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Why see an Instructor?

Bob and Vera Carlson, GAIA Instructors, explain why they think it's good idea to see an instructor.

Golfers and tennis players invariably look to the professionals for instruction before starting to play their sport, so why is it that anglers often have all the gear but no idea? They head for their local water, copy casting from the angler next to them and the line ends up in a heap in front of them. This is a very frustrating way to start and fly fishing is often abandoned at the first hurdle.

If you book a lesson with a GAIA casting instructor they will set you off on the correct path from the start. As a beginner it is even better to have a lesson before you have bought any equipment because your instructor will suggest the appropriate tackle for you to purchase based on the type of fishing you will be doing. Most instructors will have good-quality equipment for you to use during your lesson.

A typical lesson for a beginner could be three hours. It must always include a safety briefing and could then cover looking at the equipment and how it works, some basic knots, assembling the equipment and tying up leaders, casting both roll cast and overhead, bite detection and how to play a fish, fly selection and practical fishing. It’s important that the lessons are fun and the budding angler is usually confident to go fishing alone after his or her lesson with a high chance of success.

A seven-hour session is ideal for a more experienced client who has been fishing for a while, often developed a few casting faults, wants to learn some new casts to help with wind, distance and suchlike and progress to learning different fishing techniques.

Why see an instrucor


“My fly line lands in a heap in front of me.” “I always get knots in my leader.” “My arm aches when casting.” “Other people cast much further.” “I’m always hooking the bushes behind me.”

These are some of the casting problems instructors frequently hear and if you book a two-hour session with a GAIA instructor this will usually be sufficient time to solve the issues – they will ask you to relax and cast as you normally would and while you are casting, your instructor will be looking where the faults occur. If there are several they will be sorted out one at a time in a structured manner with explanations about what is happening and how to correct the fault.

Have you booked that expensive tropical fishing trip? You need to be able to double haul, oval cast, cope with the wind and manage your line. Do you fancy river fishing and need to know how to control your line in those currents? Do you have to go home when the wind blows? Does your cast have a loud wooosh, wooosh, wooosh sound, which Vera likens to a flock of Canada geese flying overhead?

Your GAIA instructor is qualified to help you with any of the above or other casting and fishing issues you may have to help you thoroughly enjoy the sport. This could include showing you leader make-up, knot tying, choosing the correct fly and how to fish it, how to reduce your false casting (remember there are no fish in the sky) and how to choose properly balanced tackle. Remember, fly fishing should be fun and the casts effortless.

If you would like a GAIA Instructor to help you put theory into practice, use Find An Instructor below to get in touch with your local GAIA instructor and have a chat about your requirements.  

Enter a city, town, place or postcode into the box below to find nearby GAIA Instructors.

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