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EricdSeptember 28th, 2010, 7:31 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Hey All,

The last time I went out with a guide I was told that my casting technique was going to wreak havoc on my rotator cuff, especially if I was going to be fishing five days straight, which I was. A few excursions earlier, I had been fishing the high sticking method with an indicator and my shoulder hasn't quite recovered from doing that for several hours. I am grateful for this guide's keen observation skills and his lessons on how better to rest my shoulder while casting, with constant reminders all day. I think I'm doing much better but I am dreadfully scared that I am going to mess up my casting arm permanently because I continue to feel a strain in my shoulder that I unwisely shrug off when the fish are swallowing my flies. A doctor may ask me to rate the pain from one to ten with ten being unbearable and I would rate it about a four.

Do you have any really great arm stretches that work well for you that I can do before, during and after a day on the river...or, does anyone know of any great chiropractor fly fisherpeople in the Minneapolis area?

I'm 32 for crying out loud!


(I don't know how I posted this in the fly tying forum, sorry.)
CaseyPSeptember 28th, 2010, 8:23 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
here is the best stretch I know for exactly what ails you. my rotator cuff suffered a tear some years back and a therapist helped me avoid surgery with this:

holding a dish towel in your hand, reach up behind your head and as far down the back of your neck as you can. maybe you can even reach the top of your back.

with your other hand, reach up your back from the bottom, trying to grab the towel. when you get it, hold that stretch GENTLY for 30 seconds or so. DO NOT pull too hard. you will feel it most strongly in the arm reaching up from the bottom.

now do it the other way around, holding the towel in the other hand.

if you do this faithfully, you will stretch out all the damage each day. eventually you may actually manage to touch the two hands, which is what i can do, but it's not required.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
PaulRobertsSeptember 29th, 2010, 10:13 am

Posts: 1776
I strained something in my elbow a few years ago, catching big largemouths. My Doc's first case of Basser's Elbow. He told me not to use it until it healed or I'd been in for surgery. He gave me a neoprene and velcro armband type brace, and a bottle of Alieve.

I wasn't about to stop fishing, and I wasn't going to have surgery, so I learned to fish left handed. OMG, what a trip. It was like having an experienced teacher and a newb in the same body! I eventually got proficient fishing left. I can also mouse with my left hand, to avoid carpel tunnel. Haven't learned to fly-fish left yet though, but it sure would be useful.

Good luck with it.
AdirmanSeptember 29th, 2010, 2:01 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 504
I've also struggled w/ the shoulder thing, tennis elbow, you name it!!I've been practicing casting lefty as well to try to take some pressure off my right. I don't cast great but I can do it good enough to get it out there 30-35ft w/ my left.It helps to be able to use both I think to avoid strains like the aforementioned!
EricdSeptember 29th, 2010, 7:52 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Thanks for the tip, Casey. I guess it's no wonder that I'm not the only one with "fly fishers shoulder."

My local trout season ends tomorrow and tonight I had some of the best fishing of the year. My friend and I were fishing almost identical flies and methods and he caught one to my many. Sorry friend, but it was fun listening to you curse at your tangles and misses while I was having the time of my life.

AfishinadoSeptember 30th, 2010, 5:08 am

Posts: 76

Thanks for the stretching exercise you posted. I have a RC injury and it really bothers me when I FF a lot, especially with heavier weight rods and often when doing a lot of high-sticking on the stream. I've taught myself to cast left handed (I'm a righty) for when my shoulder really bothers me. Actually, I've found it quite handy to cast lefty in some situations on the stream, even when my shoulder is fine. Any way, thanks again for your post, I'll give it a try.
DitchSeptember 30th, 2010, 7:09 am
Fuquay-Varina NC

Posts: 36
as an aside I am left handed and right eyed for shooting I have always been somewhat ambidextrous and have found that it is interesting to to try the other hand if you can't get the fly in the target zone because of cover. it is also useful for teaching the kids I have one daughter who is left and one right handed this allows me to show them in their dominate hand rather than having them change over. (it also was nice when i picked up a antique Orvis reel that did not convert to right hand crank to be able to go at it both ways.

Listening to the rain and waiting for the trout.

There are no bad fishing days.
JesseSeptember 30th, 2010, 9:40 am
Posts: 378
Something else that you can do, and thats much simpler but helps is before you fish once your already geared up; roatate your arms in small circles forward and progressively make your circles lager. Then once their wide do the same thing except going backwards. It's quick and easy and will help warm your shoulder muscles up. I do it before i know i will be having a long day on the water. Hope everything goes well bud!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.

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