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Ambidextrous Tenkara?

by Bill Piatek

I'm a righty but I used to fly fish lefty occasionally. Now that my right shoulder is nearly shot I've been thinking about ambidextrous tenkara fishing.

Seems to me it might be nice for those spots where it's hard to get a cast off.

Anybody do a lot of tenkara with the non-dominant arm?


Comments for Ambidextrous Tenkara?

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Feb 28, 2018
Ambi always
by: Garry Jackson

Oh yeah, I always switch off my rod arm when fishing tenkara. My back gets kinked facing the same way and casting the same direction all the time, so I find it pretty easy to just switch arms whenever necessary. And switch-casting allows me to target some pretty tight places, especially on small brushy creeks. With no reel in the way, it's really not hard at all. I actually find my left-handed casts seem to be more on target and more delicate, for some reason. Probably because I have to pay closer attention to my timing, which isn't a bad thing.
I love this game!

Mar 01, 2018
Give it a go
by: David Riley (UK)

Hi Bill
I am right handed but I have programmed myself to cast left or right handed. Because a Tenkara rod is so light you should find it quite straight forward. When you have a go with your left hand think hard first what you are going to do and then go for it, soft and slow. Just ensure any back cast or flick aims high enough to clear any vegetation. It’s rather like concentrating on your first few casts when you first learned to cast.
I almost guarantee that if you concentrate as you cast, each cast will be a good one. As you get used to using your left arm instead of your right you should find that your left arm becomes ‘programmed’ to doing it automatically.
I am now at the stage when I fish left or right handed, depending upon where I want to place the fly. Very useful in an awkward breeze on the river,it also means regardless of which bank you are on, you can make a good cast. Have fun

Mar 01, 2018
by: Tony Schollmeier

I never really got into offhand conventional tackle or western fly tackle. I've tried occasionally but never really clicked.

Fixed line fishing is totally different though, admittedly most my fixed line fishing is with two handed rods but I fish single handed too. One thing I started doing early in my fixed line fishing was using whichever hand was more comfortable for the spot I was casting to / fishing. I've found with no reel in the way it is way easier to adapt to using either hand.

Situations vary a lot with single handed fixed line fishing. With two handed rods I pretty much always have the hand on the upstream side of my body higher on the rod and the downstream hand on the butt - which feels very obvious when you try it (IMO).

Mar 01, 2018
Off Hand Casting
by: Herb S.

Hi Bill,

When I began teaching fly casting in my 30's I taught myself to cast left handed. One technique to get some people started is to grasp the rod on top of the student's hand and cast yourself to better help them to get a feel for it. It's easier and less awkward to stand at a person's right rather than stand behind them.

It's not hard to learn to cast with the off hand. Like everything else training muscle memory is a matter of practice. With fixed line you don't have to educate the line hand since there's no line to hold!

By the way, when I bought my first two-handed rod I found that it was easy to learn to cast two-handed. And switching back and forth, left to right handed, comes in very handy for fishing both sides of a stream.

Good luck, happy casting and let us know how it works out.


Mar 01, 2018
by: Bill

Thanks for all the input guys. I'll let you know how it goes. Haven't gone two handed yet but it's coming.

Mar 01, 2018
Fixed Line Freedom
by: Les Albjerg

One of the beauties of fixed line fishing is the freedom from not only the reel, but guides. I am left handed. Most lefties have learned to live in the right hand world by using our right hands. I fish one handed with both hands, and when two handed fishing follow the same technique as Tony Schollmeier.

One of the big lessons I learned early on from the "Discover Tenkara" videos was without guides, you have a lot of freedom to manipulate the rod. Things like adding a little roll at the end of a cast. Arc manipulations with the wrist. The list goes on! I haven't heard a whole lot about the advantages of being free from the guides and the ballast of a reel. That to me is one of the greatest freedoms and joys of fixed line fishing.

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