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Old Dogs can learn New Tricks!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

Winter time for many is a time to tie flies, clean and organize gear, and dream. In my world it is a great time to fish as well. Winter is also a great time to learn some new things.

I would like to share how you can also learn some new things. I have a very nice ultra-light spinning outfit. Chris over at Finesse - Fishing (see tab on side bar near bottom) has caused me to drag it out and begin using it again. I have not been much of a spin fisherman. Oh, I grew up with spinning rods. They were used out of a boat to troll for walleyes. They weren't cast very often. So I am a beginner when it comes to the spin fishing Chris is talking about.

I am a YouTube junkie. There is a lot of free stuff that is very educational. There are a lot of Japanese videos as well. We can't post links here.

However, if you get on YouTube and in the Search Window put in "Mountain Stream Game Tenryu Rayz Spectra", you will pull up a 20 minute video that demonstrates what Chris is talking about when it comes to fishing small streams with a spinning rod. The demonstrator showed me casts that never dreamed could be done! Chris carries Tenryu Rayz rods, and will Spectra rods very soon.

If you are at all curious as to what Chris is talking about when it comes to "Finesse Fishing" with a spinning outfit, this video is worth the watch. I could list others, but I'll leave it up to you to explore. Diawa and Shimano have a lot of great videos on YouTube as well. The ones from Australia are in English so you can even understand them. I have learned a few Japanese words watching a lot of YouTube videos. If you wonder what the bells are about in the video, they do have bears in Japan! I wear bells when I fish in Yellowstone and Glacier Park.

For the Tenkara purists, if you have not checked out Teton Tenkara, and Utah Tenkara YouTube videos you are missing a lot of great free education. There are others out there too, but I have found those two to be exceptional.

Comments for Old Dogs can learn New Tricks!

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Dec 08, 2017
New tricks
by: Hoppy D (SD)

Belled fishermen..... Here's an old Alaskan joke about that, Les:

Question: How can you tell the difference between black bear scat and grizzly bear scat?

Answer: Black bear scat is full of berries and leaves. Grizzly scat is full of berries, leaves, and little tinkle bells.

Old dogs aren't the only critters that can learn new tricks!!

Dec 08, 2017
Pepper Spray
by: Les Albjerg

Hoppy - I also carry Pepper Spray. Both of my daughters worked at Glacier when they were in college. So I have been there over half a dozen times. I saw plenty of Grizzlies. I saw twice the bells make cubs scamper back to their mothers so my fishing buddy and me weren't between the two. So, I believe in the bells as well as back-up. Seeing cubs charge across a creek is quite the puckering experience!

Would love to see some posts reacting to the video I mentioned!

I never would have believed that you could spin fish is such a small stream.

By the way, people fish Yellowstone and hike Glacier. Some of my best Cutthroat fishing has been in Glacier.

Dec 08, 2017
Bear spray and the video
by: Chris Stewart


Hoppy D only told half the joke. The other half is that black bear scat smells like berries and grizzly scat smells like bear spray.

On the video, even though I really like the Tenryu rods much better than the Daiwa Wise Stream rods, the Wise stream video on the Daiwa Wise Stream Rods page of the site is a better video with respect to casting.

I've seen some outstanding casting videos for fishing mountain streams with baitcasters. I'll try to get one on the Trout Baitcasting Rods page later.

Dec 08, 2017
The other half
by: Hoppy D (SD)

Quite right, Chris; that is the other part of the joke!

Another old Alaskan bear joke:

A chechako sees an old sourdough wiping down his .44 Mag and notices that the front sight blade has been filed down smooth. He asks why. The old sourdough replies, "Sonny, that is for when I am attacked by a bear. When I put that dang barrel in my mouth, I don't want to knock out my front teeth."

Dec 08, 2017
Pepper Spray Works
by: Les Albjerg

All joking aside, they won't let me carry my 45 Colt with heavy loads in the Parks. My youngest daughter came around a corner when hiking and was confronted by a Grizzly, and used her pepper spray. It worked as advertised.

I just sent Chris a picture of how a Black Bear signed by Blind while hunting a couple of years ago. That is why I hunt from a tree stand now!

I wish I hadn't mentioned the bells, so we could talk about spin fishing in small creeks!

Dec 08, 2017
editorial discretion to be applied
by: Chris Stewart

I almost went back and deleted all references to bells and spray but decided to leave them.

However, this thread is now for spin fishing on small creeks and no further mention of bears, bells, sprays etc will appear here.

Dec 08, 2017
Books: Old School But Still Good
by: Herb S.

A couple of weeks ago, this being the reading season, I dug out my old 1955 copy of "Spinning For Fresh and Saltwater Fish of North America" by A.J. McClane, a long time fishing editor of Field & Stream magazine. The book was first printed in 1953 when spinning was quite new in this country, and though much of the information on rod and line materials is dated it’s nevertheless fascinating and it’s amazing how advanced are McClane’s techniques for fishing. Much of what he wrote about retrieves, lure selection, casting and fighting fish is lost in modern day literature. Fishing spoons, for instance, is way beyond casting them out and reeling in. What is surprising are his line size suggestions: 1 & 2 # for panfish, 4# for general freshwater and 6# for pike, big bass and light saltwater. In the panfish section he describes going after perch with ½ pound test on a 1 ¼ oz. cane rod imported from France. He reports that "In Europe, where panfishing is a highly specialized game, they call it ‘hairline’ tackle." It might take some looking to find a copy but it’s well worth it. In fact, anything A.J. McClane wrote is, in my opinion, top rate information and highly entertaining, but I’m prejudiced. He was my boyhood favorite fishing writer and remains my geezerhood favorite, too.

Two books by Harold Blaisdell, "The Philosophical Fisherman" and "Tricks That Take Fish" are back in print and also are excellent sources of how-to information. Blaisdell prefers spoons over spinners for trout and offers good diagrams on how to fish them. He’s also a fan of fishing streamers with split shot on the line with spinning tackle. Both he and McClain offer good bait fishing information, too.

Happy reading,

Dec 08, 2017
No more Soak and Hope!
by: Les Albjerg

Thanks Herb! I just ordered a copy of "Spinning For Fresh and Saltwater Fish of North America" by A.J. McClane for $4.95! Tenkara has really changed my thinking about fishing. Intentional purposeful and thought out fishing is so much more fun than just soaking and hoping something will bite. I've loved to fish since I was 4 years old. I still have my first rod. It is a steel rod with an old level wind reel. It needs new cork, and I am going to rebuild it this winter. I'm going to fish with it again next summer. It is a real clunker, but has special memories. I will never restrict myself to only one type of fishing. That said, fixed line fishing if it is effective will always be near the top of my list.

Good technique is always timeless. So I am looking forward to learning from an old master. I would love to put some of our high tech gear into the hands of some of those old masters and see what they could do!

Dec 09, 2017
Never too old to learn or too young
by: Herb S.

You’re welcome, Les. Anything A.J. McClane wrote is worth reading, no matter what type of tackle is featured, and so are many of the old-time fishing writers. I hope you get as much out of the spinning book as I did. It’s worth re-reading from time to time, and the older and more experienced I get the more I appreciate McClane’s deep knowledge of fish and fishing. Ditto for many of my gazillion books.

Small world! My first outfit was a cheap solid glass rod and level wind reel when I was maybe age seven. Unfortunately, my father wasn’t really a fisherman and bought what he had, but his rod was steel. I still have his outfit. The reels were strung with 20# Dacron line to which a huge hook, maybe a #4 or 2, and a large pinch-on sinker were attached. The "technique" was to fish straight down, the reels being unable to cast. I recall being taken fishing twice, once below a dam on our big river where I caught a bluegill and another time along a bank on the same body of water where I got skunked and lost interest.

When I was eleven my folks bought a small cottage on a lake. The next year a kind neighbor let me try out his fly rod and I was hooked! The cheap fly rod and automatic reel I bought (and the wrong line) were awful but I kept at it and began to read the hook & bullet magazines. Later I bought an open-face spinning outfit and began to buy books…and more books. And much later Tenkarabum came along with even more…

Happy fishing,

Dec 15, 2017
Blown Away
by: Les Albjerg

I got my copy of "Spinning For Fresh and Saltwater Fish of North America" by A.J. McClane. THANKS HERB! The copy that I bought for less than 5 bucks came out of a library. It looks almost new, and is a hardback. I read the first couple of chapters last night, and didn't realize how little I know about spin fishing. Hundreds and hundreds of hours soaking a minnow with a spin fishing outfit for walleyes out of a boat doesn't equate to knowledge.
It is hard to believe that this book that was written 65 years ago talks about catching double digit fish on 2-4 pound test line. Carbon fiber rods, and the ultra smooth reels of today were only in A.J. McClane's dreams. I just went out and spun my old Mitchell reel and compared it to my new Shimano. We are spoiled! Now to learn skills from McClane and apply them with our great modern equipment. Sometimes the good old days aren't as good as now!

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