I'm not going
to make a big fuss about how you hold the
rod: some casters like to point the index
finger upwards (mainly stream fishers),
others point with the thumb (especially
stillwater addicts), yet others use a V-grip
(common among competition casters). I favour
thumb on top, unless perhaps I'm side casting
with a particularly poky little rod - then
I'll probably use finger pointing.
variations to the standard thumb-up grip, are
the flat-thumb screwdriver grip (thumb and
index finger opposite each other) and the
crooked thumb grip which gives a similar
result. I evolved to use the crooked thumb, I
guess it just felt more natural for me.
(Ergometric grips offer a similar grip).
Although grip is, I believe, a thing of personal
choice, how you actually 'feel' the rod isn't! It is critical to
have a relaxed grip. You must hold the rod lightly in your
hand. What works very well for me, is to bend the hand backwards; this puts the
hand outside the elbow and gives for a more comfortable stroke.
Often you will
come across anglers who favour casting with
the rod rings turned outward. In other words
they are casting using the rod turned at 90
degrees to the standard. There are a couple
of thoughts on this:
first opinion is dead against it: rod
manufacturers spine rods for a
purpose, so we should bend the rod
through the spine,
second opinion is all for it: as it
enables us to keep the fly line from
touching the rod therefore reducing
What I would say is this: if
the spine of the rod makes an obvious
difference to the cast then use the spine,
otherwise it's your choice...
For an improved grip you could try this page.
When a blank is rolled an area of overlap occurs. This is the spine of the rod. Rod builders ring through the natural plane of bending. This is important for if they were to ring against the spine, the rod would twist during the forward stroke. Sometimes you can feel this happening during the stroke with the rings twisted out. If this is noticeable then don't do it!
As a further note of interest, when attempting to cast off the right shoulder, with the wind blowing onto that shoulder, the rod can feel sluggish, this is also because of twist: during the cast the rod has rotated 180 degrees about its axis.