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Do most of you guys cast with either hand up. I am new to this and cast with my left hand up , then strip with my left hand and reel with my right. Any one else out there like me?? Thinking I need to learn to be ambidextrous!!! I have some difficulty managing my running line.
 

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Probably the best thing I ever did was learning to cast both hands up when I started spey casting. A caster is so much better prepared regardless of the water direction, wind direction or surrounding obstacles when you can cast either hand up.

I am naturally a right handed caster. Due to muscle memory from single hand casting, I was often over powering my top hand push and not using enough bottom hand pull. It was suggested to me to try casting left hand up. Although awkward at first, it really helped overcome the muscle memory and the bonus was could cast both hands up. Lots of people cast cackhanded, but that gets harder to do with longer lines. Interestingly enough, I have worked on my left handed casting so much, I may actually be more comfortable casting left hand up now than right.
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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It can be really helpful to learn to cast with both hands for many reasons. For me it's tough with a bad shoulder. I can't lift up and tend to drop the loop especially after several cast and fatigue sets in. I have figured out a way to single spey and others off my left shoulder using my right hand. Not as powerful but works well. Snake rolls are a little tougher but will work as well.

It was shown to me that many people can learn to cast with their non dominate hand quite easily due to the fact there are no bad habits or muscle memory.

Dan
 

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Cast and strip with either hand, can reel with both hands but all my reels are set to left hand retrieve. When fishing the swing for the most part I hold the rod with my right hand and strip with my left that way I don't have to change hands to reel.

Ian
 

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MC
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I grew up left-handed but learned to single-hand right handed. Once I got into spey, it made sense to use either hand up, depending on the situation. I'm comfortable casting with my left hand up.

Like you, though, I cannot seem to manage my running line with my right hand. I have to switch hands if I need to reel in or strip. There are only so many new tricks an old dog can learn, I think....
 

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When I taught myself to cast left-handed I told myself I would learn to strip the other way after I got my left-handed casts down - concentrating on the important stuff first. But then I got so used to casting and fishing that way I never bothered. While learning to cast both ways has some clear advantages, and is virtually mandatory if you use a long enough line, which way you strip and which hand you hold the loops under the vast majority of conditions has hardly any advantages. So usually I strip the same way both directions and the loops are in my left hand both ways, so bottom or top hand depending. In special cases I transfer my loops to my right hand (bottom) when casting left handed, and sometime the reverse. But I find it only matters in special cases where the wind is blowing the loops into the reel in a weird way. When the shooting line starts tangling on the reel every cast you will know it’s time to think about it. Otherwise how you strip and hold it makes little difference. So I’d say learn to cast left-handed for sure, but there is no fundamental requirement to strip in mirror image as well. Whatever works.

Casting with both hands up is a whole different story. Once you get comfortable with it you will never go back to cack-handed.
 

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Do most of you guys cast with either hand up. I am new to this and cast with my left hand up , then strip with my left hand and reel with my right. Any one else out there like me?? Thinking I need to learn to be ambidextrous!!! I have some difficulty managing my running line.



it may be the best thing that you can do to cast when the wind kicks-up - certainly has been for me. Then just route running line through your lower hand, feathering it past the reel and directly into the first guide as it goes out.
 

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Reel with my left hand, because that's how I've always done it. Right hand up is my strong side, and I've got most of my casts dialed both off the right shoulder and cack handed. This summer and fall I'm working on casting mid belly lines and left hand up; a lot of the good swinging runs I fish tend to be river right, so I'd like to have a solid right hand snake and left hand single for those.
 

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Thanks all for your replies...stupid question...by cack handed do you mean left handed?
Cack handed means casting with your arms crossed, or off your non-dominant shoulder with your dominant hand up. Typically, in a right hand up grip, your D-loop would be forming on your right side. But there are some scenarios (ie- wind blowing from right to left, trees or brush on your right side) where you need to form your D-loop off your left shoulder. You'll need flip your setup and casting stroke 180 degrees, and you can accomplish that by either switching your grip to left hand up, or keeping your hands the same and forming the D-loop with your arms crossed (cack) and the rod tip off the left shoulder. Neither is inherently better than the other, but they both take some practice to get used to, and you should eventually try to learn both ways.
 

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Yeah, “cack-handed” means casting with the same hand configuration (in most cases right handed) off the opposite shoulder of your upper hand. As unch said above, your hands end up crossed over in front of you which is the potential down side of casting that way.

Casting “left handed” would in contrast mean casting in mirror image of right-hand, so with your left hand on top on the left side. Seems like a lot of folks only do cack-handed because they are “right handed and it feels weird” doing a left handed cast. While there are definitely lots of “old hands” who have been casting cack handed just fine for a decade or more, most people who learn the other way feel that it gives them more space and comfort casting off their non-dominant shoulder. Some might also argue more power. If you try to do a single spey with a longish line cack handed you might hurt yourself.:eek: I have heard that in the very beginning there were a few people at Speyorama that cast cack handed. I don’t know if this is true, but you don’t see it these days.

Personally, now that I’m %100 neutral about which way feels “best” I DO feel a bit safer casting a big heavy fly on a big nasty sink tip left handed rather than cack handed, but that is a whole other issue and also probably just my perception of things.
 

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Lift, Touch and Fire
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Depending on which way the winds blowing, either or. My instructor made me use both hands. Glad he did.
 

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Depending on which way the winds blowing, either or. My instructor made me use both hands. Glad he did.
To be clear, casting off the down-wind shoulder is how you deal with wind, and both casting cack handed and casting with that side hand up does that just fine. Casting off the down-wind shoulder becomes virtually mandatory if the wind is blowing hard enough - there is no alternative and you MUST be able to do it if you want to fish. But how you do it, “regular” or cack handed is a different question.

It’s cool he made you start that way! Might be better if all instructors did that, and only suggest cack handed if the students had trouble. But probably they know many people find it difficult at first and don’t want to waste too much time getting people started. I like to tell people that the “weirdness” they feel when they first try to cast left handed is the same weirdness they felt when they first learned to cast since none of the muscle memory you have developed is at all applicable. So you have to start from scratch on that side, but it is just as doable. But many people DO seem to have the feeling that it is harder even than that. I don’t know where the full truth lies, but as for me I find I can learn things on both sides. It helps to try to keep in mind what it felt like the first time you picked up a rod - THAT is the right comparison, NOT what it feels like in comparison to your already developed dominant side.
 

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I cast and strip from both sides. What made my learning to cast with non dominant hand up was just changing my stance so that I was standing with my left foot forward for left hand up. Then the rest of the cast just falls into place. What was kinda weird was the stripping.
 

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To be clear, casting off the down-wind shoulder is how you deal with wind, and both casting cack handed and casting with that side hand up does that just fine. Casting off the down-wind shoulder becomes virtually mandatory if the wind is blowing hard enough - there is no alternative and you MUST be able to do it if you want to fish. But how you do it, “regular” or cack handed is a different question.

It’s cool he made you start that way! Might be better if all instructors did that, and only suggest cack handed if the students had trouble. But probably they know many people find it difficult at first and don’t want to waste too much time getting people started. I like to tell people that the “weirdness” they feel when they first try to cast left handed is the same weirdness they felt when they first learned to cast since none of the muscle memory you have developed is at all applicable. So you have to start from scratch on that side, but it is just as doable. But many people DO seem to have the feeling that it is harder even than that. I don’t know where the full truth lies, but as for me I find I can learn things on both sides. It helps to try to keep in mind what it felt like the first time you picked up a rod - THAT is the right comparison, NOT what it feels like in comparison to your already developed dominant side.

The single-spey is just the alternative and if you could do single spey casts equally well with either hand-up ( as opposed to both hands up...) then there is no real need to cast cack-handed across the body that way.
 

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The single-spey is just the alternative and if you could do single spey casts equally well with either hand-up ( as opposed to both hands up...) then there is no real need to cast cack-handed across the body that way.
I think it depends on the circumstance as well Vic.
I'm faced with the obstacle of a deep river and high bank. Wading out more than 6 feet from the bank puts me into heavy currents, water around my waist (I'm 6'5"). The banks can be high and often over hanging trees and bushes are the norm, making anything leading past my position considered "caught in the trees" and a futile act. This, coupled with a need for shoulder surgery on my left side, turns me into the "cack-handed master". Three casts with left hand up sends me to the bank ... so I no longer go there. Pitty, my left hand casting is just as good, (if not better) as my right side. I was enjoying the switch-up between hands prior to this old injury rearing it's ugly head ... alas, the sands of time show the true state of the flesh :(:(

I've become fluent with a cack-handed Single and a fancy Snap-T/Perry-Poke/Single basterdized ala "cack" cast :smokin::smokin:


Mike
 

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St

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I've become fluent with a cack-handed Single and a fancy Snap-T/Perry-Poke/Single basterdized ala "cack" cast :smokin::smokin:
I’m sympathetic with people that have injuries, especially as depending on the injury avoiding cack handed may be the SOLUTION for some physical issues, as avoiding left handed up is in others. I do cack handed casts too, when they are the solution to a particular problem. I just prioritize non-cack handed for what I feel is a reason that applies to me and my perceptions about it. And I would have no problem if there is someone that comes to exactly the opposite conclusion based on the same information. I’m just saying the “I can’t because it feels weird and it is impossible for me cast the other way” reason is a shaky one, no pun intended. It’s based on a misunderstanding of what the issue is. If you attack the problem rationally, slowly, and with a little forethought and patience with yourself there is no reason why most people without some kind of physical issue can’t add those casts to their repertoire without hurting themselves. Sometimes there are new muscles to activate and DEVELOP, not just train to do the right thing, so going slow at first is a good idea. A lot of people will feel there is no need to make the effort, which is perfectly fine as well.
 

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I’m sympathetic with people that have injuries, especially as depending on the injury avoiding cack handed may be the SOLUTION for some physical issues, as avoiding left handed up is in others. I do cack handed casts too, when they are the solution to a particular problem. I just prioritize non-cack handed for what I feel is a reason that applies to me and my perceptions about it. And I would have no problem if there is someone that comes to exactly the opposite conclusion based on the same information. I’m just saying the “I can’t because it feels weird and it is impossible for me cast the other way” reason is a shaky one, no pun intended. It’s based on a misunderstanding of what the issue is. If you attack the problem rationally, slowly, and with a little forethought and patience with yourself there is no reason why most people without some kind of physical issue can’t add those casts to their repertoire without hurting themselves. Sometimes there are new muscles to activate and DEVELOP, not just train to do the right thing, so going slow at first is a good idea. A lot of people will feel there is no need to make the effort, which is perfectly fine as well.

The "it feels awkward" conclusion shouldn't stop a caster from learning the motions. Everything feels awkward at first. Trying and practicing is the only way to gain that muscle memory.
I was the same at first, it felt awkward. But I wanted to learn and have full range on any river - it worked !! It didn't matter which way I was fishing a river or which way the wind was blowing, I was able to execute a cast and deliver my goods. I encourage everyone to learn and become fluent with either hand dominant.
Once this "shoulder thing" of mine is behind me, I will try to regain that left hand memory.


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Mike...this is my plan...thanks ...I will be down at the local pond becoming fluent with right hand up casting and practicing managing my running line with what ever way works best...as long as it shoots unimpaired.
 
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