I can think of many situations where being somewhat ambidextrous as a caster can pay off in a big way.

Say you’re left-handed and fishing your way upstream along a left bank. When you want to pop casts around the bushes that protrude into the water (where the fish often are), it would be better to use your right hand than reach across your body with your left.

When you’re fishing with someone else from a drift boat, it’s usually better to have the lines and flies outside of the boat (off bow and stern) than swinging over the oarsman’s head in the center.

And what if you get hurt? I know a guy who hurt his rotator cuff on a fishing vacation and had to sit and watch (after paying a lot of money) because he couldn’t switch hands.

We should all be able to switch hands. And the secret to being able to do so is so simple, it will make you smile and shake your head.

First go ahead and try to cast with your off hand. It’s probably going to be a mess. That’s okay.

Now do the same thing, only this time have your dominant hand hold onto the reel as you cast. Trust me, it will make a huge difference.

Why is that? What this really is, is our body and brain underscoring the point that casting is all about timing and tempo, and casting has very little to do with strength or power. When you put your dominant hand on the reel, you’re syncing your brain (your brain is used to working with your dominant hand, which is why you are more “coordinated” and can perform fine motor skills better with your dominant hand) with the casting stroke. You’re letting that dominant hand offer “coaching” on starting and stopping the rod, tempo and rod position, although the non-dominant hand is still doing most of the work.

Now, eventually, if you take a few minutes to practice fishing this way every time you go out, your non-dominant hand will require less and less coaching. You’ll eventually be able to take the other hand off the reel, and cast normally. If you’re like me, you probably won’t ever be truly equal in casting from both sides, certainly not in terms of distance. But you don’t have to be. If you’re merely proficient and fairly accurate on your “off” side, even no more than 30 feet out, you will improve your abilities to not only catch fish, but also fish with other anglers in tight confines. Your fishing partners will thank you. You can thank me later.