Casting arm is shot. Now what?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing' started by RunningOnEmpty, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. RunningOnEmpty

    RunningOnEmpty I Love microskiff.com!

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    I just got the bad news from my MRI and now I'm scheduled to see a surgeon for a ruptured disk in my neck and a torn up shoulder. I was just wondering if anyone here has managed to learn how to cast a fly rod with the other hand? I haven't fly fished in over a year because it hurts too much and it's really starting to suck.
     
  2. EastTNoutdoorsman

    EastTNoutdoorsman Well-Known Member

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    I've been able to make a cast in tight mountain streams with my off hand. Not exactly the same as longer salt casts but being able to get line under a tree limb while still above the bank and land it where I want still takes plenty of motor control.

    Very sorry to hear about the diagnosis, but with the right attitude and persistence there's no reason it should keep you from fishing. I'm in the early stages of Physical Therapy school so I don't have much experience there as to what to expect recovery wise; but my masters degree is in Motor Behavior (teaching and refining movement patterns). So I have no hesitation saying you'll be able to refine your casting with the other arm.

    It'll take deliberate practice, and will likely be frustrating at times because you'll remember your performance at your peak, but just keep working at it and you'll be surprised.

    Best wishes with the recovery.
     

  3. Vertigo

    Vertigo Carpe Diem

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    As said above, lots of practice and you can learn to use your off hand almost as well as your dominant hand. A fractured scapula taught me that years ago.
     
  4. labman1

    labman1 Well-Known Member

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    Short answer-yes. Do it one foot of line at a time. It takes time to master a double haul, generate line speed and really get line out past 60-70ft , at least for me, but I can fish with my off hand.

    I started casting off handed due to increasing shoulder pain and fatigue. Last December 2016, I had major shoulder surgery. Rehab went well, and I will soon be back to casting as poorly with my right hand as I did before surgery.

    FWIW, having had both surgeries, I was hard pressed to even attempt to try and fish or cast during the first 3-4 months of rehab.

    Good luck with the process, find excellent docs and great PT's, it makes a tremendous difference.
     
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  5. RunningOnEmpty

    RunningOnEmpty I Love microskiff.com!

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    That's a long rehab time! Maybe I should start playing the lottery in order to fund my down time LOL
     
  6. BM_Barrelcooker

    BM_Barrelcooker I Love microskiff.com!

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    IMG_1325.JPG IMG_1326.JPG You need two things and you'll be good to go.
     
    SC Bill, zthomas, flysalt060 and 2 others like this.
  7. Plantation

    Plantation Well-Known Member

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    I've practiced casting left handed with a friend for fun. I look like an idiot but started to get some form of a double haul down in less than 10 minutes. I think it would be fun to land a sight casted fish opposite handed.
     
    flysalt060 likes this.
  8. Backwater

    Backwater Fly Fishing Shaman

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    Left handed for sure. Baby steps and go thru the motions with that hand on everything you are suppose to be doing, like you did with your right hand. Over time, you'll dial into it.

    The other thing you can try once recovered several months after surgery is keep your right elbow down and against your side while side casting and twisting your torso from side to side in a Lefty Krey manner and you will take your shoulder out of the equation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  9. RunningOnEmpty

    RunningOnEmpty I Love microskiff.com!

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    I wonder if using a 6wt instead of my 8 would help much? I've been wanting a new 6wt for a long time and the wife would completely understand my reasoning behind it, for once lol
     
  10. BM_Barrelcooker

    BM_Barrelcooker I Love microskiff.com!

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    You'll actually try harder with the 6and exacerbate your problem.
    The elbow/arm to the side will really work and help your form. You need a rubber band or strap to hold it down until you change your habit.

    The tenkara thing is funny but it will help too.

    Lots of ibuprofen and baby steps. Also if you switch casting arms be careful because you can also reinjure yourself whilst stripping line and hauling.

    Good luck.
     
    flysalt060 likes this.
  11. fishicaltherapist

    fishicaltherapist I Love microskiff.com!

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    ROE, Your disc should be fine with the PROPER surgeon and therapy. As for your shoulder, a lot depends on what your Dx & possible surgery is. I fractured C-4/C-5 with nerve damage and got back to 40ft. I then was in a near fatal crash which messed with my hand/arm nerves more and am just now getting back to chucking the 'ol fluff. I'm retired from PT career and have worked with MANY folks like yourself. A GREAT attitude & patience with yourself is of utmost importance. Backwater is correct in that you more than likely will have to make adjustments. Best of luck! ( TED, do you ever sleep ??!!!?)
     
    flysalt060 likes this.
  12. Backwater

    Backwater Fly Fishing Shaman

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    Amazing how much more easier a 6wt is to cast than an 8wt. It's my favorite weight class rod for sure. We talked about catching fish on top water a few days back on another thread. Catching them on top water on a 6wt is choice! :rolleyes:
     
  13. Backwater

    Backwater Fly Fishing Shaman

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    LOL Too much ice tea last night!

    George, the snook are on fire, we need to get together and go sometime! I don't want to catch them all without leaving you some to catch! Lol

    Oh and RunningonEmpty, PM me when you fully recover from surgery and the shoulder is feeling good and I'll make a run down there and you can take me out on your new aircraft carrier and we can see who your casting is doing with your re-built shoulder (after they but new bearings and bushing in your shoulder). :cool:
     
  14. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

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    As noted above -yes, you can learn to cast with your other arm (Lefty Kreh actually had to learn to be a "righty" after shoulder injury - and he's written about it more than once...). I've had anglers who needed one surgery or other then worked hard to regain their form -lots of rehab. One of my better customers was a dermatologist and fanatic fisherman (put himself through college as a commercial hook and liner...) who needed more than a few rehabs in his older years. He always advised that you should never have surgery - unless there was no other choice... He had a rotator cuff (shoulder surgery) done and reported that it was the hardest to come back from (and took him every bit of a year before he could get into enough shape to start working hard on rehab...). Wish he was still around....

    The good news for all of us is that you can stay active and on the water a lot longer than most think - some of my anglers are in their eighties and still able to swing a rod (even if they have trouble standing - there's always a way....).
     
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  15. fishicaltherapist

    fishicaltherapist I Love microskiff.com!

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    Rotator cuff surgery ( it's not rotor cup,roar cuff, or, rotator clip ) requires a VERY SPECIFIC rehab protocol that absolutely MUST be followed to a T, there is no 'SPEEDING UP" the process. A suggestion is to find (if you can) someone who specializes in a specific type rehab, get opinions from former patients of the therapist, then give it all you have.
     
  16. coconutgroves

    coconutgroves Well-Known Member

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    You can definitely learn to cast with the other arm. The good news is that you know how to cast and mechanics - it is just training the muscles and getting the timing down.

    I recently fished with a guide in Los Roques that could put it out at 80' with no effort whatsoever. He made it look so easy. I watched him change casting arms and cast the exact same distance. I was absolutely blown away how effortless it was. And the funny thing is that he doesn't fly fish for fun and he is that good!
     
  17. Backcountry 16

    Backcountry 16 Well-Known Member

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    The best news is you can't pole. Win win you get the pointy end of the boat.
     
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  18. permitchaser

    permitchaser I Love Skinny Water

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    Just heard from orthopedic buddy that I had a tear in my right shoulder. I cast left handed so I am good to go. My right shoulder is not so bad. Still swimming 3 days a week. Just a little ibuprofen and I'm good
    As long as you know the mechanics you should be able to cast. I swear Lefty could cast with his feet if needed
     
  19. jamie

    jamie Well-Known Member

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    definitely can learn to be a lefty. But for still water and beach work check out 2 handed rods. Takes lots of stress of the shoulder.
     
    LowHydrogen likes this.
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