Fly Rod Casting: Reasons to use your other arm

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by AJEC, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. AJEC Member

    Posts: 33
    London, England
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    Most of us have a favoured arm when it comes to casting. In reality a lot of single handed rod fishers only have one “casting” arm. However, there are many reasons why it is a good idea to be able to cast with both arms. Let me review them:-

    · You have flown abroad on a fishing trip and on taking your suitcase out of the taxi you sprain the wrist of your casting arm. Disaster! However, if you can switch arms for casting you could prevent the holiday being a total failure.

    · A strong wind is blowing the fly behind you on the back cast and you run the risk of imbedding the fly or heavy lure in the back of your head on the forward cast. Being able to change casting arms means that the wind is now blowing the fly away from you on the back cast. You are safer and don’t have to keep ducking or resorting to casting across your body or forward casting away from the water and laying the line on the water using the back cast!

    · Being able to cast left handed means that in an adverse strong wind you can move away from all the right handed fishers and fish a location that is less disturbed, catch more fish and leave them green with envy!

    · When sharing a boat with a companion, ghillie or guide you can cast with an arm that takes the fly over the water and not over the boat occupants. I find fewer apologies are required!

    · When teaching your left handed pal you can hold the rod the same way they are.

    · Particularly when river fishing being able to cast with both arms means you can handle dealing with obstacles and the wind better. Also you can cover both sides of the river more comfortably.

    · When the fishing is a little too easy (yes that has been known to happen) and (say) you are on a four fish ticket, having caught the first brace fairly quickly you can make it a little harder by switching rod arms.

    · When your favoured casting arm feels like it is about to fall off (often a sign of poor technique) you have a fresh arm in reserve.

    Now learning to cast with the other arm is almost as difficult as learning to cast with your usual arm but all it needs is practice. The best way, I am told, is to get two identical rod and line setups and practice the overhead cast action with both rods simultaneously. You don’t even have to be casting on water, casting on short grass can be fine. Now when my wife reads this she will know why I keep our lawn nice and short! When fishing, a good time to practice is when the fish are having their afternoon siesta. At that time, you probably don’t want to pack up and go home because you are anticipating the evening rise, so to usefully use the time have a casting practice session. I also favour having my own “siesta” as when I get tired even my good casting can end up as aerial knitting!

    So rise to the challenge, be brave and let’s see you becoming ambidextrous and more able to conquer the conditions and land more fish! Wow! I surprised myself with that line. Am starting to sound like Joan Wolff?

    The above is a copy of a post on my non commercial (I do it for fun) Blog. A lot of folk from Washington FF seem to like viewing it so if you are interested in some differences between casting a line in the UK and the USA please have a look at

    Jim Wallace likes this.
  2. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,384
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,334 / 0
    What the hell is a four fish ticket? Your only allowed to catch four fish then have to quit? God bless the good ol' USA where I can continue fishing after landing forty.
  3. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 924
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +610 / 0
    All excellent reasons to be able to cast with your 'weak' arm!
  4. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    Great post. I'm ambidextrous to a certain degree. I write lefty but bat, throw and play guitar with my right. When starting out fly fishing I used both arms for the first few months, but my right arm seemed to learn faster and I switched entirely to that arm. I should work on the left for all of the above good reasons.
  5. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,769
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,714 / 0
    Hell when my arm gets tired I just bag it. The fish will still be there on another day. I haven't fish all day long in about 5 years now. To damn old to fish to long now. Just getting out is a challenge all it's own.
  6. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    Methow? Wenatchee?
    Kyle Smith likes this.
  7. hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

    Posts: 550
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    all great reasons, but dont forget tendonitis prevention. also, i've guided supposedly right handed novices many times where, to overcome really bad muscle memory (spin rod, throwing footbal etc.) i teach them to cast lefty, and in minutes they are casting 10x better. often semi ambidextrous
    people that write with one hand, and throw with the other, cast best with their writing hand. again, overcoming bad muscle memory. now if only i could cast the 2 hander with my left hand up. i might as well be using my 2 left feet :confused:
  8. AJEC Member

    Posts: 33
    London, England
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    Hi triploidjunkie, In the UK there are a number of commercial fisheries where you pay to fish. How much you pay determinds how many fish you can keep. The fish are usually all at least 2lb in size and make good table fish. Some fisheries allow you to fish catch and release after you get your limit. We call them put and take fisheries. They put them in we take them out! Last week the average catch at Bewl Water (900 acres) was 5.4 fish. Everyone would have been on an 8 fish ticket and the better fishermen would have got their 8. Those fishing catch and release a lot more. The cost of an 8 fish ticket is £24 say $36 US. My biggest rainbow there is 11lb and is the fish I am holding on my blog. I hope that helps.
    Krusty and triploidjunkie like this.
  9. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
  10. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,384
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,334 / 0
    There is a limit to how many trout you can catch and release on the methow? That's news to me!
  11. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,169
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,686 / 0
  12. AJEC Member

    Posts: 33
    London, England
    Ratings: +15 / 0
  13. Old406Kid Active Member

    Posts: 326
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    I'm thinking I need to get the both arm casting thing down in case the "Two Pole Endorsement"
    on Quality waters passes!:) Seriously I'm like Patrick, write left throw right and can see how
    grass casting with both simultaneously might help. I do cast left in certain conditions but could
    certainly improve. Another advantage to casting opposite hand is tangling your crap up faster.
  14. formerguide Active Member

    Posts: 316
    Bonney Lake, WA
    Ratings: +756 / 0
    I can cast with my off-hand fairly well, but I find hauling difficult with my other hand. For distance casting, I find a backcast with my dominant hand far easier and more effective, particularly boat shots for bonefish and the like...

  15. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,129
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +791 / 1
    Never tried it... would be frightening to watch :eek:
  16. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,169
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,686 / 0
    I have a hard enough time making a decent cast with my dominate arm... gawd help anyone standing within 40 feet of me if I tried using my left arm. :)
  17. teedub Active Member

    Posts: 365
    Cle Elum
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    If the legislature reads this they will make us buy a second license and parking permit to use the second arm. I think there is a bill on the floor for this now!
    triploidjunkie and constructeur like this.
  18. wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    Posts: 2,038
    Wallingford, WA
    Ratings: +1,608 / 0
    Neurologically another reason is that so when you stroke out your dominant hemisphere, you can still cast using the non-dominant. Talking will probably be harder than casting.
    tythetier and Jim Wallace like this.
  19. TB Member

    Posts: 207
    Ma's cow, Idaho area
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    I'm in. I shoot ambidextrously, might as well cast that way too. Done it in the boat a few times....wasn't pretty, but I been thinking I should practice it anyways.
  20. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    You can't catch and release hatchery fish on the methow, and you can't fish after you take your 4 hatchery fish.