Get A Better Grip On The Spey Rod

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Hickman's Got The Touch Photo by Louis Cahill

Hickman’s Got The Touch Photo by Louis Cahill

All fly casting is about control and timing, not power.

This is never more true than in Spey casting. Perhaps because there are more moving parts to a Spey cast, rod and line control are crucial. This is especially challenging for the beginner whose muscle memory is only just developing. Often a cast will “break” for no reason. That is to say that, all of a sudden that double Spey you’ve been throwing all morning just doesn’t work any more. Often the reason is a loss of control.

Here’s a tip that will help those of you who are new to two-handed casting maintain control. The first step in a controlled cast is the proper grip. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough. Most anglers who are new to the Spey rod think of it like holding a golf club or baseball bat. A familiar tool for most of us, but the Spey rod is quite different and so is the proper grip.

Hold the rod with your finger tips. A gentle grip is all that’s necessary. Using your fingertips accomplishes two things. It keeps your arms relaxed, as you are not tempted to put a death grip on the rod. A relaxed posture is important for fluid movement. Gripping with your fingertips also engages a different set of muscles. Muscles, which are tuned to fine motor skills like writing.

The result is a casting stroke that focuses on technique rather than power. A smoother, more controlled cast loads the rod more effectively and that means a tight loop and a nice long cast that turns over as it should. The answer is right at your fingertips.
Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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7 thoughts on “Get A Better Grip On The Spey Rod

  1. Sounds a bit like what Göran Andersson says in his presentation on the Underhand Technique. In fact a troutie mate of mine talks about the two finger technique with an 8 or 9 foot rod. Yep relax and slow down. Cheers BM

  2. Great post. I just started with two handers, and I noticed a big change in my cast just changing the grip on my bottom had. Gripped it lower with just index and middle fingers and my thumb with my bottom two fingers holding the line loops off the bottom of the rod grip, and I noticed that I was more fluid than when I had a full hand grip on the bottom hand. I was overpowering the bottom hand tug before, but just changing the grip solved that.

  3. Great advice Louis. The firmer the grip the greater the tendency use to much power, which usually then results in using too much speed in the cast. The end result of both of those things is loss of timing and fluid motion and a failed cast. The old adage of K.I.S.S. applies in spey casting, only it stands for Keep It “Soft & Slow.”


  4. It is very important to recite again, he number one mistake in both single handed and double handed casting is too much power.

  5. True true! The harder I force it, the worse it works. I have an eight weight switch rod and it’s a wonderful thing to cast…..IF I slow down and relax. When it stops working I take a deep breath, look around at the beautiful scenery, and remind myself how lucky I am just to be standing in a river with fly rod in my hand. The grip is truly a big deal especially if you’re single handed double hauling gonzo maniac. If your upper hand is gripping the rod hard, you’re going to cast with that arm and it won’t work. Top hand steers, bottom hand is power. One way to “shut off” the upper hand is to grip the rod as lightly as possible. Yea, two fingers is enough. Great article!

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