Float Tube Fishing

Article By Thomas R. Dempsey, M.D. CCI

For all you guys who are looking for another ride in the spring try float tube.  You will be surprised to see how economical, practical and adventuresome fishing from a float tube can be.  One of the great things about using a float tube is the ability to access areas that are impossible to hit from the bank.  In environments where there are trees and vegetation that grow right down to the water, it is very difficult to fish without hanging up in the trees.  With a float tube you can stay away from the bank and away from the canopy of the trees and you can cover the whole lake or pond.

Float tubes range from $100-$300.  Throw in a set of flippers and that’s really all you need.  Nowadays the tubes are made with a seat that lets you sit upright instead of stepping through a seat that keeps you lower in the water and is harder to get in and out of.  Zippers on each side give access to compartments where you can store your gear and the front also has an opening where you can put additional fishing items.

When I announce I’m going out in my float tube, oftentimes I hear “what about the snakes and the gators?” Truthfully, I don’t worry about them.  I see snakes and gators whether I am fishing from the bank or from the water.  I don’t know of a single case where a fisherman in a float tube has been bitten by a snake or attacked by an alligator.

So, if you are looking for something a little bit different, get yourself a float tube and hit some of these ponds and little streams that have been looked at from afar but not fished because of the structure around them.

Casting with Both Hands

Article By Thomas R. Dempsey, M.D. CCI

The mere mentioning of the casting with both hands sends chill bumps up and down the spine of most anglers.  The initial response is “I can’t do that.”  My answer to that question is “Yes, you can if you try.”

For the last several years, Gulf Coast Fly Fishing School has worked with all of their students to learn to cast with the non-dominant hand.  It sounds like a monumental task, after all how would we react if someone told us we would have to learn to write with our non-dominant hand or, as a surgeon, operate with our non-dominant hand.

Actually, casting with the non-dominant hand makes practical sense to the dedicated angler.  For example, if the wind is blowing into your right side, and you are a right-handed caster, then the challenge is keeping the fly away from our head.  This can be accomplished by changing our rod plane to a more horizontal cast, casting over the opposite shoulder in a cross-body cast, or casting back-handed on the opposite side.  All of these casts have significant limitations.

The horizontal cast is prone to tick and is not extremely accurate. The off shoulder cast across body limits the amount of translation we can make therefore it limits the distance we can cast.  And practically most students do not execute it correctly.  The body serves as a body block on our back cast limiting significantly the length of our casting stroke.  Casting backhanded is unreliable and inaccurate in the hands of most anglers.  So, it makes perfect sense to use the other hand.

It’s a question of training and muscle memory.  The same muscles are present in the non-dominant as in the dominant extremity…the same number of nerves and blood vessels…all basically mirror the dominant side.  All we have to do now is train our brain to perform the same actions with the fly rod that we are able to accomplish with our dominant side.

This can be done simply by beginning at the beginning but changing everything 180 degrees to the opposite side.  That means if we are right-handed, our left foot is going to be back now and our right foot is going to be pointing towards our target.  Our grip is going to be exactly the same with the thumb on top and the casting stroke is going to be the same…watching the back cast, watching the forward cast, maintaining your trajectory and maintaining your casting arc and the amount of translation.

I would advise and encourage all of you fly fishermen to explore the concept of casting with your non-dominant side.