Become a Fly Casting Instructor


How to become a Fly Casting, Fly Fishing Instructor

by Andrew Toft



I am a fully certified Fly Fishing instructor based near Glasgow and I am often asked by clients about the process involved in how to progress and become a fly fishing instructor. Subsequently a lot of my time is now taken up mentoring individuals to become certified in both single and double handed techniques, supporting them to achieve varying levels of qualifications. In the following chapters I will hopefully be able to give you an insight and some guidance on the various routes you can take in pursuit of your goal. Many people want to become an instruor for different reasons. It may be that they have reached a point where they feel that they can pass on the knowledge and skills that they have learned to others. It may be a personal goal that they want to fulfil. Whatever the reason, it requires much commitment and many sacrifices, studying and also practicing. Although I have qualifications with them all, I personally have affiliation with two main fly fishing organisations - AAPGAI (Association if Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors and the FFF USA (Federation of Fly Fishers) of which I am also a member of the FFF THCI committee.



Becoming an instructor is not something that can be taken lightly no matter how long you have been fishing for and how well you cast, there will be numerous areas that will require a great deal of studying and skills.


To become a good  you will have to have an in depth knowledge of the rules and mechanics that govern effective Fly-casting but be able to provide simplified definitions. You will have to analyse and cure casting problems and provide direction and encouragement. More importantly you must also be able to demonstrate excellent casting technique and teaching skill. A good instructor will have to listen, be patient and communicate effectively with his or her pupils. However, there is no better reward than introducing someone to fly fishing and teaching them the knowledge and skills that will see them on their way.


How to become a Spey Casting Instructor


Where to start: The following links take you to the organisations mentioned above. On here you will find lots of information, literature and resources on fly fishing and tuition.


The Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors. 



There are three possible disciplines within Aapgai as follows

Single handed

Double handed

Fly dressing

There are also three levels in each of the above qualifications:


Provisional, Advanced and Master


In order to sit any of the exams you will have to complete an application form and forward it to the association.


Provisional - Successful completion of the provisional AAPGAI  assessment is the first step to becoming a full member and entitles the individual to some of the benefits associated with full member status. Benefits include support and guidance from some of the best fly fishing instructors in the UK. This however is by no means an easy assessment; the standards are very high. There are also qualifications that are recognised as equivalent to provisional AAPGAI, including the Scottish Game Angling Instructors Certificate and the FFF CI Certification.



AAPGAI  Instructor


The AAPGAI Certification is the core qualification and requires a high level of fly casting and teaching ability. Candidates will be assessed on their understanding of casting mechanics and teaching ability. They will also have to pass a written test and interview where they will be questioned on various topics. Finally they will have to deliver a presentation on a subject of their choice. The process will be demanding and each part has to be passed successfully in order to obtain full AAPGAI instructor status and membership.



 AAPGAI Master Casting Instructor



This level is the highest available fly fishing certification and requires a great deal of technical knowledge and skill.

In addition you will have to maintain a valid first aid certificate, complete a child protection module and submit a Police disclosure each three years to cover the requirements of the organisation.


The following link will direct you to the syllabus for each discipline.




The federation of fly Fishers USA  




The Federation of Fly Fishers originated in North America. Its certification and education program means that there are now several hundred Instructors providing fly casting tuition all over the world. There is a great deal of study material and literature to immerse yourself in which is available on the comprehensive website. It is a fantastic resource with an abundance of information on how to become an FFF instructor. The FFF casting qualifications are as follows:  


Study Material  http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Casting/StudyMaterials/tabid/212/Default.aspx

Certified- CI  The standard Single handed casting qualification - info

Master- MCI  Master certified casting qualification

Two handed Casting Instructor- THCI  Info



The CI test consists of a casting performance test, written and verbal testing and interview.


The Game Angling Instructors Association


The Game Instructors association was created in 1967 and was originally called the APGAI or the association of game angling instructors. It was around 1997 that the organisation changed its name to the Game angling instructor’s association currently known as GAIA. There are a number of qualifications both in single handed and double handed fly casting techniques and also fly tying. The first level is GAIC or game angling instructor and as mentioned above the upper tier qualification APGAI.


How to apply 


It is advisable to register with GAIA as an associate member. This will give you access to the resources on the website and allow you to attend development day’s, however you will not receive the full benefits until you become fully qualified. You must FIRST apply for an application form which you can complete and submit. You will then receive a portfolio containing study material. This will also be used to document your progress towards the technical part of your assessment which will be your ability to provide effective tuition and demonstration in your chosen discipline.You will finally be assessed on your ability to teach and instruct by someone who has the appropriate technical knowledge, skill and casting ability (hopefully)!!!


The Following Link will provide information  http://www.gameanglinginstructors.co.uk/




 The Scottish Anglers National Association 


The Scottish Anglers National Association runs several fantastic certified courses otherwise known as SGAIC. There is lots of information on their site including a E-question paper that you can take to test your knowledge. Follow the link http://www.sgaic.co.uk/SGAIC_quizMk2a.html


The standard for this course has always been kept in high regard as it is assessed by AAPGAI master instructors. The qualification itself is recognised as an Aapgai provisional equivalent. 




Spey Casting and Fly Casting mentoring 




If you are interested in becoming a qualified then I can provide you with a structured mentoring programme in either single or double handed Instructor qualification's. I am based in the Glasgow area in Central Scotland which is also near to Stirling and a car journey away from Edinburgh. I have been a passionate angler all my life and have been providing fly fishing lessons for over fifteen years now. I currently hold the FFF, AAPGAI & APGAI single and double handed  qualifications, some to Master level. I was the first person in Scotland to hold the THCI & AAPGAI masters certification and now work as an active member on the THCI casting committee which was formed by the board of governors. This has allowed me to travel to many destinations and carry out testing and assessments for the Federation of Fly Fishers. This has been a very valuable education to me as it has given me a much better understanding of the variation in fly casting terminology and requirements for each of the UK and American organisations.


Having developed my skills and knowledge over a number of years as a professional instructor I have attained the skills and technical knowledge needed to pinpoint the finest detail, diagnose any faults and provide guidance for improvement. One of the hardest things about becoming a good instructor has to be the verbal communication of identified faults and the ability to give appropriate diagnosis and simplified explanation on how to correct them in order to make progress.


 Whatever your chosen pathway and with whatever organisation, I wish you the very best of luck!


Andrew Toft




Please contact us if you are interested in obtaining first class instruction or have any questions regarding the fly fishing qualifications.

If you would like more details on Andrew's Fly Casting Courses please let us know.