Wow! Jim, thanks for going to all that effort. Excellent video and instructions. I am sure it will benefit others as well.
I just came back from a garage sale with a fly rod. In keeping with my level of knowledge, I don't even know what make it is or what weight. It is light, I think a 8'. I swung it for a while in the yard and was able to get some good swings without using the shoulder.
Maybe I'll get started on the cheap at yard sales. I did talk the price down and a nice fishing vest tossed into the deal also, for $35.00.
I appreciate the interest you, and the others, have taken.
My grandfather was in similar shape when he taught me how to fly fish. He did essentially what Jim did in the video, although not as well. As a fellow competitive shooter, I've found that when I'm not reloading 45acp for my 1911s, I am reloading my fly box with ammunition. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up a good setup and take a few lessons. I wouldn't go too cheap on a rod either. I've been amazed as the more I've gotten into it, the nicer rods I pick up and the easier it gets. A nice rod that fits you goes a long way. This all isn't to say I've put down shooting though. I live in Michigan and frequent the Upper Peninsula to fish as much as I can. That's bear country, so my old 1911 comes for the ride.
Your welcome, and my thanks to you for the opportunity to try something different. Thanks to both of you for the kind words.
Actually, don't look at that as instruction because it is a poor example of that. It was merely a pep talk, a way to show you that with practice, you will still be able to get a fly out a respectable distance without using your shoulder.
Good instruction would be in as close to slow motion as possible with very crisp stops, very minimal application of power, and no immediate "drift" to confuse the student. I drift so quickly after the stop that it looks like I never stopped.
I was just trying to show that you can get a fly, in calm conditions, well beyond the distace that is necessary (or even practical) for 97% of all fly fishing (including salt water), without using your shoulder.
In fact, once you master the mechanics of flicking the fly forward and backward horizontally, it can be done for nearly all river and stream fishing with nothing more than your wrist, as Ard said earlier.
But as soon as you mention anything about using the wrist to a newcomer - that ALWAYS results in them driving the fly line directly into the water or bushes behind them.
I too, use primarily my wrist with just a little forearm when fishing streams. But, like Ard, I know how to aim the line where I want it to go on the backcast when doing so, and when to stop the wrist.
The best guy to talk to, and a very, very nice guy, is Ken Morrow who founded the "Adaptive Fly Fishing Institute" and teaches fly fishing to people with various handicaps. He is also very active in "Project Healing Waters" for veterans with handicaps. He used to post here quite a bit as I recall, but I forget what his user name was. Anyone?
It would definitely be advantageous for you to find a good instructor. It could mean the difference between giving up and rapid progress to a great new experience. That would also give you an opportunity to try top notch gear as Balogand was speaking about.
My thinking is that, with limited use of your shoulder and consequently a shortened casting stroke, a faster actioned rod would probably suit what, I think, your casting style will evolve into. For learning purposes, this rod could be slowed with a heavier line with a short head until you start feeling what the line is doing behind you.
There are a lot of good casters here and on other forums. Most are eager to help with problems if the caster can post a video of himself casting. It is not as good as lessons, but it better than guessing from descriptions of problems.
It's fantastic that you now own a fly rod! Congradulations!
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: fly fishing hard on shoulders?
There are times where you just have to use a 'single hander,' no/few options. But this is where "spey rods/switch rods come into play. If you've got more than three fingers on the top/bottom of the rod/putting your shoulders into the cast .. you're OVER KILLING the cast.
Try lifting weights to strengthen your arm, elbow and shoulder. I have a little routine that I try to do every morning that takes less than 5 minutes and incorporates light weights. You should be able to see results in about a month. I guess I would have to live out the rest of my life and get back to you to report if this is a good idea and long term solution/preventative but I do feel I am being pro-active. ((I also hope it helps prevent tennis related injuries (so far, so good) as I play a lot of tennis when not fishing.))
Casting is, basically, the art of accelerating the line in such a way that you achieve the presentation that you want for the fly that you're fishing. There are a lot of ways to do this and some of them involve very little ball-in-socket shoulder rotation; the kind that sounds like it would be difficult for you.
My own cast has, essentially, no shoulder rotation in it. It's not because I have a bad shoulder; it's just the way that I cast. There's a lot of elbow motion in it, a little bit of wrist and there's some forward and back opening of the shoulder joint, but nothing that should make you feel any discomfort with a rotator cuff injury.
If you're used to the kick-back of a big bore rifle or a high caliber pistol, then the motion of casting; whether you use a relatively open or closed shoulder position, should be no problem for you. There is nothing that's immediate or ballistic about casting that should put immediate pressure on your shoulder like firing your guns did.
The best way to proceed is probably to try it out. Get yourself to a local fly shop, take a casting lesson and see if it's OK for your shoulder. If it is, then I think that you may have found a sport that may well take the place of shooting for you; in a hurry.
Nice touch with the "1776"; a good vintage for all of us.
Hey there Rifleman. Happy to hear you havent allowed your situation to discourage you. Theres not really much that I can add to what has already been said. I am fairly new at FF myself so I may be wrong in this, but I think the major issue that you would have a problem with would be if you hooked into a large fish that took a while to land.
This is just what I thought the first time that I read your post and no one else mentioned it. So......maybe someone else can weigh in on this thought and let both of us know whether or not Im blowing smoke......
I don't know your situation either Rifleman or your age. My daughter played Division Tennis all last year with a chewed up shoulder. She has been doing physical therapy for the last two months and looks like she may be able to avoid extensive surgery, and may even be able to play in the Spring Season.
It never did hurt her until her elbow was above shoulder height. She was able to do curls with weights even, and play tennis - but for the serve.
Casting really should not entail any jerky motion and can easily be done with the elbox low. If you can move your elbow back and forth low, you will really not even be "handicapped".
Lifting weights would not improve my situation.
Essentially what happened is one of my rotator cuff muscles, in each shoulder, have torn. The right one never got treatment (long story, just think "VA" for the short version) and is now so atrophied it is gone. Certain motions are impossible and for certain exertions there is zero strength. Left is the same but waiting for surgery, and waiting, and waiting.
I'm just concerned repetitive motions might aggravate the pain I have. And/or some proper casting motions might not be possible.
I purchased a light rod last week and plan to practice in the yard to learn more about what the shoulder can tolerate.
It can be enormously rewarding catching 12" trout or bass on light gear using only your wrist for casting as Ard says. Places abound all over the country for this type of fly fishing. In many ways it is far more enjoyable than fishing for huge fish. No stinking jet skiis on brooks or creeks!