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Page 162

Shake Hands with Your Fly Rod.

That heading isn't intended to be facetious. When you hold your fly rod, you should open your hand as if you are were going to shake hands with someone (a normal handshake, not the 60s Peace and love, brother variety). However, don't grip the rod so hard that you put indentations into the cork handle. A fly rod should be cradled in your hand, not squeezed.

Hold the rod with your strong hand just above the reel, which should be on the bottom of the rod. Slide your hand incrementally up and down the grip until you find a comfortable hold (grips vary in shape and width) and it feels balanced and natural. The best hold will differ from angler to angler because of varying sizes of hands and grips, and the balance point will differ because of varying weights of rods and reels.

Although there are several ways to hold a fly rod, the firsttime caster should grasp it so that the thumb rests on top of the grip (that side opposite the reel). The grip should be positioned between your thumb and the first and second joints of your index finger and angle down your hand, so that it also rests against the heel of your hand, with the rest of your fingers closed on it. The exact hold will vary somewhat, again because of individual hand and grip shapes and sizes.

Always remember to keep your thumb on top of the grip. Many beginners have a tendency to fist the rod, or circle the grip with the thumb, when casting. Doing so will throw off your casting angles and make the whole process much more difficult. Keep that thumb on top!

Now, face your target. Pull line off your reel and, holding the rod out in front of you, waggle the rod tip so that a bit more than a rod's length of line and leader is out from the rod tip. Pull more line out from the reel so that a loop dangles between the reel and the first rod guide without touching the ground. Now you're ready to cast.

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