Become an AAPGAI Instructor


The Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors is committed to being the best possible organisation of its kind that we can be. We firmly believe that our technical and instructional abilities must be constantly maintained and improved, with the goal of increasing participation in and enjoyment of game angling through raising proficiency levels and retaining those coming into the sport.

With this in mind, the AAPGAI instructor training, assessment and development programme is designed to provide a professional, robust and stepped pathway for candidates to develop their practical skills and teaching techniques for clients of all ability levels. The programme is three-tiered, with Professional, Advanced and Master qualifications available in single-handed casting, double-handed casting and fly dressing disciplines.


AAPGAI also offer an equivalence option to candidates who have already gained an instructor qualification with other like minded organisations, such as APGAI Ireland, GAIA, SGAIC, FFI and EFFA. This offers instructors from these organisations the option to bypass our professional assessment process and apply direct to take either the AAPGAI Advanced, or Masters qualification, dependant upon the qualification they already hold. For further information please Click here to email the AAPGAI Examinations Officer (Graeme Simpson).


Professional Level

The first step on the AAPGAI instructor ladder is our Professional qualification. A Professional level instructor is recognised as having the Association’s required basic level of knowledge and competence in their chosen discipline. Successful candidates are entitled to AAPGAI Professional ‘Associate’ (non-voting) membership status and to hold the high level of public liability insurance we offer to all our members. They are required to pass an examination at Advanced level (see below) before being recognised as full members of the Association.

Although our Professional level syllabi are narrower, they still require candidates to reach the same standard as the wider Advanced and Master levels. Candidates who are successful at Professional level are encouraged to work towards Advanced level examinations. In exceptional circumstances, and if deemed appropriate by the assessment team, an extremely-able candidate may be invited to undertake both Professional and Advanced examinations over the same assessment weekend.


Full details of the AAPGAI Professional level single-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Professional level double-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Professional level fly dressing syllabus
Patterns and reading list for fly dressing assessments
Assessment Booking Form

Advanced Level

Advanced-level membership of AAPGAI is our second-tier and core qualification, providing full membership status to those achieving this significant accolade. An Advanced-level instructor will have achieved a wider technical and teaching knowledge, and ability, within their discipline. The practical examination for this qualification is longer than for Professional level, incorporating more skills and (for casting assessments) distance. Successful Advanced-level candidates are entitled to hold full (voting) membership of the Association.

Note: Advanced fly dressing assessment is available to those who already hold an Advanced single handed or double handed casting qualification (or any other qualification recognised by the Association).


Full details of the AAPGAI Advanced level single-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Advanced level double-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Advanced level fly dressing syllabus
Patterns and reading list for fly dressing assessments
Assessment Booking Form

Master Level

The third and final tier of AAPGAI’s instructor qualifications – Master level – is an optional stage enabling full members to further enhance their skills. It becomes a requirement, however, for anyone wishing to become an accredited AAPGAI assessor and, ultimately, part of the candidate assessment team. Here members must hold at least one Master qualification and complete a three-year training programme in order to gain an Assessment of Competence in the Workplace Environment (ACWE) qualification and become a certified assessor.


Full details of the AAPGAI Master level single-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Master level double-handed casting syllabus
Full details of the AAPGAI Master level fly dressing syllabus
Patterns and reading list for fly dressing assessments
Assessment Booking Form

Getting Started: Potential Candidate Workshops

AAPGAI offers as much support to interested parties and candidates as possible. From the very beginning of their journey, we facilitate their decision-making and preparation for assessment through our regional workshops and mentoring scheme.

AAPGAI workshops are run by Advanced and Master-level members of the Association, who provide an insight into the training, examination, qualification and development of our instructors. They take an in-depth look at the first-tier (Professional) syllabi, offer feedback as to where potential candidates are in their current abilities, address any concerns they may have before deciding whether or not the instructor route is for them, and advise on ‘next steps’. Those with the potential to become Professional level instructors are advised to join the AAPGAI Mentoring Programme should they so wish.

Click here for full details of scheduled AAPGAI Potential Candidate Workshops

Preparing for Assessment: Candidate Mentoring Programme

AAPGAI instructors never stop learning. Our members are constantly developing and enhancing their skills, with many attending regular professional development workshops nationwide as part of our commitment to delivering the highest possible standard of tuition to our clients. A candidate’s Continued Professional Development (CPD) starts with contacting or being assigned a mentor for the period leading up to assessment.

The AAPGAI mentoring programme provides candidates with the opportunity for invaluable one-to-one instruction and pre-assessment in the practical skills and teaching techniques required for our single-handed casting, double-handed casting or fly dressing qualifications. Mentoring is offered at a reduced rate with support from an Advanced or Master-level instructor; ideally someone local to the candidate. On completion of their training, when both candidate and mentor are in agreement that a sufficient level of competence has been achieved, the candidate is then advised to apply for their Professional level examination on the next available date. On receipt of their application, candidates are sent ‘Assessor Notes’ to further assist their understanding of the format and requirements.

Click here to email the AAPGAI Secretary (Peter Hastings) with any questions regarding the Mentoring Programme.

Click here for the locations, qualifications and contact details of current AAPGAI mentors.

Assessment: Overview

Candidates sit their AAPGAI assessments during one of our biannual assessment weekends. These are held in the spring and autumn.

Professional, Advanced and Master-level examinations all consist of a written paper, practical assessment and interview, which are intentionally rigorous in order to uphold the integrity of AAPGAI’s certification process and maintain the high standards of game angling tuition and practise that we promote. There are additional components for Advanced and Master-level candidates; see below.

Our assessment procedures are designed to give candidates ample opportunity to demonstrate their ability in all key areas, as well as to confirm that they reflect the standards required of an AAPGAI instructor. Those who take their examination seriously and prepare well will significantly improve their chances of success. Those taking it lightly may be disappointed!

Assessment: Written Paper

Written papers consist of questions on all aspects of the relevant syllabus, including:

  • Fish biology
  • Fisheries science and conservation
  • Fisheries law
  • Health and safety
  • Angling etiquette
  • Entomology
  • Equipment
  • Knots
  • Techniques
  • Teaching skills

Professional and Advanced-level papers contain twenty questions, with ten at Master level. Candidates can expect both multiple-choice questions and others requiring single-word or more developed answers. Picture questions may also be included. Questions will reflect the expectations of the assessment level and test the candidate’s breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. Given the diversity of assessor backgrounds and specialisms, potential questions could vary considerably. It is impossible to predict questions, so candidates must simply be as well-prepared as possible.

All written papers are completed under invigilated examination conditions and have a one-hour time limit. The pass mark at Professional level is 70%, with 75% required for an Advanced-level pass and 80% at Master level.

Assessment: Practical

All practical assessments for casting take place on running water, with the option to perform some casts on grass if and when necessary. Fly dressing examinations take place in a hotel function or meeting room that is especially reserved for that purpose. Subject to slight alterations, Professional-level candidates can expect to be assessed for two-and-a-half hours, with Advanced and Master assessments being longer at three hours and three-and-a-half hours respectively.

The practical element of assessment is relatively straightforward, in that a candidate can either demonstrate, explain and teach the skills to the required standard or they cannot. All candidates should thoroughly study the requirements of their respective examination and (after receipt of their assessment application) the ‘Assessor Notes’ sent by the secretary. Ultimately candidates must perform, with comfort and ease, all techniques asked of them. The Professional-level casting and fly dressing syllabi are significantly shorter compared to Advanced and Master levels; however performances at all levels should be of the same standard.

As ever, the key here is: practise, practise, practise and practise again! Once a candidate can suitably and consistently perform each aspect of the syllabus, it is then a matter of organising clear and concise explanations that match their demonstrations. Practising and rehearsing until these become second-nature is essential. Initially many candidates find that they use far too many words in their explanations, so it may help to write out and edit these as part of preparation. Rehearsing and practising teaching with mentors and friends will certainly help.

If an assessor asks for something unanticipated on the day, the candidate should not argue but simply establish what is required and do their best to provide it. Sometimes assessors may ask candidates to demonstrate, explain and teach a particular technique just to confirm or dispel a perceived strength or weakness.

Assessment: Presentation/Workshop (Advanced and Master-level candidates only)

Advanced-level candidates are also expected to prepare a presentation on a game angling subject of their choice, and deliver it to their assessors (either indoors or outdoors) using whatever resources the candidate deems appropriate. Occasionally a wider audience drawn from the membership may also be present. Presentations should last for around twenty minutes and the candidate can expect to take questions afterwards. The pass mark here is 75%. At Masters level candidates are required to organise and deliver a twenty-minute teaching workshop on a technique of their choice. Here the pass mark is 80%.

Assessment: Interview and Result

All AAPGAI assessments include a twenty-minute interview taking place in a designated indoor quiet area. Typically, only the candidate and two to three assessors will be present. Occasionally an observer (normally a trainee assessor) may also attend by agreement of the candidate.

Interviews consist of verbal questions on a number of key areas similar to those covered in the written and practical assessments. There will be a review of the candidate’s performance in both of these, with assessors posing questions to confirm the candidate’s breadth and depth of knowledge – especially on any ‘grey areas’ hitherto identified. During the interview the candidate may also be asked to identify fly patterns, demonstrate knots or even show how to carry out simple emergency repairs on rods or other items of equipment.

At the conclusion of the interview, the candidate will be asked to leave the room whilst the final decision is made based on all the evidence from their assessment performance. This may bring the interview process to around forty minutes in total and is a critical time for both candidates and assessors; however please be assured that all are equally hopeful of a positive outcome! Candidates will then be notified of their result, with a full written report following shortly after the assessment weekend.

Click here to email the AAPGAI Examinations Officer (Graeme Simpson) with any questions regarding the assessment process.

Assessment Booking Arrangements

Candidates must book their examination no later than twenty-eight days before the relevant assessment weekend. Full payment must be received before any assessment paperwork is provided. Candidates will receive the examination schedule and Assessor Notes no later than 14 days prior to their assessment weekend.

In the event that a candidate needs to cancel their assessment, notice of this should reach AAPGAI no later than twenty-one days prior to the examination date. The candidate may either defer their fees until the next opportunity or have them refunded. Fees will not be refunded if cancellation is made later than the above-mentioned time, other than in exceptional circumstances to be determined at the AAPGAI committee’s discretion. Once an assessment is booked and fees paid, they may only be deferred twice. Thereafter, fees become non-refundable. If assessment fees increase during the period of deferment, the AAPGAI committee reserves the right to request additional fees from deferred candidates to cover the shortfall.

Candidates who are unsuccessful at assessment may return for a second attempt within eighteen months. Any successful written paper, presentation/workshop or interview component of their previous assessment may be carried over. If all these components were successful, and a candidate has to resit their practical assessment only, their fee is reduced by £100.00 (providing the resit is attempted within eighteen months). If a candidate passes their practical examination but fails other components, they may resit these within eighteen months and pay an individual component fee only. Otherwise, candidates must resit all assessment components and pay the full fee.

Click here for full details of scheduled assessment weekends.

Click here to email the AAPGAI Treasurer (Lee Gallant) with any questions regarding applications and payments.

Instructor Benefits

Instructor benefits and other information can be viewed in the Members’ Area.