Help With Casting
A friend has the use of only one arm after suffering a stroke. He can cast but not retrieve. Can you help?
Mike Marshall replies: At Hanningfield I fished near a one-armed angler. The way he used one hand was remarkable, but the only thing he could not do was cast more than about 19 yards, due to the lack of double haul. He cast one handed, releasing and clamping the line between finger and rod handle. Retrieving was achieved by holding a conventional reel and rod handle under his armpit, rod angled down. Then while reaching forward, a figure-of-eight hand movement brought line in which he dropped. In the event of an offer a sharp pull down and, sometimes, a sideways body twisting motion set the hook.
When a trout was felt his outstretched hand lifted the rod to a playing angle, then line was pulled down or released, again controlling line with his outstretched hand. In the event of more line being needed he would raise his hand, hold the rod with the reel free, still controlling the line, then let the trout run. It was then back to pulling and releasing.
Netting was achieved by placing the fishing net in shallow water using thumb and finger while squatting down. The trout was brought in with the rod up, then with the rod under the arm again, he lifted the net. Brilliant!
I suggest you Google-up ‘Vivarelli fly reels’, which should reveal a choice of suppliers and a price of around £130. This semi-automatic reel is operated by a lever that you squeeze with a finger or two. In this way single-handed playing is possible without clockwork springs or batteries. It is not heavy but suffers the disadvantage of small line capacity. However, this can be mitigated by shortening any line to 20 yards from the reel end and using small diameter braided backing.
Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.