Brian Niska’s series of spey casting tips continues today, with some great discussion on hand position. This is one of our favorites!
Reduce Fatigue and Increase Speycasting Performance with Proper Hand Position
Proper hand position will enable you to utilize the larger joints to develop power for the speycast, thereby reducing fatigue and increasing casting performance.
Speaking of fatigue, imagine if you tried to hold something heavy (like a can of paint) above your shoulders. Most likely you would tire quickly, whereas if you held the same paint can at shoulder height and closer to your body you would last much longer. While a modern day speyrod is quite a bit lighter than a can of paint, many anglers still experience fatigue after multiple days of speyfishing. So, if you have ever dreamed of fishing your face off for the entire five week long King Salmon season at Alaska West, this post is for you.
As we learned in previous posts, it is the turning of the hips and shoulders in the sweep that most efficiently creates rod load. Very similar to a golf swing, much of the power in the speycast comes, not from the hands, but from this turning of the hips and shoulders. The hands hold the rod in plane and provide the last bit of power at the very end of the cast. How we position our hands in relation to our body is very important if we are to maintain the rod load created in the sweep and transition it smoothly into the forward cast.
Keeping the hands close to shoulder height on the forward cast enables a straight line rod tip path which creates an efficient and aerodynamic tight loop.
You can try this at home: lift your top hand (right hand for a right handed caster) up high as if you are making the forward cast. As you ‘cast’ forward try to draw the longest possible straight line for the forward stroke of the speycast. You will notice that raising the hand above shoulder height will cause it to travel in a convex arc (rounded, like the top of a ball) thereby creating an open loop shape with a rounded front. If you keep your hands at shoulder height you enable the right hand to travel in a straight line for the longest possible distance, creating the tightest of loops while keeping fatigue to a minimum.