I was told that CND Solstice rods to be cast properly require more top hand involvement during forward stroke.
I would appreciate some comments from Solstice users.
Are we taking about 50-50 or more like 70% top hand involvement?
While I am an average caster at best and have only cast 2 of the solstice's a bit I am pretty much and underhand guy because of bad shoulders and they seem to cast just fine with me and my style which is using more of my bottom hand then the top. I tend to try to keep my hands as low and as tight as possible while using my upper hand more of a pivot then a reach. It may not be technically correct but it works for me. I will be picking one of these rods up at the end of the month in time for the summer season.
I have both the 14'3 7/8 and the 15'2 7/8. I'm not sure who told you this but I would be interested to hear their reasoning. While power distribution between hands is a component of a dynamic casting stroke, I have never heard anyone talk about changing it to suit a specific rod.
From my experience, the Solstice rods are wonderful fishing and casting rods. They have a somewhat traditional action and handle both mid and long bellied lines well. They could do great with shorter bellied configurations as well but I can't speak to that. While they were designed for a floating line, both of mine work admirally when paired with a midspey cutback and looped to 15' tips. As with many of the CND line, the rod does the work for you and it is counter-productive to overpower them on the forward cast.
While I tend to favor the upper hand application of power and long belly lines on the Solstace, Dana demonstrated the underhand style can also be used as well. Different strokes for different folks. I must admit though, that at least to me and my narrow minded, opinionated view, anything other than upper hand power and a long bely line on a long rod designed for greased line work, is like putting mud tires and a lift kit on a Porshe. :tsk_tsk: :Eyecrazy: :chuckle:
I am a 50/50 upper/lower hand caster and I have not cast a rod where it didn't work.
What the Solstices don't like is to be overpowered with sharp "hit". Their traditional progressive action responds to a smooth application of power that allows the rods to flex into the bottom section. This is what they are designed to do. Whether the upper hand or the lower hand or both hands lead in power application has little to do with how these rods - or any rods for that matter cast.
At the Kaufman Clave I watched 3 casters launch an entire 8/9 XLT out of the end of the 16'1" Solstice - one was top hand dominant, one was underhand and the 3rd was 50/50.
As well, I have cast the Solstices extensively with a wide range of line types and that makes little difference in the performance as well. The 13'4" 6/7 performed awesomely with an Ed Ward Skagit line and 9' T-14 tips as well as with a 6/7 Mid-Spey and this weekend cast beautifully with one of Aaron's River Run extreme long belly lines.
I think the mention of top hand dominace in casting these rods has to do with the fact that they were designed as greasedliners and beg for long belly lines, thus the misdirected comment on the top hand dominance. The top hand idea has more to do with the casting path used in throwing long bellies than the rods dislike for underhand. That, combined with the smooth power application Kush mentioned, would lead one (me, anyways) to use a smooth, long top hand path in casting these rods. I've found this to be effectively true with the 15'2", the 14'3" was more forgiving and allowed for a bit more underhand.
I'm looking forward to seeing Dana throw that underhand long belly cast one of these days.
Regardless of the rod brand or model, I'd wager the vast majority of rods can be cast with either top, bottom or mixed hand emphasis provided the line match accomodates it. As someone pointed out, Dana proves that with any rod you hand him. The Solstice Series is certainly capable in this respect as Kush points out even with the 16'1" and an extended belly line.
What might also be a factor is the caster's technique. As Simon Gawesworth points out in his presentation at the Sandy Clave if the bottom hand pulls the rod tip too early in the stroke it creates a circular path and you lose power. So (if I may paraphrase) it's a matter of establishing the path of acceleration before you pull the bottom hand in, and whether you achieve that with a fixed upper hand position moving the arms down and forward or you do it with the upper hand tracking a longer horizontal path from rear to front, either will produce a good powerful cast if done correctly.
It's possible that a stiffer heavier blank would combat this fault by forcing the line forward, but I think it's fair to say such a rod would be a poor greased-liner choice for most people's tastes.
The joy of a greased-liner like the Solstice lies in the lightweight, smooth loading feel; casting on autopilot and getting the most out of the fish you hook - summer or winter.
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