FFF Casting Certification
As a founding Board Member of the FFF Casting Certification Program, I have witnessed the growth of both the Program and the wide-spread acceptance of its validity in the fly fishing community.
There are many candidates each year applying for certification, and I am fortunate to be involved in certifying them both at the Casting Instructor (CI) and Master Casting Instructor (MCI) levels at various events across the U.S.
I find that many candidates at both the CI and MCI levels are not prepared for the rigors of the exams. Most often I witness the following gaps in preparation.
1. Candidates have good head knowledge of casting but are poorly prepared for the practical exam involving both the casting process and the teaching of it. Please remember that the FFF exams are teaching oriented. At both the CI and MCI levels, candidates assume that they need to be able to demonstrate casting ability to the exclusion of teaching. Please do not make that mistake. You must be able to cast, of course, but you must also be able to teach in a way that is easily understood by those who know little or nothing about casting and fly fishing.
2. All those that do the certification want to see the candidates relaxed in their casting and teaching approach. Yes, it is an exam and everyone understands that the candidate will be under some stress. This is in part intentional because the candidate should be able to cast as if he/she had been doing it for years, not for just the past few weeks in preparation for the exam.
3. Spey casting is essential, but so is all the rest of it. You must understand casting and be able to execute it from experience, not just from text-book knowledge. It’s OK to repeat what an experienced caster has written, but then that information must also be in your hands and in your explanation.
4. Don’t try to take the MCI for at least a year after you complete the CI. The difference in these exams is huge. The MCI exam is tough, tough, tough. Remember, anyone that is certified at the MCI level has the privilege in helping to certify CI candidates AND has the potential of being elected to the BOG. Being a BOG member is NOT only an honor, it is a privilege, and it is bestowed only on those who exhibit the highest ability in ALL the teaching aspects and practical aspects of casting and fly fishing. When I test an MCI candidate, I am always asking myself, “Does this person have what is needed to certify CI candidates and to be a BOG member.”
5. Teach, teach, teach, cast, cast, cast, fish, fish, fish. The more you teach under the guidance of someone who is certified, the greater your knowledge base becomes and the easier the exams will be. The more you cast, the easier and more relaxed your casting will be. The more you fish, the broader you overall knowledge base will become.