Hardly anything works all the time and in all cases and situations, this is one
of them. I guess it is inspired by watching idiots on TV bust up fly rods and lose
fish by sheer lack of intellect mixed with a generous dose of stupidity. A modern
form of catch and release I suppose. Not that it bothers me when I see them
lock their wrist so the fly rod handle is braced against the elbow and the rod is
pointed skyward and a bit back and the fish breaks off, but I don't keep any
loose bricks in the same room where the TV set is either. Just a sensible thing
You gotta remember, most of these guys are on a free trip with all gear furnished
to a place that is bulging with starving fish eager to hop onto about anything pitched
at them. Why not haul back and let 'er rip. If (make that 'when') it breaks get out
one of the spares and do it wrong again.
It's not so bad when they put a hand up the rod below the stripping guide, on a
big rod (one of the 'lifters') you might get away with that, but on a normal fly rod,
it will break, just a matter of when, not 'if.'
Back to 'locking' the rod butt to the elbow. If (when) the fish jumps, shakes it's
head or does some other silly maneuver, the elbow must flex to follow the fish or
he breaks off. "Aw shucks, he broke me off." Big surprise, he had a firm resistance
to fight against. There are times when, to 'play' a obnoxious and antagonistic
adversary, you should hold the rod in hand with only the wrist doing the controlling.
This allows the wrist to flex much faster and the whole rod to follow far better.
You will land many more fish.
Like I said, this is not for all circumstances, but it is for many. (This is true also for
spinning gear, but I won't mention that stuff here.) A phrase I sometimes use to
describe it is to "Fight it with your 'pinkie-finger' sticking out." ~ James Castwell