Carbon grip test report


Talking about carbon grips...

I have been of the very first to start working and optimizing carbon grips many years ago. After the initial public surprise, my tests in my workshop, many fly fishing sessions and numerous fly rods built with such grips, I am always surprised to read and hear astonishing claims about carbon grips in specialized forums, during fly fishing shows, etc. Called 'marketing grip' using fake carbon decal, they do not offer any advantages, the resonance is not accentuated, etc...

  • no more competitors are actively testing and using them
  • avid nymphers are not jumping all over them
  • most the fly fishermen who are badmouthing these have never spent an hour fishing with them

I will not make many friends with these few lines but that is not the point of this review. It is true that when we talk about sensations, sensitivity, etc. we go into feelings that we cannot measure. We can only describe them and everyone has a different way to feel things. Nevertheless, after so many years building fly rods with carbon grips and based on my customers' feedback, fishermen from all levels, I can tell you that carbon grips are simply formidable. 

So to set the record straight, I have asked several of my ProStaff team members what was their experiences, based on many years of guiding, competition fishing or simply living their passion along the river. 

Pascal Martin (PM) fly fishing guide and competitor, JF HundsBuckler (JFH) fly fishing guide, Mickael Andrieu (MA) ,fly fishing guide, Cédric Maurel (CM) competitor and Corentin Fumas (CF) competitor and myself share hereby our thoughts:

Point 1: carbon fly grips are not fragile

I use authentic woven carbon layered onto high density foams under vacuum. 

The woven carbon can also be mixed with the colored fiberglass or overlayed with a snake skin to add color without loosing the grip's resonance

Woven carbon is extremely solid and once impregnated with epoxy, the grip is virtually unbreakable. 


Point 2: in the hand and potential gliding problems

One of the first questions people ask me about carbon grips is: "Does this slip when into fishing conditions?"

PM: no problem gliding even in wet conditions

MA: the grip offers a very good grip thanks to the epoxy coating, no feeling of sliding even with wet hands. The grip is very pleasant.  Even with intensive activity at launch no risk of blisters or burns on the hands

CM: Its shape allows a perfect grip. No slips felt in several years of use

CF: very pleasant to the touch, the carbon handle gives a lot of sensation in fishing action especially during nymph drifts. No slips even when fighting fishes.

Point 3: Casting

From my first tests, I found that the carbon grips change the action of a fly fishing rod.

PM: the carbon grip is stiffer; it gives more responsiveness and speed on the rod’s butt section for more precise cast and a quicker rod action

JFH: compared to a standard grip, the carbon grip brings some weight gain and more rigidity, which provides a better responsiveness and speed of execution.

MA: the grip accelerates the action of the rod thanks to its rigidity. The feeling of loading the rod with the fly line is felt in the hand. The precision of the casting is remarkable and thanks to the created feeling in the hand one can dose the casting easily.

CM: The carbon handle brings weight gain which allows to cast with less effort. It also allows for a better feel of the energy created by the blank and the fly line, and thus to improve the quality of my casts

CF: very responsive, it adapts equally well for fast fishing as for light long-distance fishing

Point 4: strike detection and hooking

The classic grips are made of cork, an insulating material. In contrast, carbon grips are very conductive and increase the resonance of the blank in the hand. 

PM: the resonance of the blank into the grip transmits the takes well in advance of a classic cork grip, which allows anticipated striking and better hooked fish.

JFH: the transmission of the resonance, vibrations is increased and is more direct, and consequently this better sensitivity optimizes the detection of the takes. Moreover, it also makes it possible to better manage the horizontal oscillations during some animations (combo) with dry or light nymphs ... 

MA: the sensitivity of the grip is formidable for nymph fishing, it is the osmosis between the progressiveness of the blank and the sensitivity of the grip that allows for effective striking and fighting the fish 

CM: the vibrations received by the blank are reflected in the carbon grip. This makes it possible to detect the most subtle takes and to hook faster. 

CF: we really feel the nymph on the river pebbles .. every little knock resonates in the grip and so,  even the most discrete takes are detected. The hooking can be very fast 

Point 5: In the fight 

The carbon grips have always given me more ease when fighting a fish and an unequaled pleasure in sensations. 

PM: the sensations are multiplied thanks to the resonance of the carbon grip, it gives a more rigid fly rod’s butt section of the cane gives a sensation to be directly linked with the fish.  

JFH: carbon grip offers innovative grip and an excellent feel 

MA: during the fight I feel the movements and nose kicks of the fish, it is easy to anticipate their trajectories to better fight and loose lesser fishes. 

CM: the carbon grip transmits into the fisherman's hand every kick and dives of the fish. This makes it possible to exploit all the qualities of the fly blank and to take a lot more pleasure during the fight. 

CF: it feels like being in direct contact with fish …very pleasant sensations while keeping the advantage during the fight ..

Conclusion: a little more clarity on our carbon grips and this based on many years in various fishing conditions. You can without further contact the members of my ProStaff to ask for their advice "in live" or make an appointment to test one of my fly rod equipped with such a grip at the water's edge to realize for yourself the benefits that my carbon grips bring to our passion: precision, efficiency and more hooked fishes


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