European FFF Masters

The European FFF Masters Test is the hardest Instructor's examination out there. It's a step above the rest. I say this only because it's true. There is a 30 metre (98 ft) overhead cast and a 22 metre (72 feet) Switch. Three attempts and you're out. To put this in perspective the USA Masters only require 85 feet and 55 feet respectively AND you can use a 7-weight; in the EFFF the max is AFTM 6. That is a serious difference. Basically this test is a bitch. And I can't even compare it to the AAPGAI because they don't measure – which they should because the inch tape doesn't lie.

Using a 9ft leader (that's the maximum permitted) and a six-weight line, from a non-elevated position, makes a genuine 30 metre cast is a very long cast indeed. If you don't believe me go out and try it – and judging by the length of your flyline is not enough. If you don't believe that go out and measure your flyline. I've been really knocked back this month when I started measuring my casts on the ground and properly. I'm clearing all the distances but not as comfortably as I'd like. The test is in three weeks time and I'm in it.

I'd been looking at the EFFF for a while, partly because the Salmon & Trout Association are undermining casting instruction in the UK and partly because I'm going to start spending more time in the US - and they have absolutely no idea what AAPGAI stands for - for but mainly because it's just such a bitch.

Twenty-four metres of line - fly to tip ring - false casting. In the US Masters they ask for 50-55 feet. 24 metres is almost 79 feet.

So over the next few weeks I'll go through my preparation. How I practice for this (and I will be – in fact I am already and not least because there is a 15 metre left handed cast involved) and the sort of research I put into it. You don't just turn up to an exam that expects an 18-metre backhand Switch.

The exams are being held at the Fly Fair in the Netherlands. I've been asked to demonstrate for the fair while I'm over. I can't work out whether this has increased or decreased the pressure. How I prepare for a demo would be quite interesting as well, apart from the fact that I do pretty much just turn up.

Over the next few weeks I'll write about how I'm practising and as it happens. I'll also talk about the sort of tackle I decide to use, because it's pretty important to get this right - for one thing there's a 15 metre curved cast involved and so I'll need a long head. I'm also going to go and get some lessons for my left hand and I want someone to check out my backhand Switch.

There is also rather an interesting amount of theory to be answered as part of the exam. All the questions are on the EFFF website and so I shall answer them all here at Sexyloops ;-) It should become quite interesting I think and yes, I'm putting my head on the line… again :-)

The European Federation of Fly Flyfishers Test

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