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Listening to the Old Masters

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

I have spent a good part of the winter reading the Old Masters. Now it is time to follow their advice. Here is how "Fishing With a Worm" by Perry Bliss begins:

"The last fish I caught was with a worm. —IZAAK WALTON.

A DEFECTIVE logic is the born fisherman’s portion. He is a pattern of inconsistency. He does the things which he ought not to do, and he leaves undone the things which other people think he ought to do. He observes the wind when he should be sowing, and he regards the clouds, with temptation tugging familiarly at his heartstrings, when he might be grasping the useful sickle. It is a wonder that there is so much health in him. A sorrowing political economist remarked to me in early boyhood, as a jolly red-bearded neighbor, followed by an abnormally fat dog, sauntered past us for his nooning: "That man is the best carpenter in town, but he will leave the most important job whenever he wants to go fishing." I stared at the sinful carpenter, who swung along leisurely in the May sunshine, keeping just ahead of his dog. To leave one’s job in order to go fishing! How illogical!"

I should spend the whole day in the shop working on parts for espresso machines and bait boxes for Chris, but it is much too nice out, so I will be following Perry Bliss' advice given above. I am out of here in about two hours!

Spring is beginning - Time to go fishing!

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Apr 05, 2018
Wisdom of the Sages
by: Hoppy D (SD)

Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

Apr 05, 2018
The Best Laid Plans
by: Les Albjerg

Hoppy - You fished your SST yet? Steelhead fishing got canceled this week. My fishing trip to the Hagerman area got canceled due to weather. I have gotten a lot done this week around the house. Oh, my son bought his first house and today I'll be helping him! Life does get in the way of fishing!

I did take Tuesday afternoon away from things and went fishing. At Wilson Springs, it has been invaded by the migration of ducks! I had two Mallards strip off my Red Wigglers! Since I have caught two seagulls in my life and broke both rods, I didn't want that to happen to the Fine Power. Skunked at Wilson! I headed over to Red Top Pond. I fished for 90 minutes and I didn't get a bite. I even worked the sunken stump that has never failed me. I enjoyed well over 1,000 snow geese flying over my head and making a perfect group landing in the middle of the pond. That was worth the outing! When I moved, they all took off! Very beautiful and very noisy! Off to the Rotary Pond. The nice big new fishing dock was occupied by a family. It was nice to see them having so much fun.

In about 5 minutes fishing on the smaller dock, I was into a 4 inch Sunfish. I wasn't going to be skunked! I really enjoyed the "Fine" in the Fine Power 56. This is an amazing rod! The little guys I caught put up an enjoyable fight on this rod. It was a "Many" fish session. I caught 3-5 inchers. Nothing big, but a fun time! The wind came up, and the Fine Power is a good wind rod too. What really speaks to the sensitivity of this rod is out of the over 30 fish I hooked only one wasn't lip hooked. I can count on one hand how many strikes I missed too! Yes, this rod is more spendy than most of the other 5 meter rods Chris offers. However, it is a zoom rod, so you get two for one! It can be fished easily one handed due to its light weight and incredible balance. In my opinion it is worth saving up for.

Scoured Red Wigglers work better in my opinion than unscoured. Several times I caught 3 fish in a row with one Red Wiggler. Once I caught 4 in a row! I was using the Gamakatsu Amago 7.5 Hooks. These hold the worms well, and with their unusual bend I think leads to a good lip hook. You have to tie an eye on them, or snell them since they don't have an eye. It is worth the effort.

I'm hoping to get out for an hour or two this afternoon.

Apr 05, 2018
The Power!
by: Les Albjerg

After helping my son at his house, I deserved to have a couple of hours to fish. I'd left my gear in the SUV. I didn't have any wigglers with me. I was off to "No Tell'm Creek." I began fishing with a Mop fly. The Fine Power casts a Mop fly with no problem. I was using size 3 level line. I saw one trout in a seam, and couldn't get it to move with the Mop Fly. I then switched to a beadheaded black wooly bugger. No luck. I switched to a overhand worm. No Luck. I then tried a Utah Killer bug. No Luck. I hadn't fished the .4 gram spoons for a long time.

I snipped off the fly, tied on a .4 gram spoon and on the second cast I had a trout follow the spoon right up to me. After 3 more follows, I went from a silver spoon to a darker colored spoon. On the third cast, I thought I was snagged, then the snag took off up the creek! The battle was on! The Rainbow jumped, and my jaw dropped. It was at least an 18 inch fish, maybe even a 20 plus. I kept the pressure on! I turned the fish to the right into the calmer water, and he jumped again. This time I had it much closer to me. The line was singing! I thought I had the fish under control. He shot across the pool and broke me off! I was using 6.5x tippet. Fortunately, I had another spoon just like the one I lost. I got out my 5x tippet! In the next 20 minutes, I had 3 hits but no hook ups. I have a lot to learn about fixed line spoon fishing. I moved upstream and worked a seam and Wham! fish on! It was a blast. The trout, a 17 inch rainbow jumped 3 times. I worked it over into the clam water, and he made a run for the current! He had the angle on me. I kept pressure on. The Fine Power was able to move her out of the current, and this move really tired her out. I landed the fish, said "Thank You" to her and released her to go and make more babies this spring!

The Fine Power has power. These are two of the nicest trout I have battled in awhile. I didn't come close to maxing out the Fine Power. After talking a lot to Chris about bend profiles, this rod has just the bend profile I wanted! It is a spoon rod too!

I like the .4 gram spoons with this rod.

Apr 05, 2018
Fly Rod Spoons
by: Chris Stewart

Don't leave home without 'em!

Apr 06, 2018
Slow Retrieve
by: Les Albjerg

It is difficult to retrieve the .4 gram spoons slow enough. For those with more experience, do you ever put a split shot 6-8 inches in front of the spoon to get them deeper?

I am also going to make a specific line up for fishing these spoons.

I have never been much of a spinner or spoon fisherman. I did some fishing one day last summer with the .4 gram spoons with my friend Travis and caught a nice 14 inch trout with the TenkaraBum 40. That is all he does, fishes spoons and spinners. I had really good action yesterday. When I got back to the parking area, one other guy was there, he had been fishing all day and only had one strike. He was fishing spinners.

Apr 06, 2018
by: Hoppy D (SD)


There are many reasons why the sport is called "fishing" and not "catching." :-)

An eighth of a mile visibility in heavy snow and fog..... I can't even find the SST! Better days are coming, tho.

Don't get busted for harassing the waterfowl!

Apr 06, 2018
Split Shot
by: Chris Stewart

On Tuesday evening I attended a seminar on spinner fishing for wild trout. It was a five hour drive each way, and a night in a hotel, all for a one-hour seminar. It was worth it.

The guy who put on the seminar, Frank Nale, is a master by anyone's definition. All he does is fish for trout with spinners. He's currently retired but even when he was employed (as an accountant - which I'll get back to in a minute) he fished a lot. He has averaged almost 100 fishing days per year for the last 22 years. He has averaged over 100 trout PER DAY since January 23, 1993. The last day he got skunked was March 8, 1987! He knows how to catch trout!

He says "never use split shot." He says it reduces your chance of feeling a hit - some of which are so subtle you detect them because you no longer feel the vibration caused by the spinner blade turning. I will do a trip report on the seminar as soon as I have time to write it up.

The answer to the problem of getting deeper is to use a heavier spoon. The Vega spoons also come in .6g and .8g weights. I carry the .8g Vega spoons on the website and they will get deeper. If you use a heavier line it will dramatically lessen the jerkiness inherent in casting a heavier spoon. If that doesn't get deep enough you'll need to go to heavier spoon and a spinning rod.

The fact that Frank Nale was an accountant is important in this regard: he keeps meticulous records. Every fish (and 100 trout per day works out to an average of one every 5 minutes) gets recorded with the time, length, species and lure. He carries a little notebook - and a pencil because ballpoints don't write well in the rain. He also carries a spare notebook and a spare pencil and a pencil sharpener - and a little towel for when it rains. This guy is all about an accurate accounting - and I'm not making fun of it. His level of detail is the only way to know for sure how many fish are caught, at what time of day, at what water temperature, with what lure, etc.

You might not care how many fish you catch and when, but there are lessons in the data. The more you learn, the more fish you can catch.

He knows many people do not believe his numbers. He doesn't care. It turns out he is a humble guy who loves to fish, loves to catch fish, and can't help keeping records. He is not in any way a braggart. He has honed his methods over about 40 years of spin fishing for trout (and keeping meticulous records). He is quite willing to share what he has learned, but he doesn't care if you reject his ideas.

Huge ability, small ego.

Apr 06, 2018
Wonderful Essay
by: Vince in NY

Thanks for posting this piece by the hitherto unknown (to me) Bliss Perry. Really (reely?) a great essay which expands in meaning far beyond its stated subject. For those who want to read the full essay, it's online at Project Gutenberg.

My first freshwater catch was a bass, probably a largemouth. I was a kid who'd grown up flounder fishing off Long Island. We moved to Michigan, and there was a small lake across the street. One day I dug a few worms from the garden, baited a flounder hook and tossed it in the water. The bite came quickly. I caught him, but not until he'd taken line from my spinning reel, unwound the drag so the spool popped off, and had me hauling him in, hand over hand. A kid came running up and asked me what I'd caught him on. I can still remember his disappointed, "Oh," when I told him I'd used a worm. My introduction to the freshwater hierarchy!

Apr 06, 2018
Wow! Chris
by: Les Albjerg

To get a bit back on topic. I did read A.J. McCane, "Spinning for Fresh Water and Salt Water Fish of North America" this winter. Thanks Herb!

Wow, Chris I am looking forward to your write-up. Has this guy written a book? My friend Travis who is a dedicated spin and spoon fisherman does very well too. Not a 100 a day.

Thanks for the information. I have fished the 2.5 gram Crusader Spoons at Wilson Springs with the Suntech Genyru Sawanobori 45 and caught trout. It handles them very well! Next time out it is going to be "Kyogi 15 Time" and "Tenyru Spectra Time" at No Tell'm Creek. I could tell the trout just didn't want to come up high in the water column. Part of the problem is No Tell'm Creek is very close to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. There are lots of raptors in the area. It is a rare day you see a trout rise even when the hatches are on. This is a special place. The guy I talked to has fished this stretch of the creek for over 30 years and lives close by. He told me he was surprised the first time he ran into me as I was only the 3rd person he has even seen on the creek. I told him about checking out the "blue lines" on the map! It is a "catch and release" stream by the 4 of us who fish it. Hal is close to a steam keeper.

I have always caught small trout on "No Tell'm Creek using Red Wigglers. Most fish have been in the 6-12 inch range. I didn't know there are big ones in there too!

It sounds like Chris had the privilege of learning from a current master!

Apr 06, 2018
No book, no website.
by: Chris

Frank does maybe one or two seminars per year.

Apr 06, 2018
Frank Nale
by: Les Albjerg

Google "Frank Nale." On the HudsonValley Sportsman he defends himself and shares many great insights into his method. He sounds like "one of us." Those willing to go the extra to be successful.

Chris have you tried any spinners on a fixed line rig?

Apr 06, 2018
Fly Rod Spinners
by: Chris Stewart

I have fished small Colorado Spinners and what I call "Mathew" spinners after the guy who told me about them. A Mathew spinner consists of a fly, a small split shot just barely above the fly, a brass bead above the split shot and a small Colorado blade above the bead (with the line going through the hole in the blade). Plenty light enough to cast, but I didn't catch any fish on them and eventually the blade wears through the line, so you have to check for line wear. A Colorado Spinner makes more sense than the Mathew Spinner, but I've caught many more fish on the Vega spoons.

Apr 24, 2018
Frank Nale
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Yup, I Bing'd him and got a lot of information including pictures of his spinners and a description of his methods.

Read about all the doubters and I can speak about doubters and numbers. Been a trapper for over 40 years. Some of those years made enough money to live on-others it added extra income. Took instructions from the best in order to be the best myself. Found out that it is 90% attitude and hard work/10% method. Have a friend who consistently takes 2000 plus raccoon in a 120 day season. many can't believe it possible because they can't take 10 on their best day, yet along average 16-20 or more per day. His best year when all things lined up perfectly was over 4000.

"Once one opens the mind to the plausible, the unbelievable becomes possible!"

Just how many trout fisherman fish 100 days a years, 10-12 hours days just fishing, and may walk 2-7 miles of stream doing that?

Once one opens the mind to the plausible, the unbelievable becomes possible!

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