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Bob_Olson 09-28-2005 03:51 PM

Newby casting hand grip question
Hello, I'm new to the forum and new to fly fishing. Most of the info I've seen on the grip recommends the thumb on top grip. There were a few references to the index finger on top grip, and I find that grip more natural for me. It has more of a feeling that the rod is an extension of my arm than the thumb on top grip. Is there any strong reason not to use the index finger on top grip, or any way that it will limit my future casting ability?


juro 09-28-2005 05:45 PM

Hi Bob -

Good question.

I presume what you are experiencing is that the pressure applied with palm-pad at the base of the index finger feels less precarious than the pressure appplied with the thumb up away from the hand. However I would not recommend starting your learning curve with a finger on top (FOT) grip unless you are absolutely sure you will be fishing short casts with easy effort, and typically lighter weights.

My recommendation, FWIW, is to stick with a 'relaxed' thumbs up grip for at least your initial learning curve. For me, when the TU grip is not comfortable it meant I was not doing something right. Now it's perfectly comfortable.

When learning the objective is to hold and move the rod so that it can flex and recoil in the proper cadence, not much power and a lot of timing involved. Keep the wrist movement to a minimum; it should only bend 45 degrees from start to finish in either direction. Likewise your thumb should only swivel from a parallel to your arm to a 45 degree angle up thru the entire cast - the rest of the stroke comes from the elbow and arm.

The thumb provides a useful guidance device - like the sights of a gun, watching your thumbnail provides a good indication of the tracking and rotation of the rod. I provides a solid brace during the stroke, and is a great technique your casting career should not be without.

Just imagine yourself hammering nails with a FOT grip instead of a TU grip...

Common practices:

Most casters use the thumbs up grip, others a "V" grip, then a smaller percentage use the finger on top grip. There are a lot of in-betweens as well. An easy way to describe the V without pics is that the hand is rotated about the wrist from the thumbs up toward the finger up grip to allow the rod to nestle diagonally across the hand and relieve the thumb a bit.

I believe this adjustment can only provide benefits once the alignment and stroke power of the TU grip has been deeply embedded in the casters technique, so again everything begins with TU.


Bob_Olson 09-28-2005 09:28 PM

Thanks for the info. When I got home today, I went out to the back yard to try some casting practice, and I think I finally realized how little power is really needed for a simple short cast (around 30 feet of fly line). I remember reading that if you can hear a swooshing sound from your rod, you're using too much power. I worked on using as little power as necessary, and when I got it right, my backcast seemed to make itself with a nice tight loop! :cool: I was probably only using 1/3 to 1/2 as much power as I had been using. Also, my casting stroke was much shorter, and the application of power slower. Doing this, the thumb on top grip seems comfortable as well since I'm not trying to overpower the cast.

teflon_jones 09-29-2005 01:54 PM

The thumb grip is a much better way to start out as juro said. I've been fly fishing for 17 years and only this year did I start to use the index finger grip occassionally. The only reason is when I'm bass fishing for hours and my hand gets tired of casting the heavy flies, so I switch up my grip for a while.

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