Casting the Fly Rod: Both Hands


Yes, that’s actually me fishing. Hard to believe. Now aside from the fact that I am a terrible double hauler…there is something else about this shot for you to consider for your own evolution.

My right wrist is fully fused. It has been for the better part of maybe 15 years. A titanium bar extends from right behind my middle knuckle half way up my forearm, secured with 7 screws. The wrist bone is actually a lot of hip bone, as the original bone was so badly damaged with arthritis it had to be removed and hip bone fused into the location. So, I can still cast ok with the right arm, my natural arm. But, my finger tips are partly numb and my knuckles are slightly swollen and painful.

But, after that surgery, a very painful ordeal I might add, I started out of necessity to cast with my left hand/arm. Yes, at first it was clumsy. At first, I played with the roll cast. But, today I am a passable caster with my left arm and you should be too. Not that you will have surgery necessarily.

But, injuries happen. Surgeries happen. Pain happens. Give it a try on a small scale. You won’t be wasting valuable fishing time. Or, go to a nearby park or your back yard or school yard and practice the stroke, the line management in your right hand, the single haul and if you are real coordinated the double haul (eventually). It will add to you arsenal, to your presentation. Of course, you will have to adapt to that reel handle being where it has always been should you catch a fish. Easy enough to switch over to the other hand as ‘normal’ to play the fish. 

9 Responses to “Casting the Fly Rod: Both Hands”

  1. 1 Mike
    February 23, 2013 at 00:31

    Hi just read about your wrist I had kienbock disease in my left wrist and just over a year ago had total wrist fusion after the op I started fly fishing and love it . After a scan the other month I was told I have Kienbock’s disease in my other wrist now and I’m waiting for surgery and thought that was it could not fly fish anymore but after reading this I now have some hope that I can still fly fish


    • February 23, 2013 at 08:18

      Mike you will indeed fly fish in the years to come! I have some sense of the journey you have been on and are continuing toward. My sincerest best wishes and thank you for dropping by.



      • 3 Mike
        February 24, 2013 at 06:48

        Thanks Gary I know I have a long way to go I’m going to have a go at casting with my left hand and see how I get on as its another 2 month before I have the op on my right hand




        • February 24, 2013 at 09:49

          I think you will be quite surprised. Switching out the lines and spools for the reels will take a bit, but for ‘normal’ casting in the 20-50′ range I bet you will be just fine. Again, best wishes.


  2. 5 Jared Stone
    August 23, 2012 at 14:46

    This is helpful information as I have a bum right elbow. Nice photo~ where was this, and what photo editor did you use create effects?


  3. 7 Big Head Caddis
    August 23, 2012 at 08:38

    Excellent advice. In our house fly fishing is not optional, it’s a way of life so my wife taught herself to cast with both hands because of carpel tunnel issues but never really needed it. Years later she got a badly broken wrist and crunched knuckles. She didn’t miss any fishing because she could still cast otherwise she would have missed a season. Now she shows our fly fishing students how to teach themselves. Easiest way: use two rods. Pick up and put down about 20-25 feet of line with both rods at the same time and the two arms mimic each other and you build muscle memory.


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