Fly Casting- Joan and her Sponge

by Joan Wulff produced by Jeffrey Pill | Miracle Productions via MidCurrent

here’s one of the better tips a fly fisher/caster can have.
the ‘death grip’, a constant tightening of the hand throughout the casting cycle not only leads to pains which can vary from discomfort all the way  up to tendonitis but is one of the best ways to be a sucky and inefficient caster.

leaving the pain aspect away, what happens if we grip the rod handle too tightly throughout the stroke is:
– as discussed in the  Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the State of Relaxed Butt article, tightened muscle and tendon groups don’t move freely directly resulting in harsh, imprecise movements, the total opposite of what we want.
– if we don’t relax the hand at the end of the stroke (the ‘stop’) we’ll accentuate counter-flex both in amplitude and duration. (counter-flex is the boing-boinging of the rod) counter-flex is normal and inevitable but we want to reduce it to a minimum because it creates waves in the rod leg of the loop and waves are slack and slack is no good for the simple reason that slack means less than optimal control of the line.
Lasse Karlsson’s video below illustrates the damping effect caused by loosening the grip perfectly.

relaxing the grip is one of those complex coordination movements a caster must acquire to be a consistent, accurate and successful fisher and like anything that has to do with fly casting, should be practiced well. Joan’s video explains and shows a great way to practice this, enjoy !

click the image to access the video’s page.
Joan Wulff Hand Tension - MidCurrent 23-1-13
thanks again to MidCurrent for sharing these gems !

6 thoughts on “Fly Casting- Joan and her Sponge

  1. Try loosening the grip completely after the stop with a whole fly rod… and tell me wether it vibrates less… or more. 🙂

    • Hi Aitor, I of course read your comment on Lasse’s video and to be honest I don’t understand it. If you care to explain that would be great. In the meantime let me turn the question around. What happens if you cast a full rod with a line while gripping the handle tightly before, during and after the stroke ? Cheers, Marc

  2. ok, thanks. what i see here is we’re on a very subjective subject regarding personal definitions of the words: loose, relaxed, firm, squeezing and who knows what else.

    i was out casting this afternoon with just this tight/not tight objective, trying all the variables i could think of while casting for real (casting a line and not just watching an empty rod bounce… ) and one thing that is 100% is the ‘non death grip’ is always better, gives cleaner and easier loops at all distances and better, more consistent deliveries.
    from a physical aspect, when we tighten our fist the rest of the arm’s muscles and tendons tighten up as well, specially the forearm. yes, we can still move the arm under contraction but why would we want to do that when ‘loosening up a bit’ makes everything smoother ?
    tightening the fist is the way many people perform a crisp ‘stop’ or at least it’s a good way to learn the ‘stopping’ process. personally, i mostly ‘stop’ with my elbow. we’re all different.

    anyhow, at least we agree (i think :mrgreen: ) that squeezing too tight after the ‘stop’ is no good.
    but then, back to square one. what is too tight ? 😆

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