Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Rod grip style, and Lefty's principles
I see what you are saying.... But, in the photo with the floppy cast;
He has a bent wrist. In a V grip you can get the rod pretty close to flat without bending your wrist. If you get your thumb in the way and don't bend your wrist you can't get it back past 2 oclock. So I am going to go out on a limb here and make the assumption Lefty also said don't bend your wrist.
Turbineblade, you can also disregard the don't bend your wrist thing when you are better.
Not that I haven't seen it, but even the greenest of beginners knows that he's not supposed to break his wrist as shown in the second picture above.
I couldn't fine any nifty illustrations, but as you can see in this picture Lefty rotates his thumb and reel 45* away from his body.
The same technique is taught by many of eastern fly casters and is very common
For my elbow, I frequently must cast with my arm outward
No disrespect to Lefty -- he's a great guy and excellent caster.
Reading that makes me wonder how long your rotator cuff will last. What I envision is that you're doing the 'chicken wing'-looking cast with your elbow way out to your side. If that's the case, be forewarned, it might hurt later. I like keeping my elbow close to my body. It improves accuracy and takes a bit less effort.
When Lefty was talking about the shelf I believe he meant imagine your elbow sliding along a shelf and not static just sitting and pivoting on it. Sliding along a straight line like a shelf would help in forming a straight line path.
Originally Posted by turbineblade
The thumb on top thing he was explaining as a means to prevent twisting the wrist on the backcast and throwing the line around a curve.
I find just the opposite of what Lefty said about the thumb on top curing the 'wow' on the back cast. He ain't Borger but Steve Rajeff cured me of throwing the line in a curve on the back cast as you mention by a simple grip change to a semi-V on top grip.
Grip an imaginary rod right now with a thumb up grip and make an imaginary back cast. The most natural way to make the stop is to subconsciously twist the grip slightly so that your thumb turns inward towards you.
Now start the cast with a 'V' formed by your thumb and forefinger (V Grip as it was formerly called) When you make the stop because your hand is already rotated you won't tend to twist the rod as much and will cure some of the 'wow'.
The Three Point Grip is really nothing new. I have an old casting book from the 1950's in which it was described though it wasn't named the Three Point Grip back then.
A casting instructor really shouldn't teach form as that is largely determined on what the student favors because of prior experiences and/or musculature.
I favor the thums up grip for normal casting at normal fishing ranges. I'll twist my grip around somewhat as the cast lengthens. Instead of aiming with my finger I aim with my thmb nail and seem to get good results.
If you're casting sidearm I just can't picture a thumbs up cast. I just tried it with my imaginary rod and OUCH! That does hurt. Bring your elbow in and try the same action you would use for using a hatchet (which would involve bringing your elbow up) and then use that imaginary shelf to slide your elbow on for longer casts and hopefully your pain is gone and your accuracy and efficiency is up.
Turbine, I feel your pain, especially the more toward a vertical cast you get to and the farther you are trying to cast - ESPECIALLY if you have a long casting stroke and drift backwards a long way after the backcast..
It is very easy to illustrate with an overhead cast for someone with a long casting stroke. Forget the rod, just stand with your legs apart and arm fully extended with your hand a fist and your thumb straight up.
Now, keeping your thumb straight up, draw your arm back past your ear and, still keeping your thumb straight up, extend your arm behind you till your elbow is straight WITH YOUR THUMB STILL FACING UP.
It is physiologically impossible so long as that arm has a radius and an ulna. The two cannot twist around each other. It is not possible to use a thumb on top with that casting style for the backcast.
So do it again with a palm forward grip. Just leave your hand open palm down extended in front of you and repeat the proceedure so that you stop with your elbow straight and your palm facing up.
That is why Distance casters like Chase Jablonski who prefer a thumb on top for the money cast, but use a 170 degree style casting stroke, change their grip duing the "pause" from thumb on top to palm forward and vice versa.
For shorter casts where your hand doesn't go past your ear much - the thumb on top is fine (though newbies tend to drive the line into the ground as Silver said).
I find just the opposite of what Lefty said about the thumb on top curing the 'wow' on the back cast.
Exactly. It is not possible with an overhead cast. It gets much easier as you move more and more towards total sidearm (rod parralel to the ground).
Here's another article on grips by Lee Cummings who is an AAGAI/FFF Master Instructor. The AAGAI is the British version of the FFF certification. Of the thumb on top grip he writes:
"Ok, let me move onto a piece of advice I have heard over the years by various non AAPGAI instructors....
'The rod should be held comfortably in your hand by laying the rod where it meets your fingers'
Lets look at this advice in slightly more detail, remembering that the client is paying to receive and take all advice literally........
The above image is the position the newcomer to the sport (who cannot decelerate the hand sufficiently to conclude the back cast) usually ends up in. The untrained muscle "memory" of which is required to "Stop" the rod is overcome and we know through experience that this position in efficient casting is not one of which we desire. We will generally see that when the wrist has "Broken" and the rod has gone too far back, the line will be sent low behind the caster, probably after an inefficient "Non Loop" had also been formed."
You don't want to change what is natural for a beginning caster if the beginner can make the proper backcast stop with the thumb on top grip. Most cannot, especially if they have been spin fishers. Then I recommend a grip change because it is important for a beginner to have early success in casting 20 - 30 feet which is easily done with with placing the rod more in line with the forearm
Good pictures, Silver. I always forget about the index finger on top down here - though I used it ocassionally with light rods up north.
Seems the smallest rod on the boat when I'm trying to help people with their casting is a 10 wt - but usually an 11 or 12.
I will try the thumb on top with the 12 next time I'm casting it. That should definitely help stop the floppy wrist syndrome if I can get them to stop their arms when their hand gets around their ears.
"When Lefty was talking about the shelf I believe he meant imagine your elbow sliding along a shelf and not static just sitting and pivoting on it. Sliding along a straight line like a shelf would help in forming a straight line path."
I agree, having had a lesson with Lefty. He stresses keeping the rod tip on plane and the "elbow on the shelf" promotes on-plane and tighter loops. A thumb on top grip promotes a smaller angle between the lower grip and the wrist. It is when this angle changes dramatically in the back cast, as I see in newbies, loops open and wrists quickly become sore. The thumb on top--as I see it--encourages the caster to stop at the top, use more shoulder and elbow motion and helps in keeping the change in wrist-to-grip angle to a minimum.
By coincidence, I happened to be looking at youtube yesterday at some videos of Lefty Kreh. His style is definitely his own.
Then I looked up Mel Krieger (to whom I owe the double haul), Joan Wulff, Steve Rajeff, Peter Kutzer. They all do it differently. What's in common is the stroke is smooth, the line unfurls, the forward cast accelarates smoothly to a stop, they don't overpower.
One of the things that helped me learn to fly cast (I taught myself from a book) was when I realized that the physics involved is the same as what you use in cracking a bullwhip. It's just done at a different pace, different angles, and is more a matter of finesse. Those gymnasts that run around the mat with the long ribbon are also using the same principles.
Also, "fling the tomato," "flick the paintbrush," helped.
The thumb on top--as I see it--encourages the caster to stop at the top, use more shoulder and elbow motion and helps in keeping the change in wrist-to-grip angle to a minimum.
I don't find this to be the case -- at all. I can MUCH more easily become "too wristy" with the thumb directly on top versus a v or finger grip.
For example, I can simply raise my right hand and without any thought or effort, make my thumb point backwards like a hitchhiker, parallel to the ground.
The v-grip most closely resembles how I'd throw a baseball and is very comfortable. The thumb on top and always pointing in line with the target is wonky...like how I'd hit a volleyball but held higher.
Maybe people are just built differently..?
I think my take-home message here so far is that it doesn't really make a damn how you hold the stupid rod, it's much more about what your casting looks like regardless of how you hold it
I use the thump on the top for distance and the pointing finger on top for short casting.
I watched lots of casting tips and bad casting videos on youtube and make sure I don't do that. I go with my own comfortable and relaxing style but still listen to positive critiques.
Someone, mentioned about the badminton grip. I played a lot of club badminton since I was trying to be a pro player in the men's double setup in my younger years. I use that grip when I am using the baitcasting reels.