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Discussion Starter #1
When you find yourself on the "wrong" side of the river do you cast back-handed or do you switch hands and cast "left-handed" (assuming your're right-handed)?

I always wanted to be an ambidextrous caster but it remain a goal at this point. I cast back-handed instead of switching hands most of the time.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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The biggest factor that creates a 'wrong side' situation is really the wind for me, because the double spey and snake roll (just learned it) solves the side of body part really effectively unless the wind is roaring up the right bank against a righty caster.

In that case I find that a snaptee and backhand (reverse) is really effective and some days I can even do the cast fairly well :rolleyes:

Doublespey and I watched Dec Hogan showing someone this cast up at Steelhead park two seasons ago... man, if I could only do it that well!

When I started out I always switched over to the lefthanded single spey or snaptee in these conditions. In fact I used to make myself fish lefty a lot just to force myself to get more comfortable with it. I remember my first all-lefty steelhead too, a nice fall hen on the Snoqualmie. Went right back to righty as a reward once I released her :devil:

I hope to continue a full rounded regimen as I learn more and more every year.
 

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I backhand. While I have switched hands I have never been satisfied, especially in the power department. Many of the masters promote the backhand. Though I do not subscribe to Mike Maxwell's methods, he does state in his inimmiatble way that the backhand single spey will probably become one of your best casts (for me that is true). While Derek Brown casts extremely well with both hands, he does admit to a preference for keeping his strong hand at the top.

I have found that the cross-handed set-up makes it very difficult NOT to bring the rod into the correct firing position. Sometimes when casting over my right shoulder I get a little lazy and cast a bit sidearm or let my tip drop a bit too low ( I do this more often on short casts), when bringing the rod up into firing position over my left shoulder, however, you have no choice but keep the tip up - try it as you sit in front of your computer you will see that you cannot drop your right hand even if you wanted to.

This past Thompson season I injured my right elbow while fighting a wildfire that threatened our campground. Actually I tore up the muscles around the tendon that produces the dreaded tennis elbow. The severe case of this malady that I am still rehabing made my right shoulder deliveries difficult. While I didn't really figure it out until late in the season, the problem was that I was unconsciously protecting the tendon by not lifting the rod high enough. This of course resulted in too much anchor on the water and difficulty achieving the distances was acustomed to. Yet I could cast just fine backhanded as the natural motion keeps the elbow up. The backhand delivery saved my season and will always be part of my arsenal of casts.
 

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Many years ago when learing to fish with my father we always fished the right bank so I learnt to cast left handed, yes my father is left handed:chuckle:
When I reached the ripe old age of 17 and drove myself to the river I went down to the left bank what a difference I was good for another 30ft.
I am now grateful I leant to cast lefthanded first as now which ever bank I;m on I find it natural to single spey with upstream wind or double spey with strong downstream wind.

Never learnt to snakeroll.

Malcolm
 

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Hooked on Salmon
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Malcolm,
Like you, I have a strong preference for the single spey, whatever bank I am on.
For a period during the 80-s, I and some friends leased a beat in Norway that only was right bank. (Back then such a beat normallly was half the price of what the opponents on the left bank payed. Especially if the right one was steep and overgrown.)
One of us was lefthanded and had a distinct bonus. It was so frustrationg to see him in easy action that I decided to only fish left handed for a while. It was testing at first but after a few days it all worked out. Since I almost prefer the right bank, as the competition appears to be slightly less.

I agree with Kush, and others, that the ""backhand" solves meny situations - but it will never be more than a compromise to me.

In Underhand casts it actually is beneficial to have the strongest hand at the butt, as that cast relies on a push in the upper hand simultanious with an even stronger pull in the butt. For old dogs like me it is hard to get that right with the dominant hand uppermost - it still is used to when long and heavy lines had to be whacked out with brutal force......

My best advice is to practice the left hand casting. Do it at first in those right bank runs that best are covered with shorter casts - then one doesn't feel that any time really is lost.

"Tight loops"

Per
 

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Per,

A spiral roll from the right bank solves a lot of problems. In fact it is the primary reason I started to fool with it in the first place. It was the success of the spiral roll that led me to the desire to perfect the backhand version instead of the single spey! In the end it was the problem with upstream winds that forced me to the single spey - though my right shoulder single still kind of sucks, the left shoulder version good - go figure. Actually, I attribute this to the aforementioned "natural" efficiency of the cross-hand set-up.

ps - the Canadian team will be back !
 

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Hooked on Salmon
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Kush,
Ever since I saw you whacking those great spiral rolls out at the Fraser I have felt humble....
Still I am certain that the ability to cast freely with both hands is desirable.
Per

As for hockey:" it always is easiest to fight the bear when he is fresh out of the den......." (an old Swedish saying)
 

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I have been teaching my self to switch hands and so far it is working out ok,Being a left hander it is my right hand i am having the problems with:hehe: . I am just concentrating on the single spey,the double spey and the snake roll and it is working, I just need to practice,practice,practice:chuckle: , Tight lines,brian
 

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Although I'd never considered myself ambidexterous, as a beginning spey-caster I learned to cast about equally from either side. At present I have a sore shoulder, so the last two times to the Skagit and Sauk I picked places that would let me fish from my well-shoulder side. I'm going to take Kush's advice and practice cross-body casting -- if it remains necessary.
 

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Backhand

I backhand because it came more naturally when learning. Now I fish with the backhand, but practice both. I also like that I don't have to switch hands with the rod after the cast, as I hold right and reel left.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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I just finished editing some footage of kush throwing backhand spiral rolls for the spey pages. I still have to trim it down and them compress it so that it will "fit" through your modem but I'll try to include it with the next upload.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My impression from reading the many much appreciated responses is that there's no clear preference on casting back-handed or switch hand. However on the other thread of winding I think the majority of the responses indicated a preference of casting and winding with different hands. (I should have used the polling radio button feature as suggested by Juro then I'd have a more scientific result :) )

One thing is clear - it's definitely better to be ambidextrous in both casting and winding then none of these would be a compromise. (yeah like we didn't know that to start with eh, however I was hoping to find an excuse for my complacency in not training my weak hand :hehe: )

p.s. Has anyone seen a reel that could be wound from both sides? Here's a marketing idea for you reel manufacturer product managers. Other than costs and weight considerations, mechanically I think it'll work. :razz:

Regards,
Andy
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Per, in playing about with the Underhand this past fall I found that having the strong or dominant hand on the bottom was a key for me, as you mention in your post. Having my dominant hand on the butt really tightens up my loops and creates a totally different casting stroke and feel to my casts, the closest I've come to what I'm guessing the Underhand must feel like for experienced practitioners. Try as I might, I still fight years of training when trying to Underhand off my right shoulder--I want to use too much top hand--but it is much easier off the left.
 

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Hooked on Salmon
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Dana,

The best way to cope with too dominant a upper hand when learning Underhand casts is to lower the grip. Put the upper hand just above the reel-seat and try to cast. The upper hand then not will get much leverage - the only way to get the line out is to work the butt.

Once the lower hand has gotten the message one can to start to search for a correct upper grip. Fot me it is about 4 inches lower down the cork than when casting long lines.

If the going gets sloppy again - lower the hand a bit and start all over again.

I remember so well when I fished with John Randolph and Trey Combs on the Yokanga in Russia, some years ago. John was complaining over his casting that he felt to be rusty. I instinctively asked him to lower the upper grip, and "whosh!" he had it all flying like a dream again. I mention it as it was the first time I clearly saw where the problem was. Try - it really works!!

"Tight loops"
Per
 

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Coednakedspey
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Per,
You never told Dana about the olden days of underhand casting where you never had the option of moving the hand up or down to remedy the situation and the only way you were taught was your hand was taped to the Upper grip and you casted until you got it, and if you didn't get it, you had the rod taped to your hand until you did.

Kinda similar to the days when they didn't have waders, and you had to walk to the river with only one pair of wading shoes and half a shooting head... in negative something weather but you still caught em...Ok....this is getting out of hand.

Awesome advice btw.

Scott
 

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Left/right Reel

Andy T

Most reels can be changed to use with the left or right hand. To do so there is an internal click that has to be reversed, sometimes a part turned over, and the line has to be pulled off and respooled with the oposite direction of winding.

I am still learning to use both hands and still use backhand more for the left side of the river.

TR3
 

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Discussion Starter #17
TR3,

Thx for your advise on the left/right wind conversion and the spooling tip.

However in my earlier post in which I refer to a hypothetical reel that could be wound from both sides, I was thinking of a reel that has a handle on both the left and the right side of the reel. As such one can wind it left or right anytime without converting or respooling...

I was half joking, half serious when I mentioned that idea. :razz: Thx for your reply though. :)

Regards,
Andy
 

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I use both hands depending on which side of the river and wind direction. I also tend to overpower the rod and will sometimes change hands to back off on the power.
some days one hand just works better than the other.

Rich
 
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