Questions & Answers

European Fly Fishing Association

Questions and answers

Here you will find frequently asked questions about EFFA and other questions about fly fishing, fly casting and fly tying.


The EFFA (European Fly Fishing Association) is an association of fly fishers in Europe who are aiming to improve the instruction of flyfishing, to promote flyfishing, and to further all aspects of flyfishing, up to and including the environmental protection of our waters. EFFA has the legal status of a club under Swiss Law. At the moment EFFA has got members in more than 20 European countries and overseas.

Early in 2006, the FFF attempted to force their affiliated European partner, FFF-Europe - which was until then independent - to exclusively apply the American standards of flycasting instruction (which are not up to the same standards as the instruction offered in Europe) in their instructors' tests, and to submit all revenue from examinations and membership fees to the American FFF, stating that any failure to comply with these requests would invariably lead to expulsion and subsequent denial of rights to any future use of the name, the logo, or make any reference whatsoever to the FFF. Since the former FFF-Europe members felt that they neither need nor want supervision from across the Atlantic, and that European funds should remain in Europe , they decided to form a new, independent, and strictly European Organization - the EFFA . Europe has a long tradition of flyfishing, and wishes to remain independent in its endeavour to continue that tradition.

Not what the certification programmes are concerned, because the EFFA is an independent European organization of flyfishers. Of course, EFFA is open to any cooperation with similarly-oriented organizations in Europe and overseas, as far as exchange of information, protection of the environment and particularly our waters are concerned.

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Since 2006 all fly fishers or interested people can become EFFA members. After having become an EFFA member please contact our fly tying or fly fishing chairman. He will let you know in which way you can participate in the EFFA projects if you like to do so. Of course you can also contact the chairman in advance.

A club or organisation applies for affiliation membership by sending an e-mail to If the aims of the organisations correspond and the Executive Department cannot find any reason for a refusal an Affiliation Agreement can be signed. See Affiliation Membership.

One aim of EFFA is to make such environmental problems public and to interfere according to our possibilities. In addition to that EFFA may support projects that will improve or protect fisheries. If you are going to plan or start such a project, please let the EFFA Conservation Department know about it and apply for support. The department will have a look at the project and might also support it financially.

Instructor exam

Originally, amateur fly fishers faced a plethora of fly fishing schools and instructors - at sometimes considerable prices - and asked for fly fishing credentials to be sure that they were selecting the proper instructor. Other instructors at the time, such as surfing, sailing or skiing instructors, all needed diplomas to teach - but not fly casting instructors! So, renowned European fly casting instructors worked together to give beginning fly fishers a guideline to select a certified instructor for them.

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No, but if you pass, you have to join EFFA in order to be listed on the EFFA instructor list, get the instructor benefits and use EFFA 's labels and trademarks.

The examination consists of two parts: a practical and an oral one. The practical exam has two parts, too - casting the required distances and practical teaching. Despite of the fact that the candidate has to perform the casting demands prior to the methodical-didactical part and the oral exam, it takes only about 10% of the time of the exam of each candidate. Success in both the practical and the teaching/theory parts is necessary to pass. (See important informations). The teaching part in which the examiners check the abilities of the candidate to teach is the most important one. After passing this part a candidate is allowed to go on with the oral exam.

The oral examination tests the applicant's background knowledge of flyfishing, teaching and material/equipment. The oral exam is very important because it is the only way to check the theoretical knowledge of the candidate. EFFA does not allow multiple choice tests because they can be learned by heart and do not tell an examiner if the candidate really understands everything what is needed to teach effectively.

The minimum requirement for an instructor's examination is two examiners for the basic fly casting instructor exam. A master instructor's examination requires a minimum of three examiners from a minimum of two different countries. This is done to make sure that the standards remain the same all over Europe.

This depends on your casting level and experience. In average a good fly caster with some years of experience in fly fishing prepares seriously for about two years to pass the test. Only real specialsits with a lot of experience and a huge fly fishing background do it faster. Some give themselves about 3-5 years of preparation to be really sure they can pass.

No, examinations may also be held on others occasions which are completely unconnected to shows, for example at our annual instructors' meeting or special EFFA testing weekends. Basic exams may be organized anywhere on "neutral" ground, i.e. not at companies' sales events, provided that the minimum required number of examiners is present and the exam was announced on the EFFA website and is open for any visitor who wants to show up.

EFFA tries to provide candidates as many opportunities as possible to take their exams. This means that the examiners have to travel, and incur costs, which, in the end, will be paid by the candidates or the association. So, if the exam is held at an event where a certain number of examiners are already present and the infrastructure is perfect, costs are significantly reduced. This way, a candidate can choose where he wishes to take the exam. N.B.: Upon becoming an instructor, the candidate will have to perform in public anyway.

No, not at all! The required distances and casting demands have been selected to show if the candidate masters all the elements of casting in practice, too. For practical reasons, the casting part of the exam is at the beginning, because only those who pass the casting part may proceed to the theory exam. This may give the (false) impression that the practical part is more important. Practical casting, however, only makes up about 10% of the time each candidate spends taking the examination, whereas 90% of the time for each candidate is spent on testing knowledge of theory and teaching methods.

If a candidate fails to reach the required distance on just one of their mandatory casts in each of the two parts, examiners may allow a further attempt after all candidates have finished. If the candidate can show a positive result this time, he is permitted to continue to the theory test. If he was not successful, the candidate must repeat the test again on a separate occasion (see EFFA examination rules).

One can try as many times he/she wants to repeat the exam even within the same calendar year. The question remains if it makes sense to just try again but not go on with improving teaching and casting before taking the next attempt to succeed.

No, the particular style of fly casting is unimportant. The casting must simply be correct from a biomechanical point of view, and it must permit the instructor to teach quickly and successfully. EFFA examiners are well trained enough to know, and examine, all casting styles.

Take a look at our schedule on our homepage! Some flyfishing magazines contain information on EFFA examinations, too.

You can register online. See registration.

Please have a look at our website. There you will find the fly casting demands as well as the didactical, methodical and technical demands that are required to pass the test. Besides that you will also find the questions of the theoretical exam there. Read and copy any information materials from this website, and then practice, practice, practice! It is extremely important to be well prepared! If you do not want to prepare on your own you might also attend a preparation course.

Several members of our flycasting board offer specific preparatory classes. You could also contact other EFFA instructors. With some luck you might be able to find a way of participating in workshops or a preparatory weekend training courses (see Preparation courses).

An EFFA -standard Basic Instructor is trained to teach our sport to beginner and slightly advanced fly fishers; the necessary casts and teaching skills are mastered, enabling future students of this instructor to successfully apply basic fly fishing techniques. Master Instructors are instructors demonstrating a very high level of casting and exceptional teaching skills. They are able to train instructors and prepare candidates for the examination. "Master Instructor" is the highest qualification obtainable within the EFFA.

First of all it is necessary to be a master instructor and a member of the Advisory Board of the Flycasting Department. If a master instructor was present at a lot of exams and has shown enough interest (by helping with the tests or even organizing one) in the exams he can be elected by the Flycasting Department an examiner. The EFFA Flycasting Department consists of many of Europe 's top flycasting instructors. They all are examiners for both basic and master exams.

The Flycasting Board may grant honorary EFFA master degrees, provided that the recipient has considerable skills in flycasting/flyfishing and an excellent international reputation. He/she should have done either publications or films to promote fly casting. This requires a decision of the FC board confirmed by the MB.

No, you have to either have passed the basic instructor exam or you have to be either an AAPGAI or FFF instructor.

Some instructors advertise with the title "FFF instructor". These FFF instructors have taken the examinations to the American standards, which is not up to European level. Therefore EFFA does not accept the FFF exam for Europe but regards it as appropriate for the US by all means. EFFA instructors have passed an examination which is internationally recognized as being the most challenging of its kind. This does not only apply particularly to casting skills but also to teaching. Teaching methodology, however, may be quite similar to those offered in different programmes except that in Europe there are much more different casting styles.

AAPGAI and FFF instructors need only pass the casting part of the examination. Their teaching skills are certified already - we acknowledge that. AAPGAI or FFF instructors are also eligible to register directly for the Master Instructor examination.

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