How you cast your rod matters because fly fishing is all about precision. To cast your rod, you need to get a grip. Ideally, your rod grip should be an extension of your arm without any discomfort. Big hands and a thin grip don’t make sense. Notice what size and shape your fly rod grip is, and whether or not you find it easy to use or difficult. Did you know, for instance, the shape of a grip could be a “half well,” which looks like a forward tapered cigar and is used on light rods, or a “full well,” which you’re likely to find of rods rated for heavier line weights eight and above?
As a caster, you typically have three grips to choose from: thumb on top, the “V-hold,” and your index finger on top. When should you use these different grips?
The thumb on top works well for those who want the most power. A powerful thumb applied to the rod gives your cast intense power.
The V-hold, which allows your thumb and index finger to rest on opposite sides of the grip (forming a V-shape), works well for people with arthritis. This grip makes for good turnover since you can bend your wrist forward when casting.
The index finger on top prevents your wrist from moving side-to-side or bending too far back. It also works as a “pointer finger,” helping your aim.
When fly fishing, do you put your index finger on top or your thumb? Most use their thumb on top, but the index finger works well there, too.
If you’ve never tried casting with your index finger on top, you should consider making this “grip switch.”
Did you know the index finger on top can be quite efficient for casting? First of all, it’s good for leverage. Since the rod is a lever and your hand is working that lever, your index finger gives you more leverage because it’s longer than your thumb. When you apply power to your finger tip, you can use 10 or 12 weight rods or whatever you like and it’ll make for good casting– try it if you haven’t before! Next, the index on top works well for casting since it makes it hard to go too far back– your finger provides a good stopping point for the back cast. Meanwhile, this grip allows your hand, wrist and forearm to flatten such that the hand stops at eye level rather than going downward. This position makes for a good casting motion. Finally, having the index on top can benefit a fisherman accuracy-wise. Point that straight finger at the target and your overall accuracy improves, compared to using your curved thumb.