For me it's pretty clear:
The last person I would ask about the pros and cons of fly casting lessons is someone who never participated in a single fly casting lesson.
Anyway Werner Berens explains the advantages of self education in fly casting as:
- A book for learning fly casting AND fly fishing costs 15 Euros, while a fly casting lesson costs at least 140 Euros.
- You can always learn when you want and stop when you want.
- If you have difficulties with a cast you can start trying it again as often as you want without slowing down the lesson for others.
- While self educating you will be forced to look deeper into the details of fly casting.
- You will have to control your own casting all the time and thus learn more about fly casting.
No need to tell, that there are books for more than 100 Euros as well as you can find proper fly casting lessons much cheaper than 140 Euros. What counts is what you get for your money. This can't be taken as a pro or a con in general. You have to check!
In a proper lesson you will be taught individually and won't slow down others in case you need extra time for an exercise.
Of course you learn to control your own casting in any proper lesson. But here (in the lesson) you learn it in a proper way. Huge advantage for the lesson! In no doubt you will get a look into the correct details of fly casting within a proper fly casting lesson. While self educating you may never come across the correct details!
The disadvantages for fly casting lessons the author explains as:
- A lesson is more expensive as is a book.
- You learn passive and give away responsabilty for the progress.
- You will put yourself under pressure to succeed within a group of students.
- The compact volume of a lesson may overexert you.
All that simply does not happen in case you choose a proper teacher!
Werner Berens additionally offers some guidelines how to identify a proper fly casting teacher.
Well, in my own (very different) experience I yet have to see a first proper fly caster who did not learn from experts in fly casting. May it have been in an official lesson or by exchanging knowledge. Both ways are no longer self education of course.
I doubt that one will become a proper fly caster without having others helping.
About learning from books...
- Unfortunately still most fly casting books offer wrong content keeping you from learning the correct keys in fly casting.
- No book will ever step in and stop you learning when you interpret some of it's content different as the author wanted you to understand it.
- Let's assume you are lucky and get a pretty good fly casting book. You may even be more lucky and understand the content in exactly the way the author wanted you to. Still the book will not tell you, that you just believe to perform the cast the way you think you do, but in truth do it very differently from how it should be done.
- Then no book will offer you to learn by feeling or watching. Especially learning by watching is the most effective way of course.
In my experience it is quite a process to become an expert fly caster. It needs serious proper training. But becoming an expert teacher even needs a lot more training.
Never yet I have met a proper fly casting teacher who didn't take lessons and exchange knowledge with a fair number of other proper teachers!
Back to the article in "Fliegenfischen"...
Looking at a picture presenting some students of the author within his fly casting lesson I shall offer a few tips:
- Don't put your students in grass being more than knee high. That keeps a lot of their concentration just in the grass!
- Make your students watch their back cast in case you want them to learn (and understand) shaping proper loops here.
- Positioning students with just 4 feet between them is way too close. That is especially when they don't all wear glasses! I recommend at least 30 feet (better more) between them instead.
I have come across some fine fly casting instructors who never got certified as a fly casting instructor. Such an article makes me think that instructor certifications are a proper way to get started in teaching fly casting though. You can learn by watching other (more experienced) instructors teaching first!
I hope you'll all get proper help when aiming to improve your fly casting skills. A self education will never come anywhere close to be as effective as a proper fly casting lesson will be. That holds true for both fly casters and fly casting teachers!
Great week to all of you!
All my best
Have been pretty ill during the past days but did fish some minutes every day anyway. ;)