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First CICP Event in Mainland China A Success

Posted on 11/22/2019 by Nikki Loy

Read the report about the first CICP Event in Mainland China, by Kenneth Chia, CI from Shanghai, China.


By Kenneth Chia, CI from Shanghai, China

October 30, 2019 will be a day to remember in the history of fly fishing in Mainland China.  This was the first FFI CICP exam event held in Guangzhou Province, a southern province in Mainland China.  Everyone arrived the day before, including Brian Henderson and Shaun Ash, examiners from Australia.  Brian and Shaun had just finished a 3-day testing event in Taiwan before making their way to China.  It was a great honor to have them come for the testing event.

Besides the two examiners, Hank Wu, an MCI from Taiwan, who he helped coordinate both the Taiwan and China events attended.  Dennis Pat from Malaysia and Kenneth Chia from Shanghai, both CIs, came as interpreters, as well as helping to coordinate the event.  A total of 9 candidates from all over China participated in this grueling 4-day event.

Group photo of examiners, mentors, and candidates involved in the momentous event

Being a non-English speaking country and having the candidates take an English spoken exam (written & practical) can be a daunting task.  Most of the fly-fishing terms were already translated to Mandarin, the local spoken and written language, but the tests were to be conducted in English thus, it was quite a challenge.

The candidates started preparing 15-18 months ago with hopes to help promote the sport and pushing it to another level.  A study group was formed and the intention of having the test held in China was announced in all social media platforms to let anyone interested and with experience and determination to take part in this momentous event.  Dennis Pat and Kenneth Chia both certified CIs and actively involved in the China fly fishing circuit acted as mentors to the candidates.

Besides the usual daily discussion on casting, there were casting workshops and events held throughout the year from Zhejiang to Guangzhou to Beijing to Shanghai.  Hank Wu attended all the events to help hone and sharpen the candidate’s casting skills.  Most candidates attended all the workshops and some candidates even traveled to Taiwan to seek additional casting advice from Hank.  The candidates worked hard and practiced hard.  They practiced after work, early in the morning before they started their day, rain or shine.  They practiced late at night roads and sidewalks.  If members of the study group were from the same city, they would meet and correct each other mistakes.  They took videos of their casts and posted them in the study group so everyone could discuss what they were doing right, what they were doing wrong, and how it could be improved. The candidates come from all walks of life; from dumpling shop owner to advertising executive, to construction project manager to red dot award designer.  Everyone had one thing in common: to help promote fly fishing as a sport.

Night casting

Candidates practiced casting at night after work or after putting kids to sleep, some practiced in the middle of the road

On the first day of the event everyone put on their CICP China embroidered shirts as a show of camaraderie.  On the testing field the markers, measuring tape, and the target hoops were in place.  The tension, anxiety, and uncertainty of the candidates could be felt; every one of them was nervous. The interpreters were instructed to only translate questions asked and not to engage in any translation unless necessary.  Other than that, it was just between the examiner and the candidate. 

The candidates had to explain using whatever means necessary; through body language, sounds, or available props and tackles.  There was a lot of pantomime going on.  It was quite entertaining to see what the candidates came up with to explain the teaching section.  Some would say simple English words like “stop” and clap their hands, use their arms in the form of a “V” when explaining arc, and the movement of the hand and clapping to a stop to explain “casting stroke”.  Everything was so clearly expressed that even a novice would understand. 

During past events and workshops there were practice tests where they would speak and explain in their own languages.  But during the exam, out of the blue, the candidates were asked to explain directly to the examiners without the help of the interpreters.  This is a good and fair way to test the candidates because CIs are supposed to teach without using overly technical terms, to be able to teach beginners, and have them understand what is involved in a cast.  The candidates were faced with a challenge to teach the examiner, who doesn’t speak or understand their mother tongue, and teach them fly fishing/casting on various questions asked in the exam.  It was a challenge that most of the candidates performed to the best of their ability as they understand what is involved in a cast and how to teach, expressing oneself without using words and conveying the message was a challenge.  No words were needed, it’s the language of fly-fishing!



Ongoing test under the watchful eyes of Brian and Shaun


Being questioned by Shaun!
L to R (Hu Lei, Brian, & Shaun)


A new CI is born!
L to R (Dennis, Brian, Kan Xuan, Shaun & Kenneth)


Newly Certified CIs
L to R (Kan Xuan, Hank Wu, Haochao Zeng & Hu Lei)

Everything went well into the final day, a joyous occasion when all 9 candidates passed their CI exams.  A new group of CIs were born to promote the wonders of teaching fly fishing to others.


Little casting workshop before the end of each day by Shaun and Brian


Little casting workshop before the end of each day by Shaun and Brian

The candidates and organizers would like to thank Brian Henderson and Shaun Ash for taking the time and effort travelling all the way up north into unknown territory and imparting their knowledge and skills to everyone at the event.  Thanks to the mentors and interpreters Hank Wu, Dennis Pat, and Kenneth Chia for their impartial and relentless pursuit in spreading the art of fly fishing in this region.  And lastly thanks to the local host (Haochao Zeng) for showing us the local culture and fantastic Cantonese cuisine.  


A well-deserved sumptuous Cantonese cuisine on the final day.
Top L to R (Hank, Jianli Wu, Kan Xuan, Yiqing Zhao, Ning Yu, Chen Ling)
Bottom L to R (Kenneth, Brian, Haochao Zeng, Shaun, Dennis)


Mementos to commemorate a special event in the history of fly fishing in China
CICP China 2019 embroided shirt, Keychains and titanium mugs with names of each individual engraved.