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The Grip
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-- Introduction
different styles
the grip
shooting line
power snap
loop shape
across the wind
into the wind
with the wind
side casting
underhand cast
Belgian cast
different lifts
backcast shoot
basic roll cast
roll cast variations
off the shoulder
dynamic roll
Spey Casting
double right
double left
single right
single left
spey fishing
switch cast
snake roll
fly first
mending line
bow and arrow
rotating thumb
tip kicks

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.

Two superior 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:

  • The first opinion is dead against it: rod manufacturers spine rods for a purpose, so we should bend the rod through the spine,

  • The second opinion is all for it: as it enables us to keep the fly line from touching the rod therefore reducing friction.

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...

A bit out of focus but you get the picture!

For an improved grip you could try this page.

The Spine

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.

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