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Fishing Basics: How to Hold a Spinning Rod

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August 28, 2012
Fishing Basics: How to Hold a Spinning Rod - 9

After spending years working in a field specializing in the study of how human beings interact with machines, I’ve made a couple observations on the way most fishermen interact with their spinning combos. In particular, how the average angler holds a spinning rod.
   
For most, the traditional reel-post-through-the-middle-finger-and-ring-finger grip is standard fare. While this may seem quite natural, it is the worst possible way to hold a spinning combo from a biomechanical standpoint because it precludes you from being able to grip the rod in a fist-like manner, which is the strongest and most natural grip. In addition, putting a bulky reel post between your fingers causes undue fatigue and pain. The pain is caused when casting as the reel’s hangs under the rod, working directly on your hand.
   
Try gripping your spinning rod with your fingers forward the next time out — with your entire rod hand in front of the reel post. This accomplishes two things: First, this provides a strong, steady grip when setting the hook and muscling fish from cover. Secondly, it allows you to fish for hours pain-free. You’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable you will feel when you remove that reel post from between your fingers.

I'm confident you'll see how much better this is over your tired old grip.

Comments (9)

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from Josey wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I hold mine spinning rod in the "No" position. I have caught hundreds, if not thousands, of more fish than Kuhn. Advice like that loses fish, puts undu strain on your little finger, and sends you to bed instead of the fillet table.

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from ILikePike wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I use Rhino rods that are contoured to fit your hand nicely with the real post between the middle and ring fingers. I use Shimano Spirex reels with the auto bail,and the post is also contoured to accomidate the fingers. Putting my fingers in a different position would defeat the purpose of either the rod or the reel. I fish with this type of combo for hours on end and never feel any fatigue.

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from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have to say a fellow biomedical engineer I find the comments a bit inflammatory. I hold the rod in the traditional or "wrong" way or more usually between my index and middle finger because the design engineer intended for it to be used that way. This is shown by the palm seat on most spinning rod reel combos. The palm seat allows for a more comfortable grip. Also, using that grip I have never been precluded from making a fist, maybe my hands are large or my reels are small, but holding it in this manner allows me create a larger moment in conjunction with the elbow joint in casting. Additionally, the radial abduction of the wrist from this position lets me a have good control for jigging. Finally, should your reel tip be pointing down when you hook into a large fish, the adduction/abduction of your proximal phalanges (fingers), pinches the reel even in a resting position. Check out the motion studies of how samurai used to hold a sword, it is held primarily with the bottom three fingers of a hand.
I'm not saying one grip is better than that other, but I would use what is most comfortable unless it causes a problem.

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from Wayne Kruzer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Whose to say that his grip is the best.A lot of anglers i know have being doing it the other way for many many years and it seems to work well for them.I have never felt any pain from this at all.I don't need someone to say that it should be this way from observing.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Todd refers to the "traditional" grip as the reel stem between the middle and ring fingers. There were reasons for it being used that way. First, a lot of rod manufacturers attempt to balance the rod so the balance point is at the reel stem. A balanced rig is a lot easier to use and won't fatigue as much. Moving your hand forward messes with the balance. Second, with a smallish reel (like a UL)the spool and bail are a lot closer to the rod. So, if you've got your hand forward, you'll get line slap on your middle finger. That takes away some of your sensitivity and will lessen your accuracy. The reel in the picture is a big one and the spool is a ways from the rod. Try it with a smaller reel.
The solution, if you're insistent on this newfangled grip, is to buy a rod balancing set of weights and custom balance your rod with whichever reel you're using. Or, you buy a reel with an offset stem that's designed for your handgrip like this one!

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I also hold it between my ring and little finger, this places my index finger at just the right position to hold the line for casting and seems to balance out my rod and reel setup.

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from JM wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I hold it the same way as jcarlin. It has never caused me any problems, but maybe that will come with age? Habits are hard to break, but I will try holding it in the "correct" way next time I go fishing.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I don't do it either way actually. I put the reel post between my ring and pinkie fingers, and I've never had a problem with hand fatigue doing it. If it ain't broke why fix it?

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'll admit I typically have the rod post between my index and middle fingers. Seems natural. Easy to pinch the line off the bail too. I'll try changing to see if I see a positive difference, but hundreds of thousands of casts in muscle memory might make this a tall order.

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from Wayne Kruzer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Whose to say that his grip is the best.A lot of anglers i know have being doing it the other way for many many years and it seems to work well for them.I have never felt any pain from this at all.I don't need someone to say that it should be this way from observing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'll admit I typically have the rod post between my index and middle fingers. Seems natural. Easy to pinch the line off the bail too. I'll try changing to see if I see a positive difference, but hundreds of thousands of casts in muscle memory might make this a tall order.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I don't do it either way actually. I put the reel post between my ring and pinkie fingers, and I've never had a problem with hand fatigue doing it. If it ain't broke why fix it?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I hold it the same way as jcarlin. It has never caused me any problems, but maybe that will come with age? Habits are hard to break, but I will try holding it in the "correct" way next time I go fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I also hold it between my ring and little finger, this places my index finger at just the right position to hold the line for casting and seems to balance out my rod and reel setup.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Todd refers to the "traditional" grip as the reel stem between the middle and ring fingers. There were reasons for it being used that way. First, a lot of rod manufacturers attempt to balance the rod so the balance point is at the reel stem. A balanced rig is a lot easier to use and won't fatigue as much. Moving your hand forward messes with the balance. Second, with a smallish reel (like a UL)the spool and bail are a lot closer to the rod. So, if you've got your hand forward, you'll get line slap on your middle finger. That takes away some of your sensitivity and will lessen your accuracy. The reel in the picture is a big one and the spool is a ways from the rod. Try it with a smaller reel.
The solution, if you're insistent on this newfangled grip, is to buy a rod balancing set of weights and custom balance your rod with whichever reel you're using. Or, you buy a reel with an offset stem that's designed for your handgrip like this one!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have to say a fellow biomedical engineer I find the comments a bit inflammatory. I hold the rod in the traditional or "wrong" way or more usually between my index and middle finger because the design engineer intended for it to be used that way. This is shown by the palm seat on most spinning rod reel combos. The palm seat allows for a more comfortable grip. Also, using that grip I have never been precluded from making a fist, maybe my hands are large or my reels are small, but holding it in this manner allows me create a larger moment in conjunction with the elbow joint in casting. Additionally, the radial abduction of the wrist from this position lets me a have good control for jigging. Finally, should your reel tip be pointing down when you hook into a large fish, the adduction/abduction of your proximal phalanges (fingers), pinches the reel even in a resting position. Check out the motion studies of how samurai used to hold a sword, it is held primarily with the bottom three fingers of a hand.
I'm not saying one grip is better than that other, but I would use what is most comfortable unless it causes a problem.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ILikePike wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I use Rhino rods that are contoured to fit your hand nicely with the real post between the middle and ring fingers. I use Shimano Spirex reels with the auto bail,and the post is also contoured to accomidate the fingers. Putting my fingers in a different position would defeat the purpose of either the rod or the reel. I fish with this type of combo for hours on end and never feel any fatigue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josey wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I hold mine spinning rod in the "No" position. I have caught hundreds, if not thousands, of more fish than Kuhn. Advice like that loses fish, puts undu strain on your little finger, and sends you to bed instead of the fillet table.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)