Friday, February 26, 2016

Fly Fishing Schools: Adapt or Die

Some say the sport of fly-fishing is dying.  New equipment sales, and new memberships with conservation groups are consistently declining. Throughout rural America, fly-shops are closing. Volunteers needed for special events such as Casting for Recovery or Project Healing Waters are dangerously low.  Even all female fly fishing groups, once thought to be the next generation of ambassadors, are challenged with membership recruitment and retention issues. Overall, a lot has been thrown at the 'wall,' but very little has stuck, in a long-term sustainable way. Add in climate change, eco-politics, and shifting cultural paradigms, you have a very-very complicated issue.   As complicated as the issues may seem, looking at the basic principles of evolution, may help us understand what is happening, and more importantly, how we must move forward.

Most people know the basic principle of evolution is adapt or die.  Whether fly fishing survives or not,  in my opinion, will depend on adaptation.  To engage in adaptation is to engage in a process of innovation. Sadly, I don't see much innovation in the sport, especially when it comes to education (fly fishing schools).  I see the majority of individuals, groups, and businesses copying each other; all following outdated models. When 99% of people do the same thing (copy each other), this is not adaptation -- it's a slow, self-consuming death.    

At First Cast Fly Fishing (FCFF), we are constantly adapting, innovating and evolving.  Take a look for yourself and compare models:

At FCFF, we don't run an outdated educational model. Our teaching techniques are modern, based on your Emotional Intelligence (E.I.), not a textbook that was written 50 years ago. The majority of our classes are held with only one or two anglers. We define a small group as less than four. If you want to learn how to fish, shouldn't you spend your time in the river fishing, not at a casting pond? Our casting and fishing classroom is the river!
Our E.I. Fly education model is based on 21st century, proven science -- not a century old model. You will not be lost in a large group class. You will constantly engage with your instructor. You learn from your instructor, real fishing conditions, and yourself -- feedback and learning are constant.

Aren't schools suppose to publish a mission statement and teaching philosophy -- we do.  If you pay for an educational program, don't you want the best model, taught by the most qualified experienced teachers? You will be working directly with innovators, creators, and educators who journey with you -- not lecture you.

Standard models are designed to herd students into a weekend program.  Two whole days sounds great, but in reality you may only be paying for 10-12 hours of instruction, and up to 80% of that time might be spent in a classroom, or at a casting pond.

Our Programs

General Lessons and Guiding:

New Hampshire Fly Fishing School:

Maine Fly Fish School -- 100% Wild Fish: