Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To Be a Certified Casting Instuctor or Not

Brian Silvey, veteran guide on the Deschutes and casting guru.
In a recent email the question arose "Have you ever thought about getting your Two Handed Casting Instructor certification? At some point I will probably test, not sure when."

Casting advisor, Marty showing a client a spey cast.
I've thought about it over the years and questions such as;  "Does this make one a better guide." "Are clients more inclined to go fishing with a guide that is a certified casting instructor by the FFF." "Does it really matter it your certified." 

I think there is a place for certified casting instructors and receiving a certification takes time and dedication but does a guide need to be certified to be considered a better guide? When I decided to become a better caster, I took a class from Al Burr, he is an incredible teacher and focuses on the mechanics of a cast, it really helped improve my casting. Becoming a more proficient caster does increase one's odd's in catching a fish.

I also received instruction from some of the best fishing guides in the industry that are not certified such as Brian Silvey, Marty Sheppard and Ed Ward, they gave me casting tips, confidence in fly presentation and knowledge about steelhead fishing.  Al teaches the fundamentals and knows the fundamentals of casting better then anyone, Brian, Marty and Ed teach fishing. I've seen Marty teach a beginner spey caster how to Roll Cast and make a Snap-T in less then an hour and the person is fishing and having fun. Do you think Marty will ever get FFF certified, I highly doubt it.

As a guide, when a person hires me to take them fishing then I like to focus on fishing. It's happened many times, you start working on casting mid-way through a run and the angler forgets their fishing, then they get frustrated and the fly presentation goes to hell.  Personally, I would prefer to focus on fishing and not casting when guide someone fishing but a casting tip or two at the end or beginning of the run, so one's fly turns over better usually doesn't disrupt the fishing.

So I ask, are you more apt to go on a guided trip with a certified instructor? Does it matter?

  Master single hand, certified, spiritual casting advisor, Brian Okeefe

Will I ever become certified, maybe someday....


  1. When I was a cross-country ski instructor, we were paid more per hour if we were a full-cert. This made it worth the time and cost of getting certified.

    If you were to teach tournament casting lessons I could see it, but not so much with a busy guiding schedule. So far, spending a day with Marty has done more for my spay casting than anything else. I also picked up some great pointers from you at the river steward retreat last summer.

    When I recommend you guys to folks, I tell them they will have a good chance of catching fish, their casting will improve, but most of all, they will have a great time.

    1. Hi KJ, Yes with a busy guide schedule it's hard to find time to think about getting certified and catching fish and having fun is the top priority! Thanks for the recommendations you send our way. Cheers, Mia

  2. Hi Mia,
    Interesting question, I don't think it is important for you to get your certification ,unless you plan on teaching Spey casting and want more credibility. Not that you don't already have that as a spey casting champion. Spey casting in general takes time to learn or get good at. Sure anyone can improve their casting to help present the fly better or make better casts to help you make it through a day. Being better at anything in life takes time.
    You as a guide are there to get your client on a fish. Now if a client shows up and doesn't know how to cast that is their fault ,and what are you going to do all day besides try to help them learn to cast ,but they are paying you for that weather they realize it or not. At that point you have your work cut out for you.
    It would be like me showing up to play golf but have never swung a club. If I want to work on my casting and I know I need better skills to do something I think at that point I would look for an instructor. I think most guides really have their casting game down ( good guides that is ) If I was going to go with a guide what I would be looking to improve is presentation of my fly ,line control, what works or doesn't work. That is something a good guide should know and be able to help a " fisherman " improve on. Also I don't like to look at gender in this I like to go with a guide by reputation ,or by my knowledge that they are good at what they do and how they treat their clients. Keep up the good work Mia.

    1. Hi Mike, Marty just read a book called 10,000 hours and how it takes 10,000 hours to be a professional at golf, to be proficient it takes time. Most bad cast can be fixed with a mend. Cheers, Mia