Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Who am I? What am I?…Where am I?

I’m in a bit of a quandary. I need a bit more involvement with my fly casting certification organisation. I am an FFF certified casting instructor, all well and good. I like their ethos, I have a lot of friends who are FFF, there are online discussion groups and there are lots of resources on their web site. My problem is that, at the moment, they do not have a very big presence in the UK, and, to be honest, in the rest of Europe. They hold regular workshops and an annual conclave, but, they are all in America. I believe this will change as the FFF membership grows in Europe. The trouble is I am not getting any younger and by the time all this comes to pass I may well be in my dotage and ready to be put out to grass.

 As I see it I have three options; wait for the FFF to find it’s feet in Europe; join AAPGIA; work my way through the GAIA system.

 I am not political in any sense of the word but there are some background politics involved with both AAPGIA and GAIA. I don’t really know what they are, I don’t want to. All I want is to do is to be able to teach fly casting without being concerned that one or the other looks on me as being somehow less than they are because I am not a member of their organisation. It’s just ridiculous, it’s not rocket science, the world isn’t going to end tomorrow because I am one or the other, we teach fly casting for Gods sake, not brain surgery.

 I am slightly more inclined towards GAIA at the moment. From what I have seen they have made huge improvements in their certification process. I have seen a qauntum leap in their casting program, which, to be honest was a bit of a joke not so long ago and they appear, from where I stand, to be the ones on the move.

 I have a huge respect for most of the AAPGIA instructors I know and it wouldn’t do me any harm to work my way through their system either.

 Or, I could take my FFF Master’s and use that to help increase the FFF’s profile in Europe. I don’t mean that Mike Heritage becoming a Master would raise the FFF’s profile, I mean that being a Master would allow me to help with certification of CCI’s.

 I hate decisions, but I am going to have to make one soon.


August 15, 2009 - Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage | , ,


  1. Hiya Mike.

    If you mean AAPGAI all I can say is that most people that want to learn to cast or indeed improve their casting tend to gravitate towars thses instructors. It could be argued that there are more of these than others that are fully qualified, but virtually all referrals I see online are for instructors with AAPGAI.

    Obviously instructors with different bodies argue this and that, but you know the strange thing is that the AAPGAI guys do get most of the work.

    The real shame of it all is that there are great instructors out there irrespective of what qualification they have but you do know that with AAPGAI instructors they have gone the whole nine yards, take the syllabus and you will see what I mean.

    By the way one of the best instructors I have seen (and I have seen many) does not have a single qualification.

    Comment by Roger | August 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. hey Mike,

    most of the UK FFF i know have brought up this issue.
    you’re right, it’s gonna take time before the FFF is generally recognized in countries that already have established casting organizations.
    as Roger points out, i would definitely include AAPGAI certification as well.
    did you know that as a CCI you can go directly to Advanced Trout and skip Provisional ?

    as for the MCCI, i’m totally behind you on this. being able to easily train and certify CCI’s is what’s really going to get things moving. go for it !
    when the time is right that’s exactly my plan, with the THCI as well.
    long term goals keep me motivated.

    have fun in Hungary !


    Comment by Marc LaMouche | August 17, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi Mike
    sorry that I missed you at the CLA, I did try to find you though! We must catch up on the river this autumn.
    Regarding all the different qualifications in the uk. So confusing I agree!!! As you know I qualified at level 2 with the GAIA casting assesment last year. It’s been the best thing that I ever did and I am now working 5 days a week (or more) teaching and guiding. Okay I’ve been lucky and I’m in the right location and I know that I still have masses to learn but what I will say is that GAIA are trying really hard to get it right. Last October I went to their cdp weekend and I learn lots – they had FFF guys there from Amerca and Italy and a lot of the top instructors are both AAPgai and Apgai and some FFF!!!!! The whole weekend was a great learnng experience with everyone exchangng ideas and I really feel that they are trying their hardest to move forward and be positve. After all we just want to teach to the best of our ability.
    Although I must admit that I am unsure about which qualification would be right to move forward for myself. i guess as some time I’ll have to bite the bullet and go for a ‘higher qualification’. In the meantime I know that I am continually learning on the river and I guess we could do with a guiding qualification too. Catchng fish and casting are 2 very different things,
    Catch up soon I hope
    lol Glly

    Comment by Gilly | August 18, 2009 | Reply

  4. Alright mate. I’ve said this before and it looks like I’ll say it again! AAPGAI!!! I’m not into politics either, but for me they are the highest standard in the uk (not including the fff). Just out of interest, why are you leaning towards GAIA?
    I’m biased because I’ve got mates in AAPGAI, but they really are the bollocks when it comes to casting and teaching. I think you’d have a lot to offer them, and I think you’d get loads back. I also think their syllabus is the most difficult by a country mile, which is a good thing no? The advanced looks easy on paper but it isn’t. I’m not sure it would stretch your super human abilities, but I’m sure you’d gain something from it.

    Comment by Steve | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  5. By the way, not wishing to bang on although clearly I am… There is not one FFF MCI in england or scotland who isn’t an AAPGAI master. I reckon it’s cool to have both and it gives you something to do doesn’t it?!!

    Comment by Steve | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  6. Hi Mike

    You know where I stand with all this mate.

    What I would like to say is that I am two years into a three year assessors apprenticeship within AAPGAI. Thinking logically about it, this unique system of actually training assesors is pretty what you would expect from an association that regards itself as truly proffesional.

    I am currently experiencing learning how to handle situations from the most frightened of Provisional candidates, right through to the most confident of Masters candidates, would you agree that the expereince of learning how to be balanced in such situations is paramount to becoming a well rounded assessor of the future…?

    I have not seen this programme incorperated into any other organisation as of yet, but I may be wrong, however I also see things that we dont do that others do, but the point here is that the emphasis within AAPGAI is simply to stay focussed on what we desire to do best, and that is to simply do it right, fair and always to the standard layed down.

    I think you could bring a lot to AAPGAI Mike, however that desicion lies only with yourself mate. The best piece of advice I could offer you is to simply attend both associations open days and then make a desicion after you have saw them both with your own eyes…

    Take care mate, I really look forward to the next time we meet…

    Best Regards


    Comment by Lee | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. Hi Lee,

    Nice to see you here and thanks for the comment.

    Let’s see, how long have we know each other, four years? If anyone epitemises the way AAPGIA helps to improve and give confidence to someone who is committed to improve it has to be you. You are a complete revelation.

    Will there be an assessment in the spring?

    Comment by Mike Heritage | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hi Mike

    Thankyou very much for the kind words sir, I can advise that yes there will be an assessment weekend and open day in the spring. This I assume will be held at cockermouth in Cumbria again like last year.

    I think it is fantastic that since the day you passed you FFF CCI you have always looked towards the next level, that is the Mike Heritage I know and one of which I am exceptionaly proud to have met..

    Best regards


    Comment by Lee Cummings | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  9. Aw, shucks, I’m blushing.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  10. Steve,
    If you are going to post things in public make sure they are true. There are at least 4 FFF MCI that are members of GAIA and and three of them that I know are not AAPGAI instructors.

    Comment by Frank Williams | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  11. Hi Frank,

    That is interesting, I didn’t know that either. It does however highlight the problem. I know a couple of FFF Masters in the UK but where are all the others? There does not seem to be any form of interplay between FFF members as there is in the other two organisations.


    Comment by Mike Heritage | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  12. Mike , I think the reason they don’t shout about it is that they are happy with what GAIA is going for them as an organization and have completed the FFF MCI for their own personal development rather than what the FFF can do for them.


    Comment by Frank Williams | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  13. My mistake Frank. Was just trying to illustrate the fact that they aren’t just in the FFF and are part of a uk organisation too.

    Comment by Steve | October 27, 2009 | Reply

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