February 2nd, 1998
Get a Grip
Let's talk about grips. Fly rod grips; those cork things. Years
ago, I felt I was not holding my fly rod the right way. I put my
thumb on top. I even saw rods that had the cork ground out for a
'thumb-spot.' But, I was told by a rod maker I should have my
index finger on top. He always did. I kept my thumb on top
anyway; I had to. The rod was too big and heavy, I needed the
power. Now, I can't change.
Till next week, remember ...
I later found out he had a busted index finger — only way he
could hold a rod. After that I was slow to believe much of what
anyone told me about how to hold a fly rod. However, I think I
may not be holding it right, now. I still put my thumb on top.
What I see mostly is a grip with the thumb off to the side. This
seems to be the way most of the "big-boys" are holding their fly
rods. Are they right and am I wrong? Probably. The ones I refer to
are the world champion fly casters. The truth is, I have tried it. I
don't like it; feels odd and uncomfortable. Guess I am stuck with
my way forever. You may not be.
Perhaps you should give it a try. If you have been using the
"thumb-on-top" grip, switch over for a while and see. It may work
well for you. I do know, when teaching casting, if a person is
having a major problem with a "tailing-loop" I will have him roll his
thumb off to the side of the grip and the loop will open up for him.
What that shows is, he has less power that way and does not
collapse the tip on the cast.
On almost the same subject, don't be afraid to take a little cork
off of your rod handle either. If you find that your hand is cramping
from a lot of casting, chances are the cork grip is too large. Your
hand will cramp far less if the grip is smaller.
Will that make the rod less than "factory" ... don't know. If so
— so what, the rod may fit you better. I know of one major
manufacturer that produced a fly rod with a slightly smaller grip;
targeted to the female fly casters. Many were purchased by men
who wanted a more comfortable grip ... including one of their own
Well, hang in there. Remember, we're all in this together — and
I'm pullin' fer ya! ~ JC