m for the student. In order to have the wave in the fly-leg clearly crossing the rod-leg it (the wave) should have ca. 1,8m height. Now let me see such a wave caused by too small an arc while accelerating smoothly.

This is especially not going to happen in any of my lessons, because yet I always was helping all my students too shorten their arc in order to improve their loops, not the other way round. No one used too small arcs for the amount of rod bend. Besides that I hardly ever see such big waves in the fly-leg, but small waves never crossing the rod-leg are typical instead.

Just to make sure to have been on the right track, I asked other instructors (examiners included) about what currently was expected in the exam here. It turned out, that I was right with a), b) and c) as explained above.

So, my understanding of tailing loops is somewhat different:

Tailing loops

What I finally told my student in order to have him pass the exam?

A) Demonstrate what really happens and B) ask the examiners to demonstrate what they want to see you doing, if they disagree.

I think, a proper examiner always will be able to demonstrate him/herself what he/she is looking for. Especially since different languages often make it harder to understand what exactly it is about.

Besides teaching fly casting I had a lot of fly tying in the nights and chasing Zander in the days as you may see in the pictures below.

Great week to all of you!

All my best


P.s: I am sorry to have been such straight here, but I have to admit, that it's annoying to me to always come over the same mistakes in defining casting realtiy again and again as soon as it comes to instructor exams.

Some pictures as always...