User Backwater drove all the way from Tampa to New Port Richey to provide fly casting lessons to my father. He's truly one of the most talented fly fisherman I've ever seen. What we learned during the course of the morning would've taken weeks, if not months.
Backwater, are you a certified casting instructor, or did you take lessons, or just a self taught natural?
I know a lot of guys with great casting skills, but also being able to convey what you know to a newbie is a separate and distinct skill. It looks like you made someone's day! Kudos to you. The world needs more good guys.
I've been instructing for about 20yrs now. I have several friends that are cert FFI instructors that want me to join FFI and I may do that one day, but they can get trapped in a box and are suggested to only teach "their" method of instruction. However, there are multiple casting techniques out there. So I try to teach like a golf pro where I take a look at their casting style and work to tweak them and make improvements within their casting style that they feel comfortable using, instead of completely changing them up to a completely different style. Then, when they are ready, show them add-on techniques that they can add to their bag of tricks to help them be a more well rounded casters.
The problem is, FFI tries to deter that style of casting instruction and I don't like being trapped in a box. I've specifically had multiple conversations with Lefty on that very subject, over the years and he considered himself a "rebel" within casting instruction circles. So after years of resistance from FFF (now FFI and formerly IFFF (I guess they have an identity crisis! )), sighting he was too "non-conforming" with their casting instruction methods they insist on using, he was giving a honorary Master Casting Cert. (and never applied or was tested), since they wanted to cash-in and take advantage of the fame that surrounded his seminar instructions and such. So go figure.
@Backwater I am a member of FFI. I like the discipline and challenge of thier instructor exam. But I 100% agree with you. I am self taught at fly casting. My natural style is somewhat unorthodox, but I can conform to the more commonly taught styles if I want. I started fly casting at around 12 years old (40 years ago) and I am still learning. I too have had several conversations with Lefty about casting. (I didn't know him, but I happened to catch him at the casting pond at several shows) He basically said what you said about being a rebel, He demonstrated that having a more elliptical path in your casting stroke allowed for a longer arm stroke which in turn allows more time to build up speed and power for longer casts. This he said, was important to saltwater fishing. Totally made sense to me, and although he suggested some alterations in how I was casting, he said that I shouldn't change much. Growing up on the West coast, I had the occasion to talk to Master castor Mel Krieger as well. He was instructor to renown distance castor Steve Rajeff. It is funny how different teaching styles and techniques can be, but still yield fantastic results. I think that what really matters in an instructor is the ability to evaluate and communicate what is going on and how to positively alter it if need be. Sounds like you have that.