Ever thought to yourself, “gee, it’d sure be nice to be able to cast both right AND left handed?” If so, you’re not alone.
The ability to cast competently with both hands is an extremely valuable skill that very few anglers posses. However, most folks don’t believe us when we tell them that learning to cast with their non-dominant hand is actually not as difficult as they might think.
What’s the secret? In one word – Practice.
But not just any practice.. The key is practicing the right way, using drills that utilize the muscle memory you’ve already developed with your dominant hand to ‘teach’ your non-dominant hand the correct movements.
So, for those serious about learning to cast with both hands, below are three simple casting drills to help break the learning curve.
- Cast Two Rods, Simultaneously. In order to instill the proper timing and tempo required to create consistently tight loops, try casting two rods at the same time – one in your right hand and one in your left hand. Use two rods of similar line weights and actions, strip out 30-40 feet of line beyond the rod tip to start, pinch the line under your index finger of both hands, and practice false casting at a fixed distance with both rods in unision. While casting with your non-dominant hand alone can feel incredibly awkward, many find it surprisingly easy for the non-dominant hand to mimic the same movements as your dominant hand. This allows your non-dominant hand to quickly develop the proper muscle memory. Cast with both rods until you are producing consistently tight loops with both hands, then progress to casting only with non-dominant hand. Keep practicing with a fixed amount of line until you feel confident you can throw tight loops on command.
- Watch Your Shadow. Once you are comfrotable casting a fixed amount of line with your non-dominant hand, then it’s time to work on your line hand, more specifically, the double haul. Relearning the double with your opposite hand can be extremely difficult without being able to see exactly what you’re doing in real time. Sure, you could take a quick video of yourself casting, but pausing your cast in order to refer to the video doesn’t allow you to make adjustments while you’re actually casting. Instead, try practicing in an open area on a sunny day, and position yourself so that you can watch your shadow as you cast. It might sound silly, but you’d be amazed at how much easier it is to adjust the timing of your line hand when you can see it in real time – especially once you’ve already learned how to haul with your dominant hand.
- Pantomime. When it comes to fly casting, one of the most effective drills of all time is a simple pantomime – pretending to cast without a rod in hand in order to instill proper muscle memory. Its how many of us learned how to cast to begin with, and its a great way learn how to cast with your non-dominant hand too. Going through the motions without a rod in hand allows you to slow the tempo down as much as needed when learning to correctly choreograph the movements between your rod hand and your line hand, particularly when learning to double haul.