How to Hold a Fishing Rod: Basic Tips for Casting and Fighting Fish

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In this article, we are going to show you the correct way to hold various types of fishing rods when you are out on the water.

Let’s start by looking at the key parts of a fishing rod.

Fishing Rod Components

Fishing Rod Grip

The fishing rod grip is the part of a fishing rod that you have in your hand when fishing. The fishing rod grip will differ depending on the type of fishing you are doing and the fishing rod you are using.

Some rods have what’s called a split grip, the fishing rod split grip where there is a separate grip for your hands on either side of the reel seat.

Grip materials include cork and EVA foam. Cork is nicer, but EVA foam grips are cheaper and arguably easier to clean.

Reel Seat

The fishing reel seat is the part of the fishing rod where you mount the reel.

Rod Butt

The fishing rod butt, also called a fishing rod handle, is the end of a fishing rod opposite from the tip of the rod.

Fishing Reel

The reel holds the line and allows it to unspool when you have cast. It also allows you to wind the line back in after a cast and when a fish is hooked.

Holding a Spinning Rod

Step 1

Hold the rod grip in the section above the reel seat with your dominant hand. If you want to, put your non-dominant hand on the section of the butt below the reel seat.

Step 2

Make sure the thumb of your dominant hand is sitting on top of the rod grip.

Step 3

From this position, you are well placed to cast quickly and accurately or just hold the rod, waiting for a bite

Step 4

When fighting a fish, your dominant hand will be winding the reel handle, so your non-dominant hand grabs the rod in the section of the rod grip above the reel seat (closer to the rod tip).

Holding a Baitcasting Rod

Step 1

With a baitcasting rod, you can grab the rod with one hand. The trigger grip indicates where your index finger should go, and your palm will rest on the grip.

Step 2

This should mean the thumb of your casting hand is poised ready right need the spool to pinch it before casting or thumb if you need to apply braking force to a fish.

Step 3

You are all set up to cast or fight a fish with your baitcasting rod.

More Tips


Don’t grip the rod too tight. You want to generate whip with your cast to put that rod tip to work, and that can’t happen if you aren’t relaxed and are gripping it too tight.

Fighting a Fish

When fighting a fish, try to keep your fishing rod at a right angle with the fishing line; this allows the rod to act as a shock absorber.

Conclusion on Holding Fishing Rods

Using the right grip with your fishing rod is important—it saves you fatigue on the water and prevents you from losing fish, and allows you to put the lure or bait in the right place with accurate casting.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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