Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Why did I do it, part 2

OK, so I had made my mind up, I would take the test. The next question was which organisation?, APGIA, AAPGIA, EFFA, STANIC or the FFF. I was only interested in two of them, AAPGIA and the FFF. In the end it came down to what did I want to do. Did I want my casting instruction to include fishing or not. I don’t fish an awful lot for one reason or another and I did not feel comfortable with the idea of teaching fishing methods. The reason I ended up choosing the FFF is because they emphasise flycasting and the importance of learning to instruct properly.  As a group of people they are very supportive, I knew quite a few of them either personally or via the Sexyloops board so it felt like I was joining a group of friends.

 I wasn’t too concerned about the casting element, practicing that was the enjoyable bit, getting the explanations right was a different matter altogether. As I read the test the first 17 tasks were demonstration only, ie the examiner would ask me to perform a cast and I would do it, I didn’t need explanations until question 18. That misconception was nearly my undoing. I found out less than a week before the test that explanations were needed for every task. Near panic set in. But I am getting well ahead of myself here so lets go back to the beginning.

 I wanted to keep my going for the test private, I didn’t want the whole world knowing I had failed did I? but I knew I needed help with the technical stuff so a few ‘mentors’ had to be in the know so that I could get advise. I was a bit hamstrung by not being able to post questions on the Sexyloops board as that would have given the game away but the FFF website http://www.fedflyfishers.org/ has loads of information on it if you dig around a bit and a lot of it is about the skill of instructing which was the part I was most concerned about.

 There is no doubt that teaching is a skill on it’s own, you need to say enough to explain but not enough to confuse and I knew I was a confuser. I used to do some informal instructing with friends, I never charged money because they were Guinea pigs and I let them know it. I was learning more from them that they were learning from me, I suspect that initially they went away understanding less than when they started. The feedback was that I talked too much!. I now try and and give an instruction or explanation and move away for a while while the student gets their head around it, I will hover and just gently help them if required before we move on to the next phase but back then it was a bit wham bam thank you mam. Do this ,do that, lets try this, NO, not like that you f******  idiot. See, I’m not a natural teacher am I?.

 I will finish this epic tomorrow, or maybe not, it could go on for weeks.

 BTW, my son only wanted to take his Mum and Dad out to lunch, I must stop being so cynical.


January 31, 2009 - Posted by | Flycasting instruction | , , ,


  1. I do read this you know, Dad. Nice new design, by the way. Very swish.

    Comment by stuartheritage | February 1, 2009 | Reply

    • If you are refering to the lunch comment I was talking about Pete. Yeah, I like the layout and colours better, white on black was doing odd things to my eyes.

      Comment by Mike Heritage | February 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hey Mike! Nice blog. I’ve been teaching a bit. Few friends and the like. At some point I’ll do a test myself. Difficult one as to who with. I wouldn’t want to guide someone for money. Not my bag at all. But I do really like helping (at least as much help as I can anyway) people with casting. aapgai seem to want a knowledge of bait casting/spinning, and very specific fishing knowledge. Also there are police checks and insurance etc etc. Doesn’t sound like it’s for me, which is a shame because all the spey casts they do in the test are wicked.
    I’ve no time to do one now anyway, and not much time to teach even if I was up to the level. One day though…
    See you soon!

    Comment by Snake Pliskin | February 5, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the nice comment.

    The problems you have outlined are just the ones I had and that’s why I ended up choosing the FFF. I think they are a very ‘user friendly’ organisation. I’m in no way knocking the other organisations, ultimately we all want to promote better flycasting. Speycasting is much more in depth in the FFF MCCI exam which is a couple of years away, at least, for me at the moment.

    Don’t forget you have an open invitation any time you fancy a cast.


    Comment by Mike Heritage | February 5, 2009 | Reply

  4. Cool! I’m up for some casting any time I can get down to yours. If you’re at castle Arden this weekend I’ll see you then.

    Comment by Snake Pliskin | February 5, 2009 | Reply

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