July 8th, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Musings On Teaching My Left Arm to Cast A Fly
By Mac Miller

First of all, why when the right arm is doing a passable job of flycasting, would I want to get the left arm involved in something it "obviously" won't be any good at doing? I can think of several reasons such as to spell a fatigued right arm or to substitute for a "tennis elbow" injured right arm. However in my case, I have just returned from bonefishing close to the equator where the tradewinds almost always blow from 15 - 20+ miles per hour. With the wind at my back I discovered that the section of water from 1 o'clock to 4 o'clock was not available to a right hand cast. When you have a guide at your shoulder pointing out "big bone, 40 feet, 2 o'clock" you would be removing barbless hooks from either his or your hide and increasing the size of the daily tip---destroying a new friendship at the same time. At the guide's suggestion I did try releasing the line on my back cast which was workable, but was lacking in accuracy.

Therefore, a few days ago, I started to teach the left arm the casting stroke. My left arm, I now realize, is like a first time fly caster with the added advantage of never even having cast a spinning or bait casting rod to pick up the bad habit baggage that came with my right arm when it first tried serious fly casting. It is also "closely"(?) connected to a brain that has read all the fly casting instruction that is on the web, several books on fly casting, the tips sections of magazines and watched more that a few instructional video tapes. It is like I am watching my own private instruction pupil.

The first thing I noticed was that there is a definite lack of strength on the left side but I expect this to improve with use. The second thing is that the left arm is a better athlete than I expected. Most of the time it does almost exactly what I request and to my amazement does it better than the right arm did at this stage. After all, the left arm has always been thought of as not having much coordination etc and a lot of time used only to hold the steering wheel, while important tasks like shifting are assigned to the right side. To tell the truth, this is the first time I have been able to see the much-described tight loop with the famous "v" top this close up. It is laying out 40 feet of line on the back cast or fore cast, keeping the back cast high, the left thumb is always in the correct position, and with a little more strength the forward snap has a lot of promise. The biggest problem is the line hand. My faithful lifetime friend who shifts cars flawlessly, pulls triggers at just the right moment and earned me a living for more than 40 years has trouble just keeping tension on the line and hauling is out of the question at this point. Who would have thought it? ~ Mac Miller

Archive of Readers Casts

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice