Posts Tagged ‘arthritis




cactus, thorns, desert, SwittersB


Fly Fishing: Casting With Your Off Hand

There are  obvious practical reasons to learn to cast with your off hand. A few years back, because of injuries and degeneration, I had to have my right wrist fully fused. A titanium bar was inserted from the back of my middle finger/upper knuckle, up my forearm and screwed in along with the wrist bone being replaced with hip bone and then fused. May I just say that it is a very painful surgery/recovery if you consider it. That said, years later, my right hand is slowly suffering loss of sensations and swelling/pain in the knuckles.

A full day of casting (maybe catching) eventually makes the right hand give out. I have learned to ease this gradual decline by casting with my left hand/arm. I have never progressed beyond a single haul, but I can get the line out via roll casts and normal casts. The right hand is able to do the normal line retrieval. Because my reel is still set up for left hand cranking, if I do hook a fish I still have to revert to bringing the fish in with the normal right hand holding the rod while the left hand cranks the reel or strips. But, that occasional casting with the left hand helps. It also helps when the lay of the land necessitates a different casting presentation.

Also, there are theories that doing endeavors with your off hand, arm, foot etc. actually may improve your performance afterwards with your dominant side. I recall my son’s venture into throwing the javelin. He had smaller practice javelins/darts and he was encouraged to also practice throwing with his off hand and practice his footwork to support that off hand approach-throw. It seemed to work…for whatever reasons. The same seems to work by casting with your off hand. 

Not only do you expand your tactical possibilities, but you may well improve your strong side casting abilities. Worth a try.


Fly Fishing: A Hitch in Your Giddy Up…..

Fly Fishing, Outdoor Safety: It’s a bitch getting old. That could suffice. Says it all. But, then I wouldn’t have anything to write. Random recollections: back pain, hip pain, joints tight, balance issues, tentative moves, a little mounting anxiety, you get there yes, but you still have to climb out.

Muscle pulls and injuries are seemingly normal, early on, if you play hard, work hard. They heal. Some linger. You deal, you wear them like a purple heart…been there, done that. But, later the purple hearts acquire a patina, crusty like coating of something more intrusive…Arthritis

We hear this word, I heard this word, and associated it with little, elderly women with the sadly gnarled fingers/knuckles of their hands. Poor girls. Such dignity while continuing forth. Well, the insidious ‘A’ word does not confine itself to little old hands. It creeps into joints and the spine, into those that are not that old.

Back to the river. As I stood atop the rise above the river, I remarked that the distance and pathway are almost always more cumbersome than it appears from atop. Those rocks are bigger than they look from above. The water is bigger, faster, less than you think from above. So, before you commit down over the edge make sure you size it up well before you make the decision to commit your body to the downward and lateral trek across those boulders.

The ankles, hips and back are tight. The reduced range of motion catches up with you. You commit to those steps out over deep, jagged holes. You reach and place the foot and feel restrictions you didn’t use to feel. The next step is not as fluid as you support your body in a tenuous position over a hole. It dawns on you that your body is tight. You also notice that when you stand upright for a moment you are a bit wobbly. Balance is impeded and you lurch this way and that. Not good. You reach out for the rocks, bent over, holding closer to those abrasive supports. No warm ups or stretching will do much for this reality. You best pick your routes or places to fish with care. The old Clint Eastwood admonition of ‘a man’s got to know his limitations’ is true.

Back Side Creek, Poking Around (SwittersB)

Descending down, fly rod in hand is supposed to be exciting anticipation. A stalking of sort. Don’t let your limitations hinder you, plan ahead. Calculate your route and once you learn that those rocks are bigger than you realize, avoid those routes in the future. Leave it to the younger person that has a bit of Parkour hops in their steps. This is a reality moment that we all must accept. If you don’t, well you will be wearing a bigger purple heart.  

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