Academy Methodology and Levels

The methodology below is based on and has been fine-tuned over a thirty-year period. It presents an approach to elevate an inexperienced trout fisherman to a very good and confidant tropical fly fisherman. Anglers have different levels of saltwater fishing skill and different understandings of the differences between trout and saltwater fishing. The following methodology provides a roadmap of average general approach. It will always be adapted to everyone’s skills and goals. All here is very private and there is no social media presence.

The set of objectives: Acquire a high level of knowledge, skills and habits:

            Having the right equipment, understanding and being able to set it up for all tropical fishing scenarios, basic fish species and sizes.

            Quickly cast far enough (at least 20M).

            Attract fish by proper stripping.

            Correct hook setting for most takes. Minimise false hook sets. No breaking of the line during the hook set. Not using the rod for the hook set.

            Proper line management before and after setting the hook, even in difficult boat conditions such as panga without a proper bow fly platform or in waves on a reef.

            Fighting, landing and unhooking the fish.

Achieving the above goals means that it is worthwhile for angler to spend thousands of dollars on a proper fly-fishing (FF) trip in tropical seas such as the Seychelles.

At the very beginning, we need to adjust the above goals for each fisherman. It must be understood and respected that it may take two or more years to achieve the goals set. Much of the muscle memory of techniques can be drilled into, for example, a backyard lawn in a matter of weeks. But the practical implementation into your flats fishing in front of feeding tailing bonefish is another story altogether. And getting used to this scenario requires several weeks of fishing over, say, two years.

The whole story of hot to get the goals is divided into three stages. Stage I gives you a basic overview of fly fishing in tropical seas and allows you to decide whether to continue or not. Stage II then refines your equipment and skills and gives you your first proper experience at sea. If you are still keen to continue, Stage III fills the path to the goals written above.

All theoretical knowledge written here or presented on video on Youtube is offered free of charge. The methodology and originally developed techniques should be referred to the academy in appropriate type of communication. The physical presence of a tutor at the academy activities should be hired on an individual basis.

 Stage I – Am I really interested in a tropical sea fly fishing?

Objective: To learn and practise the basics to decide whether to become a regular tropical sea fly fisherman.

We must spend at least one technique session to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. As a result of which you will get the set of drills to practise at home. Then we will take another technical session to evaluate your progress and you will get updated your drill set.

The gear you will need:

Echo #8 rod and #8 Shilton reel with the backing 30 lb and floating #8 line. I can give you quotations for two sets: normal and a top level one. Please do not purchase any equipment without prior consultation. You could easily be led into buying unsuitable equipment.

You will get a gear list of what you will need (as a minimum) on your first sea trip. For example: fluoro leaders 16/20/30 Lb, bag, wading shoes, wading speedo, fishing t-shirt, spare backing, spare lines, gloves, glasses, cap, buff, hook sharpener, scissors, fishing pliers,  … It might be helpful to see my stuff so you can easily move forward.

You need to buy a set of bonefish flies and salt streamers at about 5 – 7 cm size. You buy it on your own anywhere on the fly shop or on the Internet. For one week of the fishing, you might need at least 20 bonefish flies and 20 different streamers. Some flies you will loss and you obviously want to change the flies time by time. Pick any flies you will like; the sea fish are not so picky.

Then you need one technical session dealing with your new gear setup.

You are ready to go to the sea now and I do recommend going with me or on your own. We can talk and pick some nice and reasonable destination. It is more than enough to have a goal to catch some bonefish, triggerfish of a regular size.

Your first sea FF trip should last several days. The destination must offer a wading on the flat and a reef fishing. Do not go to the boat fishing for the first time as the boat fishing is very much not proper tropical sea fly fishing you want to become a master.

If you are coming back home from this trip and you are eager to know more, than you can decide to get to the Stage II. There is still a lot of details you must recognise and learn before you can afford to enter a proper guided trip which I do recommend at the Stage II.

After the completing of the Stage I you will be awarded by the Basic Academy Level Certificate.


Stage II:  Let’s upgrade for #12 and go for your first regular FF trip

You must buy a #12 setup. I can make a package of the Echo and Shilton for you easily as described for the Stage I. You must only decide whether you go for pro models or ordinary ones. I can send you a quotation of both variants.

Do your casting practice with #12 for one month, several times a week. Each practice should last at least one hour. Drill both forehand and backhand casting. Remember two the most important things:

            Let the line back-fade to its nearly straight shape including the leader with the fly.

            Pull the line during the double haul down to the waist.

It is a huge difference of the casting in between #8 and #12. You must get used for #12 trust me.

You might be afraid of #12 because of the weight of the rod / line / flies. Well, you might get “only” #10 gear for the Stage II and then find out a destination for this size of the rod/reel/line. But if you want quickly to end up on a proper guided fly-fishing trip on some of the Seychelles islands, you must have #12. So, I do recommend to start with the #8 and add #12 sets.

At this moment we must do another session dealing with the heavy rod setup and with details of what and how the guided trip is all about.

After that you can are ready to enter a guided trip. We can talk about the variants. By picking the one, we will figure out what specifically you are going to need for it. It will depend on the expected fish there.

Each species needs something specific and proper prepping will be very much worth it. You should be heading to the right island on the spring tide and get at least one nice GT landed. That will boost you with energy enough for next whole year.

On your FF trip you will recognise how wide this sport is and whatever you must still learn and practise. By catching and loosing of fish you will get a real perspective of how beautiful and difficult this sport is. After your first guided FF trip on the island, you might be eager to get yourself to the Stage III.


Stage III – You are becoming a master of a tropical sea fly fishing.

Your ambition is clear: You want to become a proper fly fisherman on the sea. It means, you must complete your stuff to at least three weights sets: #8, #10 and #12. Each weight should be backed, so finally you will get two rods and reels of #8, two sets of #10 and two for #12. The backing is essential: the rod gets damaged easily by various reasons, the fish might take your line and cut it by the rocks, you might fall on the boulder and crack the reel etc. I saw many such issues just first day of very expensive trip. So, I do recommend you have all the important part of the gear twice.

During the period of preparing yourself to next guided trip, you are more than welcome to study the video and/or to meet me. We can work on your skills in all areas in deep. You should learn and very much practise on your own before the trips. Then it will be much easier and more efficient on the sea.

Perhaps the last session we should do is the technical rod/reel/ maintenance, fly rehabilitation/tying accordingly the table I do have for the Stage III. By the end of this last session, you will earn the Gold level academy certificate.

You will go to another one or two proper guided fly fishing trip. The truth is that nothing can replace your own experience at sea. So even if you train a lot, you will still lose a lot of fish to gain enough experience and lose only some of them. At this trip you should be awarded by some trophy fish of its kind, for example golden trevally.

Sea fishing is much different and more difficult than trout fishing. I have several friends who have gone through the above evolution, and I can say that they now enjoy mastering fly fishing at sea.  Therefore, I am convinced of the functionality of the above and offer it to you as well.


Your activity check list

Stage /No



I / 1

Intro and assessment technical session



I / 2

Stage I Gear No 8 Acquiring



I / 3

Gear setup session



I / 4

Get academy list of gear and go for your first sea trip with me or on your own.




Basic Academy Level Certificate



II / 5

Stage II Gear Upgrade for No 12



II / 6

Heavy gear setup session



II / 7

Get academy list of gear Stage II and go for your proper first guided trip on an island with a professional company. Try to land some nice fish.


III / 8

Technical details session – video and guided session.



III / 9

Completing of your gear by No 10 and doubling of other weights.


III / 10

Get academy list of gear Stage III and go for your proper trip with a pro company. Go to fully enjoy your new skills and land your real trophy fish.



Gold Academy Level Certificate




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