Once there were 10, now there's 8 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Once there were 10, now there's 8

03-27-2003, 06:13 PM
I had the unfortunate experience of having the pointer and middle fingers on my left hand amputated last week as a result of a snowblower accident. My fault, my stupidity - I always use a little plastic shovel to clear the chute when blocked, and just was impatient and foolhardily decided to use my hand instead.

Fortunately, I am right handed, so fly-fishing is still possible, although I may have to hang up the golf clubs (I would rather fish anyways..).

Just curious as to if there are any folks out there with a similar "challenge", and what they have done to deal with it, on any level. Without actually test driving the fishing process (can't right now due to stitches and pins in ring finger), I don't see this injury as presenting a major challenge to the continued pursuit of my favorite sport in God's great earth.

Your thoughts would be welcome.


03-27-2003, 07:25 PM
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident. One of my fishing buddies lost his right hand in an accident some 1o years ago.
He still handles the fly rod quite well, but had to master left handed casting. What about the line you ask?, practice made him an excellent "precision" caster, so he selects only those casts that he can retriev with the rod under his arm pit and the rest he improvises.
Just to tell you that challenges are never such that you can't overcome.

03-27-2003, 08:14 PM
Wait 'til you try wading in "heavy water" on slippery rocks when you're approaching 69. It's really a chore.


03-27-2003, 09:34 PM

Sorry to hear about your accident - but a belated welcome to the forum.

I see you fish the Farmington.

Maybe we can hook up when you feel ready to get back on the water - if you're looking for someone to fish with.

03-27-2003, 10:35 PM
Andrew, sorry to hear about your misfortune.

Tell me, are you a right handed golfer? If so you may find that the amputation of the two fingers on your left hand may not present such a problem.

Obviously you won't be able to interlock or overlap your left index finger and your right pinkie finger. The really important component of your grip is the left pinkie/ring finger, though. Those fingers, in conjunction with your right thumb, index and middle fingers do the bulk of the work. That's not to say that your new situation won't take any getting used to. I merely want to point out that all is not lost on the golfing front.

As for fishing, you'll definitely be able to adapt.

As a point of reference, I took my 2 1/2 year old to the driving range last weekend. The gentleman next to us had a complete left arm amputation. Using only his right arm he consistently hit beautiful iron shots. The human mind and body are amazingly capable of overcoming obstacles. Don't worry, just adapt as best you can. Good luck.

03-28-2003, 06:18 AM
Andrew, my great uncle, Val Bialas, was an olympic speed skater. He represented the US in three Olympics, and made the team the fourth time. He was returning home after the qualifications, his car was hit by a train, and his right leg was amputated just below the knee. Of course, his Olympic ice skating days were over.

But he was tough - got a wooden leg, and got back on skates, and was STILL good. Not Olympic quality, of course, but damn good. He taught all us kids to ice skate well at a very young age (I was 4). He used to turn everything into a contest. I have seen him throw a baseball a full 100 yards (on a football field, so we could check distances).

He won the city tennis championship a couple of times WITH A WOODEN LEG! They even named a municipal winter park (skiing, ice skating, sledding and tobogganing) after him.

If I was ever dumb enough to even suggest he was handicapped, I'd be wearing my hips around my shoulders! He was a friend to me, and a great influence on my life.

He used to go to a military hospital and give "pep" talks to amputees after WW II. After he did some fancy stuff on stage, he would show 'em his wooden leg. It impressed them, and gave them confidence. I am sure that more than one amputee would remember this.

So, look at it this way - you CAN do anything you want. That was always his prime message.



03-28-2003, 11:53 AM
sory to hear about it maybe i'll see you onm the farmington this summer

03-28-2003, 07:53 PM
Sorry to hear about your hand, atleast its not your right hand, then it would be a real challenge!well goodluck!:cool:

03-28-2003, 10:26 PM
Andrew -

Very sorry to hear about the accident.

Simon Gawesworth's article in the current Flyfisherman Magazine talks about how effective it can be to use spey casting techniques for limited casting space areas with a single hand, requiring only a haul with the other hand. The power you can generate is significant even without hauling at all.

Casters manage line using the bottom two fingers to hold loops of line so you should be fine when the stitches come off, I assume the thumb could hold the line against the upper palm for creating tension during hauling as well.

Again sorry to hear about your accident. It seems to me that you will likely be able to fish unencumbered as soon as things are healed.

03-28-2003, 11:05 PM
I feel so bad for you...

I am glad to hear that you will still be fly fishing, please let me offer you some advise that may be of some help.

Use knotless leaders for a while, blood-knots could pose a problem until you get use to using your ring finger as your index.

The knotless leader will help until you gain fine-motor skills again in your left hand.

Best of luck and keep on fishing.

03-31-2003, 05:59 PM
Thanks to all for your concern and feedback. Given the desire, and love of the sport, I hope to overcome this challenge..

tight lines,


05-27-2003, 08:08 PM
not finding finger loss a problem - off to a great start of the year in the lower farmington tma. Seems to be alot more browns this year than past, and given the thickness and fight, many appear to be holdovers. Hendrickson hatch appears to be at tail end - bring on the sulphers - pheasant tails getting th job done on the nymphing side of things. Tight lines..

05-28-2003, 03:23 PM
maybe i'll see you on the farmington this summer
good luck out there

06-03-2003, 12:14 AM

have a few "challenges" of my own...Have had three kee surgeries, pins in my right foot, have R. A., have broken every bone in my body at least once (except my nose), and had stroke last fall, followed by a petite stroke this past winter, have extreme numbness in my fingers , and lost the sight in my left eye....still tying and still fishing like hell. I wear the knee braces, especially if having to hike in or climb fences. Still tying every chance i get. My work is not masterful, but it doesn't have to be to be effective ( no laughing Dble Haul). just hang in there and know your limitations, then find the patience and resilience to change those limitations.

P.S. i'm only thirty!!!

06-06-2003, 07:47 PM
Having reached the ripe old age of 41, I truly appreciate and recognize that my injury falls very low on the scale of human tragedy. Having gone through the experience of my then 6 year old, now 12 year old daughters diagnosis and susequent treatment for leukemia - (all is well) - I know things could be a lot worse. Your story proves it !!!

Wear a seat belt when you are driving, and a helmet if you have the opportunity. Good luck with life and thanks for your kind thoughts...


06-07-2003, 12:56 AM
i lost two fraternity brothers, who were brothers to themselves, to leukemia a couple a years ago. nasty stuff to battle...glad your two darlin's pulled through!!! how's the hand feelin' now?

06-13-2003, 06:19 PM
Fishhead - thanks for the kind thoughts - point of clarification though - I only have the one daughter - she was diagnosed with Leukemia at 6 and a half - now 12 and doing great.

Hand is doing okay - I actually have something to add to my resume - that of being able to tell when the weathers going to change, identified by the increase in throbbing in my stubs...

Through much practice - have found that the loss will be relatively inconsequential as it pertains to fishing - doesn't look like golf will be a strong point, but then again it never was - and now I have more time to fish, so it pretty much works out okay !!!

Continue to enjoy life as it seems you do...