Role of the Wrist

rusty

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This subject is rarely discussed.
There are some who think the wrist should not be used at all in casting.
Others consider the use of the wrist at the end of the forward cast is to achieve-
- the final power snap
-drift
-'turndown' to avoid tailing loops
-rotation after translation
-the 'tap'
I know my view. What's yours?

Rusty
 

kingf000

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The wrist is designed for fine movement, not for strength. I was watching someone casting in my local lake last week and his casting was probably about 60% from the wrist. He was using what looked like a 3wt rod on the lake, presumably because anything heavier gave him wrist problems.
My view is that you should mainly use the power muscles in the back, shoulder and arm for overcoming the initial moment of inertia and the early forward stroke of the acceleration of the rod tip, and just use the wrist for the final power snap. But I'm sure others will disagree.
 

BobP

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I find that the wrist comes into play twice on each cast. You start off with the hand angled downwards and the rod tip pointing towards the water surface or ground. Call it 08.30 or near enough. You then accelerate smoothly to approx 11.00 with the hand still in that same position. Most of the effort is coming from the forearm with some from the upper arm. The line is now travelling up and back through the air and the first "snap" of the wrist drives it back to the stop.

The forward cast is a reversal. The wrist is locked firmly at the beginning of the cast and the power is again coming mostly from the forearm. When that hits the 10.00 position the wrist "snaps" forward to unroll the line and you then follow through to you original start position as the line settles on the ground or water.

This a typical river cast. Once longer distances are required the shoulder comes more into play.

As illustrated by Charles Ritz and Oliver Edwards.
 

andygrey

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My two cents for what it's worth...
The 'wrist-snap' is one of my bug-bears with a lot of US instructional casting books and videos (Lefty, Joan Wulff etc.) when applied to beginners.
Controlled use of the wrist is a very useful technique and used correctly can add a good amount of line speed (i.e. when a small amount of wrist rotation is applied towards the end of the stroke up to the stop). One of the main problems with beginners is using too much wrist and in all the wrong places and don't have sufficient wrist control to get any benefit.
I've always advocated learning to cast with a controlled wrist (read 'stiff') and once you can cast to a clean stop without the wrist, THEN start to put a bit in. It also useful to remember that an efficient wrist-snap on the back cast is much more difficult than the forward.
I see very few casters that use the wrist efficiently.
As regards it being used for adding Drift, you are more likely to open up the loop than add effective drift by opening your wrist. You are much better off raising the elbow.
 

ohanzee

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Wrist control is probably where most beginners fail initially by breaking their wrist at the end of the back cast, directing the line down rather than up, so I agree with Andy that control(relaxed but locked) is the best thing until the rod is bending rather than the wrist bending.
You can cast perfectly with a locked wrist and a pulling stoke, I'd aim for that before adding wrist movements, I like thinking of it as 'adding' to an existing solid stroke.

The catch with the next bit is it is very hard to explain in a way that can be understood, the way it was shown to me was..hold the rod horizontal then tip the wrist forward till the rod tip touches the water, lock it there, make the back cast, at the end of the back cast 'unlock' the wrist tipping the rod tip further back(its giving you more tip travel) lock there and and make the forward cast, at the end, unlock again.
It takes a long time to embed the movement and get exactly the right moment to 'unlock', saying it aloud helps, as is trying to do it later and later, once you have the movement fluid you can then start to go from 'unlock' to 'thrust', which, as I understand it, is pushing into the wrist movement(I also sometimes raise my elbow to make the rod straight at this point, this compresses/bends the rod tip back more.

If you haul and thrust at the same moment you get a sudden acceleration in the line, a good way to see it is put Sharpie marks on the head of the line, then film it in profile, you see the black marks suddenly shoot forward, mainly propelled by the haul.
 

rusty

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My two cents for what it's worth...
The 'wrist-snap' is one of my bug-bears with a lot of US instructional casting books and videos (Lefty, Joan Wulff etc.) when applied to beginners.
Controlled use of the wrist is a very useful technique and used correctly can add a good amount of line speed (i.e. when a small amount of wrist rotation is applied towards the end of the stroke up to the stop). One of the main problems with beginners is using too much wrist and in all the wrong places and don't have sufficient wrist control to get any benefit.
I've always advocated learning to cast with a controlled wrist (read 'stiff') and once you can cast to a clean stop without the wrist, THEN start to put a bit in. It also useful to remember that an efficient wrist-snap on the back cast is much more difficult than the forward.
I see very few casters that use the wrist efficiently.
As regards it being used for adding Drift, you are more likely to open up the loop than add effective drift by opening your wrist. You are much better off raising the elbow.
The case for drift with the wrist-
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVGHjL4zRy0

Rusty
 

andygrey

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The case for drift with the wrist-
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVGHjL4zRy0

Rusty
Hmmm... I'm not so sure it is.
Screenshot 2021-01-06 at 18.20.43.png
 

rusty

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Drift with the wrist is one view.
I drift with my arm.

Rusty
 

PaulD

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Drift with the wrist is one view.
I drift with my arm.

Rusty

What I see Jim Green doing is not what I know as 'drift'. If you look at the section of the video, around 40 to 50 seconds in, look at the slack line and the distance between his left hand and the butt ring of his rod . . . pretty horrible and much of it caused by his wrist 'break' at the back stop.

Starting the cast usually involves the wrist being angled slightly down with the rod tip hovering just above the water surface. The casting stroke accelerates the rod tip up and back with the rotation of the wrist, plus squeezing of the grip, defining the stop at the end of the stroke. Drift to me does not involve a break of the wrist but maintaining the angle of the stopped wrist and forearm and further extending the arm after the stop, allowing the rod tip to follow the direction of the line in the backcast. It is that further movement of the arm along the path of the line that extends the range of the forward stroke.

Like Andy, I am not comfortable with the term 'wrist-snap' as it tends to imply that this named action is what generates line speed. Line speed is the result of the efficiency of the combination of the entire stroke and the stop and the final rotation to form the rigid wrist is fundamental to defining the stop.

Grip too should not be ignored - the often common, thumb on top, fingers clenched as in a fist, is not ideal in promoting the stop. That thumb position easily promotes the wrist break. A three point grip (hand more in the shape used for a handshake), with the index finger inclined forward (not index finger on top of the cork!) and the thumb inclined to the left of the corks (if you're a right handed caster) helps to address keeping the forearm/wrist straight.
 

ohanzee

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I'm not understanding the 'drift with the wrist', surely this just lowers the rod tip pulling the bottom leg of the loop down?
 

aenoon

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I'm not understanding the 'drift with the wrist', surely this just lowers the rod tip pulling the bottom leg of the loop down?
And can it not equally do the opposite?
Forward wrist drift lifting rod tip, and raising bottom leg, or indeed sideways forward drift, widening the track, preventing line cross?
Is often I do either or, depending on my thoughts about my lift off and back cast, and forward stroke!
Bert
 

ohanzee

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And can it not equally do the opposite?
Forward wrist drift lifting rod tip, and raising bottom leg, or indeed sideways forward drift, widening the track, preventing line cross?
Is often I do either or, depending on my thoughts about my lift off and back cast, and forward stroke!
Bert

Not seeing that either, if we break the wrist forward or back it lowers the rod tip??
 

ohanzee

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During the lift into back cast, breaking back will lower tip. breaking forward will do opposite, and raise tip, breaking or rotating sideways, if also forward, will do same, raise tip.
Bert

If I break my wrist forward it strokes down, do you mean Peter Anderson's 'break to straight' thing? ie. we have 3 positions..wrist tipped forward, wrist tipped back, and a straight wrist..breaking to straight involves starting with the wrist locked in a tipped forward position, at the end of the back cast you break to a straight wrist(not tipping back)
Its a way of getting more/same tip travel with a high stop, good cure for wrist breakers and/or those that start with the rod too high.
 

fishing hobo

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I'm not understanding the 'drift with the wrist', surely this just lowers the rod tip pulling the bottom leg of the loop down?
If you are willing to accept what is written here:
 

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PaulD

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Fundamentally, the rod tip must travel in a straight line, 180 degrees, through the range of the casting stroke - backwards to forwards. The function of 'drift' is to extend that straight line path, particularly into the back stroke, without limiting line speed and maintaining loop shape. As the length of line outside the rod tip increases, stance and grip changes, 'drift' is thereby able to become longer and in 'drift' the wrist angle may change to accommodate the need to maintain the straight line tip. The 'visibility' of the stop and the transition to the 'drift' becomes less obvious.
 
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