Saturday, February 6, 2016

Recommendations, Hints and Suggestions to CI Candidates

How to prepare:
The Casting Instructor certification is made up of three parts.  They are:
1. Workshop
2.  Performance test
3.  Written test

To prepare successfully for this test, you must thoroughly familiarize yourself with all three parts of the test.  All three parts must be completed successfully and signed by the tester/presenter to complete the process.


The minimum requirements for a workshop are:

1.  A brief history of the IFFF Casting Instructor Certification Program (CICP) can be viewed or downloaded in pdf format from here.

2.  At least one item relating to teaching skills. A selection of teaching skills workshops can be found at:

               Instructional Articles

Aside from that, there are no further requirements for content so workshops can vary a great deal.  Many times the testing venue will limit the scope of the workshop and it may occur before or after the written or performance parts.

To familiarize yourself with the different types of workshops given and to access some helpful information, go to the Workshop section of the Casting Instructor Program on the FFF web site and download the info.

There are two kinds of workshops and both will fulfill the workshop requirement.  The first kind of workshop is the workshop associated with the actual test.  This is primarily a last minute opportunity to have some questions asked and answered and to familiarize the candidates with the FFF CICP and its aims and goals.  It is also used to find out more about the candidates and to introduce the examiners to the candidates.

The second kind of workshop is the Preparation Workshop.  This is a workshop taken well before the actual testing and it does two things.  It will give the candidate an accurate synopsis of their casting and what needs to be corrected or improved.  It will also help the candidate prepare for the testing by answering their questions and covering concepts and terms that are used.  As teaching and instructing flycasting is the goal of this certification teaching scenarios may be used.

While either will fulfill the requirement, it is to the candidate’s advantage to seek out a Prep Workshop to help them succeed. 

Do not assume that any workshop will fulfill the requirement.  Check with the workshop presenter that a particular workshop will fulfill the requirement as not every workshop is recognized to do so.  The workshop must be given by an MCCI or a CBOG and the content must also be recognized.   


The questions may cover all aspects of casting mechanics such as tailing loops, path of rod tip, double haul, casting arc, casting stroke as well as equipment questions on fly rods,  fly lines, backing, leaders, tippet and knots.  There may be other questions on other topics as well.

In all three parts of the certification process, the emphasis is on flycasting instruction and how well the candidate understands teaching flycasting.  This includes casting mechanics as well as other related topics.


The performance or casting portion of the test is published on the FFF web site.  You may feel that you can already do all the tasks, however, there is an expected degree of proficiency that is required.   All casts must be made with an ease and accuracy that would be expected of an instructor.

During the test keep in mind that as an instructor you may have to provide a visual or snapshot of the casts for your students.  It may be the first time that a student has seen flycasting so it has to look good.  Your casts must look easy and to do so, you must slow down your casting.  This requires a great deal of control.  This is called a “teaching cast” or “demonstration cast” which is quite different from a fishing cast.  It is an important part of the casting portion of the performance test.

The casts must be identical on both the forward and back casts with no tailing loops or no lazy loops.  Tasks must be done in one or two attempts.

With every task, good form is as important as completing the task. e.g. The distance cast is not just about reaching the distance, but reaching the distance with good form which involves good loops on the backcast as well as the forward cast as well as good form while double hauling and shooting line.

Practice, when possible with a partner who will be honest with you.  Try to arrange a pre-test with a MCCI or CBOG so you can go through the test to see how well you perform.   

Practice specific tasks on the test alone and practice them out of order.  Do not assume that the test will flow from Task 1 to Task 2 to Task 3, etc.  Different examiners and different testing venues may require that the tasks be rearranged or follow a different  sequence.

When you read the task, examine what is behind the task.  In order to perform the task successfully, ask yourself, “What do I need to know and what do I need to do with my cast?  How would I teach this cast?  What information do I need to tell a student?  Can I think of another way to get the idea across if the first attempt doesn’t work?”  A good instructor has more than one way of instructing, sometimes two or three or four. 

Know how to do a task correctly and how to do it incorrectly.   Practice accuracy on targets out-of-order so that you can perform the accuracy tasks easily.

Are you ready for the test?

You will be asked if there is any physical ailment which would impair your ability to cast or do the test.   Is your general health good enough to take the test?  Don’t waste your time or the examiner’s time if you know that you can’t perform the tasks at this time due to a physical ailment or sickness.

More info on Equipment

The maximum rod length, line size and leader length allowed are as follows: 

Rod:     Maximum 9’0” (2.72 meters)
Line:    Maximum #7 floating. (177-193 grains)
Leader: Minimum length of 7 ½ feet  (2.27 meters)     

Rods:  Any fly rod that is 9 ft. long or shorter, that is designed for a 7 weight line or lighter. We go by what the rod manufacturer prints on the blank. There are many designs of fly rods.  Find one that allows you to demonstrate the tasks easily.  It may not be a rod you would take fishing. 

Lines: Any floating line may be used. Any taper may be used, but all tasks must be done with the same rod and line combination.  While you can use any line size you want up to the maximum, which is a #7 weight, it is to your advantage to use a rod and line combination at the heavier end of the spectrum. Why?  A heavier line will allow you greater control of your line and casting, especially in a windy situation.  A heavier line will also allow you to cast the 75’ distance with greater ease. Do not put yourself at a disadvantage by using too light an outfit.  There are different designs of lines as well.  Find one that lets you cast and demonstrate easily.

The marking of lines for the accuracy tasks is prohibited.

Color of line:  You may use any color, but examiners prefer bright colored lines.  If they cannot see your line, you may have to repeat tasks until he/she has seen it well enough to make a proper judgment.  

Leader:  While the length of leader is stated, there are no requirements for the size of tippet allowed.  Use a leader with a good taper that turns over the fly but do not use a leader with a very fine tippet.  A fine tippet does not turn over the fly well, especially with a wind.  If you want your leader to turn over all the time, ‘beef up’ the tippet size. 

Warning:  Don’t change equipment without practicing with it.  Problems can occur when you borrow or buy a new rod, line or leader type just before the test.  If the equipment doesn’t allow you to perform the tasks, it puts you at a disadvantage and you may not pass the test.

Maximize your equipment choices by choosing well to give you, the candidate, your best opportunity. 

How to Answer Questions

A good answer is a short answer.  A short answer is an answer that has been condensed from the background info that is infinitely greater.

Start with the short answer, however be prepared to expand on that short answer at the examiner’s request.

Explain and Demonstrate Questions

This is the teaching portion of the performance test and is a very important part of the test. Most problems occur when the ‘explain and demonstrate’ don’t match.  The demonstration must match the explanation and vice versa.
Be versatile – think of ways to explain aside from casting.  For example: The demonstration of loops can include using the fly line on the ground to show loop shapes, sizes, etc.

This portion also shows your teaching experience.  Be prepared to thoroughly explain, demonstrate and teach the task. This may include fault correction and more than one way to accomplish or explain a task. 

Be sure to understand from your examiner what level of student you are teaching. Highly advanced students may need a different level of explanation than a complete novice. Have all levels of explanation ready.

Suggested Reading

There is a lot of good information on casting out there.  Good books, good magazine articles and good DVDs to name a few!

Articles that appear in magazines, journals or newsletters are a prime source of information.  Do not overlook them in your preparation reading.

A great source of articles written by members of the CICP are published in the Loop, which is the newsletter of the FFF Casting Program.  All back issues of the Loop are on the FFF web site to access by anyone.

The Master Study Guide has a list of books, videos (DVDs) and articles included.  Even though you are studying for the first level (CI), don’t be afraid to use this Study Guide to help you prepare.  These articles are a good source of information, but are the toughest to access.  All of the articles included in the MCI Study guide can now be accessed on the FFF web site.


When you have passed the CI test, you may look back and find that it seemed easy.  If you prepare yourself thoroughly, you will find it easy and you will also find that you are a better caster, more knowledgeable and a better instructor.

Teaching is the best experience and the most successful candidates are those who have a greater degree of teaching experience.  So don’t forget to practice your teaching (on real students) because we can tell!  Good luck.



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