No. 9 – Fishing Tips

11 September 2015 | Paul Procter

Gripping Stuff…
Watch a top musician play any instrument and their fingers glide seamlessly from note to note. A student of the guitar myself, I end up being all fingers and thumbs before strangling the neck of my damn Gibson. Generally, when we strive for perfection, our muscles tighten, which in turn renders us as rigid as a cardboard cutout! This isn’t just the case when strumming a six-string but crosses over to sports like golf, cricket, and of course, fly fishing—or, more accurately, casting.

During our formative years when wafting carbon about, we were constantly reminded to relax our hold on the rod handle. What happens is that a gentle grip allows our muscles and joints to move freely, which ultimately improves performance. Yet, as we’re all unique, the sensation of gripping a rod handle differs for each and every one of us, leaving us to ponder that 64-million dollar question, “How gentle is gentle?”         

Analogies are great tools for imparting knowledge, and one that has served me well when teaching is to liken the grip of a fly rod to a tube full of toothpaste, minus its lid.  Your hold should be snug enough so that the tube doesn’t slip, yet relaxed enough to prevent toothpaste from oozing out everywhere!  Equally useful is to imagine you’re holding a soft fruit, like a peach. Again, the grasp is firm, but not so tight as to bruise or tear the fruit’s skin. So remember, next time you unlatch a fly to throw at some huge shape, take several deep breaths and try not to crush the cork!

Check out more fly-fishing tips from Paul here!

A textbook grip, but how tight should the grip be?

Toothpaste tubes might not throw dynamic loops, yet they’re great for teaching a relaxed grip!