casting with your off-hand

karstopo

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Yes, casting from the left side helped reinforce the realization I am in control of what happens with the cast so if something is going off the rails I can change it. My general practice range is the deck of a low profile pontoon boat tied to my dock. One benefit to casting with either hand is that it helps extend the casting practice session. I get tired, bored even, after a while casting from one side so I switch over to the other side. Helps to relieve any monotonous energy.

When I’m fishing much of the time it’s standing in the kayak and most of the time it’s windy. That’s just a fact on the Texas Coast, significant wind is the rule. The wind tends to blow the stripped fly line into the water, but I don’t want it in the water, it gets under the kayak and otherwise causes problems. So the wind dictates which hand is the rod hand, both on the cast and when handling the line, based on which hand can best strip line and keep it within the confines of the kayak.

If I’m wading, it could also be the wind and current that dictates which hand is the stripping hand and which is the rod hand. I eschew stripping baskets for various reasons so the loose line does get into the water when wading. I don’t want it wrapped around me, but generally there’s a bias due to currents so I’ll strip line with the hand that takes advantage of the bias.

It sounds complicated, but in reality i do it without even thinking about it much. It felt awkward at first stripping with the right hand and holding the rod in the left, but I’m over that awkward feeling.

I just try to look at each arm and hand as equal tools. Gosh, look at them, they are mirror images of each other. People engage their non dominant hand in all sorts of complicated activities such as playing the piano or fingering a guitar. People that lose a hand or hands learn to compensate or even use toes to write or paint. Our hands and arms are very trainable, we just get comfortable letting the dominant side do all the work. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not written in stone anywhere.
 

MichaelCPA

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Reminds me of a discussion in Golf: a pro could hit from both sides, dominant was the teacher, off hand was the student. Great discussion here!
 

rangerrich99

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Learning to cast with your off-hand is a nice trick to have in your quiver. Mostly it's just a question of practice.

One way to learn that I used in the beginning was to use a Belgian loop cast. Of course, you need room to do this, but I learned initially by Belgian loop casting on grass, then gradually tilting the cast up until I was making a conventional overhand cast with my left hand.

Of course, once you learn to single-hand spey cast, you don't really have much use for lefty-casts, but that's another story . . .

Actually now that I think about it, I learned to double-haul using the Belgian loop, roll casting began as a really slow Belgian . . . the Belgians practically made me the fly-fisherman that I am today, sheesh. Maybe I should write them a thank you note . . .
 

serengeti

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Using your non- dominate hand on the top handle of a spey rod is encouraged but for me was difficult. Never thought of trying it with a single handed rod. Interesting.
 

jrp11948

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Ok. I have a followup question. Maybe a couple followups.
1. Do you think that learning to cast lefty was a benefit to your right handed casting? Did you learn things during this time that you were able to apply to your right handed casting at all?

2. When you make your left handed presentation, do you retrieve with your right hand? Or do you transfer the rod to make your retrieve?
I don't think I learned anything trying to cast with my off hand other that I sure am right handed.
Casting left handed, I had to shift the rod and do everything else with my left hand, but I learned that way when reels were only one sided, in the 50's
 

akfred

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I recommend that on your next practice session you rig two similar rods with about 30’ of line out and false cast with one in each hand. Your brain will transfer data to your non dominant hand. Once you are throwing nice controlled loops with both hands at once, simply place the rod in your dominant hand n the grass and continue with the off hand. After several sessions like this your off side will learn and off side casting will slowly become a natural thing. But, keep up the practice!
 

Red_Shiner

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I can't see how a single hand spey helps in the original described situation. If I am standing on the right side of a small stream at the waters edge with vegetation along the bank, the only choices are a cross body right handed cast including a cross body roll cast or a left handed cast. There is no room to my right for the spey cast shown in the video.
Am I wrong?

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MichaelCPA

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I can't see how a single hand spey helps in the original described situation. If I am standing on the right side of a small stream at the waters edge with vegetation along the bank, the only choices are a cross body right handed cast including a cross body roll cast or a left handed cast. There is no room to my right for the spey cast shown in the video.
Am I wrong?

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River right, right handed: snake roll with a downstream wind. With an upstream wind. Single spey with left hand!

Addendum: the spey casts do need a bit more space behind than a plain roll cast. In those cases use snap T or double spey depending on the wind. The idea is to cast with more power, easily, than a static roll cast.
 
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Red_Shiner

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I should have been more clear. Standing on the edge of a small stream with most off the water to my left and facing downstream. Or most of the water to my left and facing upstream.

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MichaelCPA

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Left handed underhand (Scandi) style? Maybe watch Klaus Frimor videos on YouTube. Simplies everything: just learn to cast with both hands :)

I imagine that there is a lot of individual preference and creativity. How to catch a fish in tight confines, in all situations. Best to know a few basic casts, left and right handed, and you will be fine.
 

Unknownflyman

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Ive only needed to change hands and cast that way spey casting. Ive never needed to switch hands with a single hand rod and Ive never considered river right or left single handed casting either.
 

Bigfly

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In retrospect, everything changed for the better when I learned to Spey cast. The short stick style with the ever popular overhand cast is a clear limiter in my world. But that is all most people know.
Now, when I'm teaching I bypass it, and often share 2 handed first....even casting a dry fly.
So much easier in so many ways.
I find my "other" hand coming up to help out on even 8ft rods.....
searching for a grip on that LEETLE stub below the reel.
The part of Spey casting that was a mental quantum leap for me, was regular casting was about accuracy of the fly placement. Now, I think more about my line placement, not just for the cast, but for the drift.
Once you get this concept working....you can talk to fish at will.
From either hand, or either side of the water in any direction of breeze.
You can match the hatch, and cast a mile,
but a fine drift is key.
(This is the most common failure of the average fisher. Followed closely behind bumbling and false casting...and abysmal mends).
My line placement/drift is now the first thing I consider before I let it fly!
A bunch of casters also wave their the rod around with elbows high. Leading to bad casts and shoulder issues too. Learn the Spey and your elbows come down and you can fish all day...effectively.


Jim
 
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ryc72

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Learning to cast with both hands is one of the simpler things you can do that will pay huge dividends. And being potentially much safer is a huge bonus as well...I know I’ve hit myself with a fly multiple times before learning how to cast with my off hand. since then I haven’t hit myself once. Now I’m not as concerned with how I’m positioned relative to the wind and can just fish. Not easy at first but if you commit it doesn’t take long and in less than a season threads similar to this one will all become moot with the added benefit of having much more fishable water.
 

acorad

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1. You can learn to cast well enough with your offhand much quicker and easier than you might think. You just gotta do it.

2. When you reach a certain age, having a backup casting arm is a shrewd choice.
 

karstopo

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So true. Learned to cast from my non-dominant left side much more quickly than things went from the dominant right side. That was surprising.

Even if you think or are certain you have a terrible or uncoordinated off hand, that may not be the truth.
 

trev

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I'd like to spend an hour with one of you spey guys just to learn the jargon. To me it's all either roll cast or overhead cast (which took me a lot of years to find a use for); the snaps, Ts, circles, snakes, singles and doubles just confuse me, but I think if you run them altogether it'd probably be a roll cast the way I learned it in the '70s (before video).

A person should learn to use both hands for everything, it makes it so much easier when one hand is hurt and you don't have to have a helper there to hold your beer- just use the other hand.
 

Unknownflyman

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Well, there is a purpose for all those spey casts, power casts and positioning casts yeah its not just roll casting with fancy terminology and it could be something you learned in the 70`s but I really doubt it. You can roll cast a hell of a long way, 50-60 feet effortlessly but its not a live line cast.

I think its easier to switch hands on spey and get accurate because your dominate hand still helps the other and it feels more natural.

Can I cast with both hands single hand? yes. Do il like to? No.
 

trev

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Like I said I'd like to see it and hear it at the same time live, I've seen videos that I didn't get any thing out of, and I've read descriptions that I'm not smart enough to understand. A good set of line drawings with stick figures might help.
 
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