Keep Your Hands on the Cork

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Grabbing high up on the fly rod during the last part of the fight is a common rod handling mistake. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Like so many others out there, I’ve broken my fair share of fly rods over the years.

I’ve slammed them in tailgates, stuck them in ceiling fans and I’ve squashed quite a few trying to get in and out of my cataraft to quickly. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally realized I was the problem, and I’ve since learned to slow down and not worry about being the first angler on the river all the time. It’s kinda funny how just slowing down a few steps and taking a couple extra minutes to get organized, keeps those negligible acts of snapping fly rods to a minimum.

One overlooked fly rod handling mistake I see all the time by fly anglers, is taking their hands off the cork during the final stages of the fight, and moving one hand high up on the butt section of the rod in the effort to get extra leverage to land the fish. You never want to do this, because when you do, you change the fulcrum point of the fly rod and eliminate the fly rods ability to use the strongest part of the rod, its butt section. This puts extra pressure on both the mid-section and tip-section of the fly rod, and greatly increases your chances of breaking the fly rod. Instead of sliding your hands up the rod in your effort to land a big fish at the boat, you should keep your hands on the cork at all times, and reach up as high as you can, while moving the rod in the direction of the net man.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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14 thoughts on “Keep Your Hands on the Cork

  1. It’s kinda funny how just slowing down a few steps and taking a couple extra minutes to get organized, keeps those negligible acts of snapping fly rods to a minimum.

    A wise statement. It seems that every time I break, lose, or generally screw something up, I’m in a hurry. And slowing down, beyond keeping my gear intact, makes for a much more enjoyable day anyway.

  2. You may have paved it but I was the one painting on the stripes!

    Common sense on the rod grip thing but I’ve seen so many do it. Watched one TV personality do it this past Monday. I guess it makes them look cool?

  3. I see people and videos of this all the time and I always comment about your theory. It is very true you can easily break your rod doing this crazy habit. It just seems it makes people look good even some of the pro’s.

  4. Brings back memories of guiding floats in Alaska….watching a client with a chrome sockeye on one of my favorite rods. It was a slow motion moment….client starts moving hands up the blank, I am yelling…..then, SNAP!!!!……..what does the mofo from Texas do? he high fives his wife! He is psyched that he broke my rod! Has zero remorse……..and asks for another rod!
    Wish I had the dude’s email, I’d forward this post…….but it was a while ago, he’s probably dead.

  5. A float on an Alaskan river-I will never forget the guide yelling “Get your hands back on the cork”! A second or two later we heard a sound much like that of a gunshot. Everything above the but section of the Scott 7wt. was gone along with the 12 lb. silver. Much remorse-only softened by a lifetime warranty.

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