Here we (I) go again. Someday, I promise you I will
write something on here that actually has some answers
and not just questions. At least, I will try very, very
hard. This has to do with casting. Big surprise. How it
came about is somewhat interesting, I hope. I hope so,
because I'm going to tell it right now.
You probably know by now that my wife has had some pain
troubles due to some surgery and a few nerves that got
injured. After going to a few doctors we lately encountered
one who is a specialist on nerves and in the initial exam
asked her how long she has had carpel tunnel syndrom. Great.
Just what she needed to hear. Something else going to heck.
An appointment was made to return for a exacting test of
the condition. We had that today.
She has it in both wrists and has the braces which she will
sleep with. That may be enough time for it to heal. Two months
at least. Here is the good news though. We are getting to
know the doctor, actually a youngish middle aged chap with
a fourteen year old son. Interested in learning fly fishing.
Oh Boy. Especially fly casting. I told him that I always
make it a point to offer casting lessons to any doctor who
is treating us but I also make it a point to charge at least
double what anyone else would pay. We seem to get along just
fine; we understand each other.
Some other good from all of this too is, I nailed him down
on a subject that I have been interested in for several years.
That is of course, does it matter at all how you hold your fly
rod when casting. Now before you say well, "Herkimer Schmidflap'
holds his fly rod that way," or "I saw Jake Fanortney do it
this way," I agree. I am not saying any grip is wrong. If I
did I would flood my email box, and not be safe in dark alleys.
Abercrombie Papoofnick may hold any way he wants to. It probably
will not matter. Probably.
And there is the hook. I have wanted to ask a real nerve
specialist about this matter but was not willing to make
an appointment, or pay the price of one, just to ask
questions. Here was my chance and I jumped for it. After
all, if I was going to teach him and his son how to cast,
shouldn't I know the right way to cast? "Right way" you
ask? Yup, thumb on top or off to the side a bit. Like I'm
going to call up and say, "Hey Steve, yer doing it all wrong.
Put your thumb on top of the handle!" Not likely. Besides
he's bigger than me too, not to mention younger.
What the doc said basically was this. With your thumb on top
of the cork the wrist movement is not as likely to lead or
contribute to any complications of carpal tunnel syndrom.
Simple as that. If you roll your thumb off to the side some,
as many of the worlds best casters do for a grip, that is
very similar to throwing a baseball you are more likely to
lead or contribute to a problem.
Perhaps if you already have a job that is giving you some
trouble and you cast with your thumb off to the side you
might consider switching to the thumb on top grip. Remember
I said perhaps. In no way do I want you to think that one
way or the other will or can cause or lead to the malady.
I suppose it can or could but, I think your elbow will wear
Many of you have a sore right thumb from casting but that's
from putting a lot of punch into the cast. If you want a long
cast you have to put something into it. An interesting side
note here. I put on one of her wrist-braces and held a fly
rod with it. I can still bend my wrist if I have my thumb
on top, but not if I roll my thumb off to the side. You
casting instructors may want to put one of those (probably
one of yours) carpal tunnel braces on your students if
they insist on 'breaking their wrist.' It should stop them
cold as long as they keep the thumb on the side.
So to wrap this all up. Does casting cause carpal tunnel?
I don't think it is probable. A guy would have to do a heck
of a lot of it to be a problem. Could it cause or lead to it
if he was casting badly and spent the rest of his time at a
key board? Well, maybe, or should he put his thumb on top
and try really, really hard to cast just like the great J
Aw hey, ya gotta be kidding, right? ~ JC