The left vs. the right

After months of back-and-forth politicking, our country finally has a new president-elect … and, perhaps, a new direction. To be honest, I’m glad it’s over. It was the ugliest campaign season I can remember, and it needed to end.

Now that it’s done, I’d like to share my view on “The Left vs. The Right.”

But not in a political way. What I’d like to discuss are the advantages of casting a lure with either hand and how it has made me a better angler. If you read on and follow my lead, I’m confident your skill level and catch rate will improve.

Starting early

When I was a kid, I spent several summers visiting my older sister’s family in northern Alabama. During those visits, my brother-in-law would take me fishing.

His name is Wayne Naramore, and he was the first tournament angler I ever met. He competed in many local and regional events throughout the state, and he was good. He won a lot. Sometimes he would take me along during his scouting trips for upcoming competitions, and what I learned from those early experiences has proved invaluable throughout my career.

Perhaps the most impactful lesson was learning to throw a baitcaster with my left hand. I’m normally right-handed, but Wayne told me if I forced myself to try, it would come naturally in no time. He was right!

The reason he pushed me to cast with my weaker hand was so that my technique would become more efficient. Instead of making each cast in a more conventional manner — with my right hand then passing the reel to my left for the retrieve — I could skip a step. It meant I could make more casts in a day while gaining a whole new set of angles from which to present a lure.

Switch-Hitting

In no time, I was able to make accurate presentations with my left hand. And because I never abandoned my right-hand cast, I became truly ambidextrous in my approach … at least with a baitcaster.

Later, I spent countless hours aiming at passing targets in the swift waters of the Suwannee River. I fished mostly near the Gulf, and when the tide was falling, the current would rip. That shortened the window of opportunity drastically. To get the lure where it needed to be, I had to be quick and precise. There were no second chances.

Bass on the Suwannee like to hold tight to cover, just out of the current. To catch them, your presentation must be spot on. It was the perfect training ground for honing my casting skills.

Other good targets were available on the many lakes in our area. They all have plenty of docks — some low to the water, some high. I started on those with the most clearance until I got better, then I targeted the docks with only inches of clearance.

For a while, it wasn’t so much about catching fish as putting the lure into places that seemed impossible before. I loved it, and I got pretty good at it. So good, in fact, Shimano used me for numerous instructional videos on casting.

To this day, I rely heavily on a two-handed approach. And I can’t tell you how many times it’s enabled me to put a lure in otherwise impossible places — spots where overlooked bass hide.

So, whether you lean to the left or to the right, I hope you’ll give the other perspective a try. I guarantee you’ll catch more fish!

That is my campaign promise to you.

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