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The path to becoming an instructor and what it entails.

 
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Lighthouse
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:01 am    Post subject: The path to becoming an instructor and what it entails. Reply with quote

A couple of threads have recently highlighted misunderstanding and misconceptions about rods, lines, associated 'casting issues' etc which have generated well intentioned but often inaccurate and misleading comment and I wondered if there'd be any interest among members here about how one starts on the path to becoming an instructor and what it involves.

Firstly some history or background. In England there are two game and fly angling specific organisations that offer instructor certification - GAIA (Game Angling Instructors Association) and AAPGAI (Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors). AAPGAI was formed in 2001 by a group of GAIA instructors as a result of a difference of opinion about the direction GAIA was taking. Much like Brexit, at the time it was not a happy 'divorce' but time and common sense has prevailed and I have many good friends in both camps.

I am a member of GAIA and consequently can only talk about my association's certifications, procedures etc. GAIA has over 400 members throughout the UK, Republic of Ireland, Europe and the USA, we're regionally organised and I'm the Regional Representative for the Midlands. So, why and how did I start on the path to becoming an instructor. From the outset it has to be said that I did not start because I had an ambition to become an instructor but I had been fly fishing since I was 16 and wanted to make sense and have a deeper understanding of what I was doing. Certainly, in my head, I was sure I could cast pretty well . . . boy did I have a lot to learn! I've now been an instructor for some 10 years or more.

Today, the journey begins as joining as an Associate Member . . .

https://gameanglinginstructors.co.uk/join.html

. . . and working through and Game Angling Instructor Certificate syllabus for the award of GAIC and full membership. Associate members are put in touch with a mentor to help guide them through the requirements and standards expected in the various aspects of the syllabus.

What to expect? The GAIC Syllabus is comprehensive and detailed and demands that you can not only perform the various tasks but also explain and teach each aspect. For example . . .

1. a
Explain, demonstrate and teach rod grips, rod handle shapes, rod actions, strength, styles of hand, arm and body movements and efficiency.
Open and closed stances with the benefits and possible disadvantages of the various stances explained.
Explain demonstrate and teach rod loading, stroke length and arc in relation to distance and loop size including relative stroke lengths and discuss timing.


2. a
Explain, demonstrate and teach the basic “pick-up and present” cast to a distance of approx. 45ft.
The demonstration will be done with one hand only.
The cast will show consistent narrow loops front and back.
There are to be no tailing loops, front or back.
The cast will be done slowly enough to allow the observer a good view of the cast.
Variations of the rod plane from vertical and variations of style are acceptable provided that the casts are demonstrated with efficiency and the style can be transferred.
Smooth lifting of line from the surface and positive acceleration of the rod tip to a precise stop in both directions.


There are 7 tasks in Section 2 and 7 sections altogether encompassing overhead casting, roll casting, slack line and presentation casts and single handed spey casting.

I hope this goes some way to dispel the often held belief that certification involves having someone watch you cast a bit for 20 minutes and you walk away as an instructor!

The reality is that to achieve the standard takes many months of dedicated practice and involves a considerable investment in time, effort, and it has to be said, money! The sense of achievement however is worth the effort.

Cautionary word . . . having achieved instructor 'status' (?) do not expect to fund the lifestyle of a country gentleman, travelling the land and visiting fisheries in a Range Rover!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is obvious from your explanation that you need to be a very accomplished fly fisherman to even attempt accreditation and hats of to all that achieve/attempt it.
I have taught a few sports in my time on a voluntary basis and can guarantee that it is well worth the time and dedication it requires.
I have a funny feeling that fly fishing is not going to be one of the sports that I excel in but its fun and that is what its all about.
If you ever see a bloke in yorkshire casting and you cant help yourself giggling ......that me and stop it lol
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VGB

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top post, I’ve had 2 attempts at GAIC and failed both. Just getting engaged with casting has improved my fishing no end.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A group of us are currently undertaking our Level 2 coaching course, which while not the specialized qualification Paul describes, is a way to legitimately work in schools and with other children or young people teaching fishing. What I've found (and this is coming from a person who'd usually describe himself as very outgoing) is that the mechanics and knowledge of the lesson plans is the easy part. Delivery is the most nerve racking aspect, particuarly in front of an invigilator. Stuff that I can do backwards without a problem under normal circumstances suddenly becomes hurried and garbled. This is easing off for me now but just goes to show that by adding the 'artificiality' to a situation, it can cause difficulties for some. Obviously, scrutiny is very important on courses but I sometimes wonder how many otherwise suitable candidates fall at this fence through their own nervousness, a nervousness that just isn't nortmally with them in the real world.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for shedding some light on the practical and teaching skills that casting instructors need to master in order to gain their qualification Lighthouse. The introduction / history was especially useful as until now I wrongly believed that the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors was a progression route for GAIA members, rather than a similar organisation offering basically the same thing.

Rich - just out of interest is your coaching qualification the Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Angling organised by the Angling Trust?

On a general note I congratulate everyone who seeks to put something back into angling through gaining qualifications like those above. I only hope that angling doesn't suffer from some of the issues that bedevil the training sector generally where a multitude of providers and Awarding bodies sometimes offer very similar qualifications which often leads to confusion.

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VGB

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Public speaking is a skill that not only needs to be learned but needs to be practiced regularly. Personally, I work much better without a scripted approach and with props. My casting suffered in both assessments, where I struggled to hit the required 75ft distance but was like a metronome at 85ft in practice.

I was asked a question about casting by Dartmoor Navigator on the casting in wind thread that I didn’t get to answer. Does he frequent these shores? If so, I will answer him here.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VGB wrote:

I was asked a question about casting by Dartmoor Navigator on the casting in wind thread that I didn’t get to answer. Does he frequent these shores? If so, I will answer him here.


Dartmoor Navigator doesn't exist on this forum. What was it about casting into the wind?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grey Hackle wrote:
VGB wrote:

I was asked a question about casting by Dartmoor Navigator on the casting in wind thread that I didn’t get to answer. Does he frequent these shores? If so, I will answer him here.


Dartmoor Navigator doesn't exist on this forum. What was it about casting into the wind?

I'm not aware of him although he might be signed under a different name. Very Happy


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Lighthouse
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whistlekiller wrote:
A group of us are currently undertaking our Level 2 coaching course, which while not the specialized qualification Paul describes, is a way to legitimately work in schools and with other children or young people teaching fishing. What I've found (and this is coming from a person who'd usually describe himself as very outgoing) is that the mechanics and knowledge of the lesson plans is the easy part. Delivery is the most nerve racking aspect, particuarly in front of an invigilator. Stuff that I can do backwards without a problem under normal circumstances suddenly becomes hurried and garbled.


Whether GAIC or Level 2 the actual demands are very similar. It is a common misconception that GAIA and APGAI qualifications are specific 'casting qualifications', they are not, they are instructor / fishing qualifications and the difference isn't subtle. Success is dependant upon not only being intimate with the requirement and knowledge demanded of the curriculum but also being able to demonstrate and deliver that understanding in client / pupil, non technical speak. In many ways I'm lucky in that, by profession, I'm a teacher and as such delivering a 'lesson' with detailed objectives and defined outcomes is not a strange phenomena for me. The real test comes when you're 'performing' at a Gamefair and you're presented with differing 'punters' every 20 minutes, each with their own level of experience and expectation, but each with their own desire to be able to achieve something previously unattainable. That's when you find out if you can cut it as an instructor!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grey Hackle wrote:

Dartmoor Navigator doesn't exist on this forum. What was it about casting into the wind?


The answer given to a question about casting into wind was that a constant tension cast works well, my response was there is no such thing as a constant tension cast. It’s likely that the answer was lifted out of some online instructor literature and used out of context. Firstly, the constant tension cast is more commonly called a Belgian or oval cast

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw3urruyS18

In every instance I have seen a Loop is formed in this case, at which point the rod unloads and straightens. If there was any significant tension the rod would stay bent. Tension is just the sum of forces acting on the line.

In practice, tension on the line at the rod tip rises as you pull on it with the rod tip during the casting stroke, drops to zero as the Loop forms, then rises in the opposite sense due to the direction change as the line straightens in front of you. At this point,the line is pulling on the rod and the rod is pulling back. Tension then increases again as you start on the back cast. The significant forces that you should think about are the rod pulling on the line at one end, the fly pulling the other way with drag and gravity pulling everything down. Hopefully, you can see tension is not constant but this is difficult to explain over the Internet and much better face to face. In my opinion, it is better to describe the cast as an oval cast rather than trying to lump some mystical technical qualities onto it, the reader is more likely to understand it.

Probably of more importance is the cast tends to wide, slow moving loops which are going to catch the wind on either the front or back cast. It has some utility if you have the wind coming on to your casting arm because it keeps the fly away from you but it is far better to keep the loop in plane with you so that it is horizontal to the ground. The best solution is to keep the fly and line downwind of you if possible.
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Lighthouse
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VGB wrote:
Grey Hackle wrote:

Dartmoor Navigator doesn't exist on this forum. What was it about casting into the wind?


The answer given to a question about casting into wind was that a constant tension cast works well, my response was there is no such thing as a constant tension cast. It’s likely that the answer was lifted out of some online instructor literature and used out of context.



One of the great difficulties of discussing or describing casting has forever been in the use of language, particularly language or terms which have very real and defined meaning - such as force, tension etc - words that are often in common usage but used inaccurately. What actually happens during a fly casting stroke is pretty complex but can be modelled and explained in detail in terms of the mathematics involved. I have a close friend and fishing partner who is a maths professor, leading expert in mathematical modelling and fluid dynamics - in the past we've had to miss fishing trips because he's had to go and talk to the Navy about their torpedoes not swimming straight etc Rolling Eyes - and he loves talking to me about such matters. Sadly, my degree is in Fine Art, Painting & Sculpture (basically colouring in between the lines) and I have not the slightest idea what he's talking about.

There is a real danger in using inappropriate terms in fly casting but the difficulty comes in trying to explain, in laymen's terms what's happening during a casting stroke to someone who's not a physicist but an angler who wants to improve his / her casting to enjoy their fishing more. Vince is absolutely right, there is no cast where 'tension' is constant. In a situation where a rod is flexing / unflexing and a line is both forming and unrolling a loop logic demands that the tension in the line cannot be constant. I much prefer the term 'Oval Cast' as it more accurately describes the desired movement of the rod / line to create the desired effect and it's a far easier concept for the caster to appreciate.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your friend doesn’t work at Bedford by any chance? I used to work with an aerodynamicist that was scared of flying, he used to go to meetings in Europe by train. It’s likely that he couldn’t get his sums to add up. Oval cast gets my vote as well, it paints a picture most people can understand.
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Lighthouse
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VGB wrote:
Your friend doesn’t work at Bedford by any chance? I used to work with an aerodynamicist that was scared of flying, he used to go to meetings in Europe by train. It’s likely that he couldn’t get his sums to add up. Oval cast gets my vote as well, it paints a picture most people can understand.


Emeritus Professor Nigel Steele. late of Coventry University and the Institute of Mathematics . . . also would not fly (he could prove mathematically that they couldn't!) and yes, he'd organise and attend European conferences by train . . . it's part of their genetic make-up I believe. Utterly encyclopaedic about trains, a train spotter even. We used to go to Sutherland, by motor rail every year and one year he told me he had a treat for me on the return journey . . . I was expecting a new curry house, bar etc . . . it was a trip around the engine sheds at York!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guy I was thinking of was called Dr Foster. He had a long running feud with a German aerodynamicist; sitting in a meeting with those two was like the argumentative professors in the Mary Whitehouse experience.

Back on topic, you can demonstrate the complete loss of tension on loop formation by casting over the tip, using only your rod hand, with the line trapped by your finger on the rod butt. You’ll see the line between your finger and the stripping ring go slack as the loop passes over. Instead of people tying themselves in knots by talking about tension, it’s much easier to discuss and demonstrate taut and slack line.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Lighthouse. From someone who has been there and done it it sums it up very well.
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