Becoming a Fly Fishing Instructor

I get asked many times “How do I become an instructor”, this article will hopefully give you some idea on the steps to take.

AwardsFirst off no matter how good an angler or caster you think you are or even the many years of experience you have under your belt, their is always room for improvement and this never stops even when you become qualified.

Embarking on this journey is a life changer in every sense, commitment and many sacrifices along the way need to be made.  The good news is that none of them are life threatening.  A decision needs to be made as to why you want to do it, it can be a personal goal, or giving something something back to the sport you are passionate about.  Its certainly not a decision to be made lightly, and if you think its a way of get rich quick from instructing and guiding in the UK then think again.

I can tell you now that the journey is full of highs and lows, and you will meet some of the most remarkable instructors and anglers along the way.  Its not going to be easy and why would it, you will also have to consider the financial implications associated with the journey, don’t let this put you off, but I pull no punches and will let you know that this is a factor to consider.

Ok then so where do you start and what organisation to affiliate to ; I have allegiances to two organisations one of which is GAIA (Game angling Instructors Association) and the other is IFFF (International Federation of Fly Fishers).  Take a look at both of the organisations web site links I’ve provided and decide upon your chosen qualification.  You will need to become an associate member of either organisation before starting the journey.

Once you’ve decided upon this, then its another decision as to which discipline you want to take. You must however start off with the initial qualification before progressing to any advanced qualification.

GAIA (Single Handed / Double Handed / Fly Dressing)

  • GAIC (Game Angling Instructors Certificate) – Info
  • APGAI (Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor) – Info

Following your success in obtaining the GAIC qualification you must wait at least twelve months before continuing towards the APGAI qualification if its in the same discipline.


  • CI (Certified Casting Instructor) – Info
  • MCI (Master Casting Instructor)- info
  • THCI (Two Handed Casting Instructor) – info

So what are the next steps now you’ve  decided on at least one of the above?, its time for some hard work and commitment.  With either organisation its advisable to get in contact with an accredited mentor in you local area  – Instructor searches on both sites can lead you to a mentor.   This is highly recommended and invaluable but not necessary,  if you wish to go it alone then good luck but in my opinion you will come unstuck on assessment day and not reach the standard required.  Why am I adamant you see a mentor? well from my own experience the mentors guide you through the process and prepare you in the right way.

The mentor is someone to bounce your ideas off and take you through the various tasks required and they prepare you for your chosen assessment.  Mentors have got the knowledge and know how to guide you through step by step in preparation for your big day. Don’t just stick with one mentor, put yourself out their and see many others as this will give you a broader knowledge and understanding of the variety of tasks you will undertake.

Going to a mentor does not guarantee you make the grade, it will at least give you the best preparation possible to achieve your goal.  The hard work is not only with your mentor but with yourself.  You must immerse yourself with the array of casting and teaching publications that are out their, practice your casting techniques time and time again.  Be prepared to sacrifice initially twelve months if not more of your angling time, this will certainly take a back seat as your journey progresses.

Preparing for the casting tasks is key but you must also require the in depth knowledge and mechanics of east cast you perform.  Not only that,  your teaching skills and how to teach will need to be apparent during the assessments.  A selection of tasks will be EDT (Explain Demonstrate & Teach) so a full understanding of what and why you are doing it is crucial.

To broaden your knowledge and teaching skills it may be beneficial to attend the various events that GAIA & IFFF hold here in the Uk. All of which are communicated to you when you become an associate member.

I do hope that this has given you some insight and not put you off in your quest to become an Instructor, yes its hard work but also very rewarding.  If you have any questions about the process or you require further information then get in touch with me or follow the above links to the two organisations.

Remember “You only get out what you put in”

Best of Luck


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