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Simple Tips on Grip // Super Easy Way to Improve Your Cast

Simple Tips on Grip // Super Easy Way to Improve Your Cast

Over the years my job as a guide has prompted me to find the simplest ways for anglers to improve their cast.  Anglers that can cast well, typically fish well. One without the other is not enough. A good fisherman without a good cast is wasted talent.

The rod grip jumps out at me as one of the easiest improvements to the fly cast.  There is no timing or tempo to master. Just use the right grip and learn to move it up or down the fly rod to dramatically change the rod's action, and function for whatever task is at hand. Challenges on the water vary greatly even from spot to spot, and the knowledge of how and when to alter your grip is invaluable.

#1 Tip for Gripping and Improving Your Cast

I encourage you to watch this video, absorb each tip. However, if there is ONE thing I want you to know its that every beginner/intermediate caster should start with a strong "thumb over" grip with their index finger under and behind their thumb. Grip high on the cork for 90% of your fishing. This will help the rod load with ease, and improve your consistency, accuracy, and line speed.

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Joe Rotter - May 16, 2022

William Miller – on sidearm casts the best tip I can give you is to drive the rod tip forward, rather than swing it. When I push a fly up under the canopy on creeks, I’ll often cast overhand but tail the loop intentionally. The fly skips and darts in close to the water. Check this out.

William Miller - May 14, 2022

I do a lot of creek fishing where I have to do sidearm casts. Any ideas on those?

Joe Rotter - March 26, 2022

Thanks for the feedback everyone, esecially the kind encouragements from Joseph and Richard. I am blessed to get the opportunity to teach many groups of anglers, both on the water and the casting lawn. I see massive growth when we can get students to maintain a disciplined grip as demonstrated here. That’s my testimonial, take it or leave it.

Cheryl ONeill, CCI - March 25, 2022

The thumb-on-top grip has its place, but it is a sure-fire way to introduce a tailing loop for many casters. Instead, a proper arc and a crisp high stop will solve the problem of inefficient loops.
An excellent technique for crisp stops (and creating stack mends) is the hand tightening from a loose grip progressively from the little finger through the middle finger or pointer finger, depending on line length and line speed requirements. This power snap creates a powerful and very crisp stop.
A high and crisp stop will do more for loop shape than a change in grip, and it avoids the problems that come with pushing the rod with your thumb – tailing loops, tangled flies, and a sore thumb.
-Chery, CCI
GGACC Casting Instructor
Free casting lessons on the second Saturday of every month

Richard - March 25, 2022

Probably the most easily understood and well explained casting video I’ve seen. Can’t wait to try out these tips

Spence Spencer - March 25, 2022

Good job everyone. I have good results getting casters to bring the strong side foot forward to bring the casting shoulder around to the front for a more straight line cast. Spence, CCI.

CharlieinNeedham - March 25, 2022

As stated in your video, while this grip is a strong one, it is very easy to have a a very open loop by letting the thumb/hand tilt back way too far at the wrist. Gary Borger is probably the person most associated with recognizing this problem and with a solution.
Gary’s solution was to place a the index finger tip against the side of the cork. While this works, I find it more comfortable to merely grab the cork as if I was simply shaking hands with the handle. This puts the index finger knuckle against the side of the cork (with the index finger tip extended just under the cork) and achieves the same objective that Gary Borger recommends.
In this position, it is impossible to let the thumb/hand/wrist open up too much, and hence will immediately eliminate this source of an open loop.
Finally, Gary recommends casting 30 degrees off vertical to the right (for a right hander) to achieve the most comfortable casting motion using this grip.
Hope this helps someone out there struggling with open loops, and gets them throwing nice tight loops right away.
And Joe, thank you for your great instruction and review articles, and great products at Red’s!
- Charlie

Joseph Lazar - March 25, 2022

Probably the most clear, concise explanation and instructional video on basic casting technique available. Joe Rotter is a true professional who wants beginners, and experienced fly casters alike, to be great on the water.

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