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Discussion Starter #1
Seems whenever my casting starts to fall apart I realize I am working too hard and gripping the rod too hard. If I just lightly cradle the rod, the line flies. I mentioned this in a post below and it got me thinking. It is amazing how just a slight tightening of your grip can make a cast fall apart. This is mentioned some in the videos but really have not heard a reason. Certainly with a single handed rod your can put a death grip on it and whle you will wear out faster and it won't be much fun, a death grip really does not destroy a cast like it does with a double hander. I suppose it has to do with both hands working together and a firm grip does not easily allow this to happen?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I remember that from Derrek's video but he also says it will kill the cast but does not elaborate. For me, it is not so much the lift that gets screwed up as the forward cast - it just does not zing if I am doing anything but gentlly cradling the rod until the final stop when you tighten up
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I understand the firm grip needed to stop the rod but what is it about a firm grip during the acceleration of the forward cast that kills the cast. If I grip even marginally hard during acceleration the cast usually goes nowhere!
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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Rod Grip....

Rick,

I was fishing Saturday and I did notice that the more firm a grip used the casts crumbled. After a few of those I loosened my grip to just a very light grip on the the upper cork on the d loop swing and like magic my casts were on again!

I too would like to know why other than the robotic's theorum.

Vinnie
 

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The weekly news letter from FlyFish USA addresses why we should have a relaxed grip.

http://www.flyfishusa.com/newsletter/current/

Spey Casting Tip: The Relaxed Grip


One of the counter-intuitive things about spey casting is how you use your muscles. Here is a picture of Brian Silvey as he is getting acquainted with one of the new G.Loomis RoaringRiver spey rods. The light conditions were horrible, but I was able to get the shot with my Canon 10D digital camera. He was throwing such beautiful loops that I wanted to record the image. Frankly, this isn't one of his better loops, but it was what I could get in the pouring rain without drowning my camera. When I blew up this shot, what popped out of the image was Brian's upper hand. It appears to be totally relaxed. During a presentation at the Sandy River Spey Clave, Scott O'Donnell & Mike McCune emphasized the advantages of casting with your muscles totally relaxed. One of the major advantages in being relaxed is that you keep more energy in reserve, thereby increasing your stamina. Another advantage is that being relaxed increases your sensitivity, allowing you to feel the rod with more precision. During our time together Tuesday, Ed Ward explained to me his theory of continuous power flow throughout the cast. The perfect cast results from unbroken and continuous acceleration through a perfectly shaped arc to a perfectly sudden stop. This is accomplished while exactly the right amount of power and the right angle of trajectory are applied for the length and weight of the fly line. How much anchor point is on the water; where it is in relation to yourself and what direction it is pointing will also effect how much speed you will apply. Those are a lot of adjustments to be made in a short period of time. It is best to be relaxed. That is probably one of the reasons why it is harder to cast when you are chilled. Your body automatically tenses. Cold muscles increase tension to generate heat. The proper amount of insulation to retain body temperature can greatly effect your muscular performance. Having an audience can also increase the tension in your body. Throwing one bad cast in front of them can further increase that tension. Stop relax your mind. Put a few wraps of line back on the reel and take command. Try breathing exercises. If you get chilled get out of the water and go for a hike for a few minutes. Get warmed up. Let the tension go from your body and your mind. Get relaxed and let the force be with you

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I have stumbled into this realization recently after about an hour of casting. My grip weakens and doesn't strangle the cork handle. Also, I'm a little tired and not pushing the rod, fly and line as hard and fast. When this happens, I'm casting out as far if not farther with minimal strain on my hands, wrists, arms, shoulder and body.

So any practice time this week will be using these light grip techniques and focusing on better timing instead of pushing everything.
 

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During my quest to learn how to cast with my non-dominant hand acouple of things became crystal clear. I couldn't rotate my left wrist a far as I needed to to make a cast and secondly I had not realized just who much the rod needs to be rotated with the bottom hand to keep things tracking in a straight line. The issue was solved by doing a combination of things; on the lift and loop formation use the bottom three fingers of your hand and to make the cast use the thumb and first finger as the rod is craddled in your palm. The only time I have a death grip on the rod is when I making stops. Think about what you going to do before you do it and turn you brain off while doing it.
Leroy......................
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think that in order for both hands to act as a fulcrum the hands need to be relaxed. If one or both are tense one will dominate and perhaps not allow this to occur. If you are just pushing with your top hand the cast falls apart. And in the post by Grampa Spey it also increases sensitivity to what teh rod is doing.

Whatever the reason it sure makes a huge difference in my casting and when I am waist deep in a ripping current trying to get a tip up and out of the water I sometimes forget this and things go straight to hell where if I relax and slow down it all seems to work!!
 

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I know that when I cast with a relaxed grip I can better feel the rod load than when I have a death grip on it. I think this improved feeling of the load allows you to better "time" all aspects of the cast, thus improving it. I also think Peter's mention of the jerking of the rod with the death grip is relevant in that it does not allow for a smooth and constant load/unload of the rod. Anytime the rod is not maintaining a load on the line or smoothly unloading that energy, it reduces both the fluidity of the lines movement and it's optimum energy potential.
 

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I think it's as simple as this: a long rod ampliflies any jerks or imperfections in your stroke more than a short single-handed rod because the tip of the longer rod is moving further & faster. A hard grip transmits those little jerks and imperfections more than a loose grip. This applies to the "hard stop" as well, which I think should be more of a "squeeze" than a "jerk" -- kind of like pulling a trigger.

Poul
 

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Rick,
Aside from many of the other truisms mentioned above, tension in the hand muscles commonly results in tension in the forearms, and occasionally even the upper arm muscles. Make a fist and feel your forearm. The bottom-line being, when these muscles are too tense timing, tempo, fluidity, and acceleration of the rod are compromised. Your observation of this phenomenon isn't unique to casting; it translates into all sports activities. For prime form and optimal athletic efficiency our muscles must be in somewhat of a state of "relaxed" tension. Pardon the golf analogy, but in explaining the tremendous power Sam Sneed generated with his swing, he used to describe his grip on the club as like holding a bird in his hand, using only sufficient pressure to keep hold of it without harming it. Whether gripping a golf club or a fly rod the same concept remains true. If you remember to think about or visualize this when your casting starts going south on you, you should regain your form quickly. John
 
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