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A Must Read! You can get it Free!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

If you spend some time on this website, there is a lot to learn. In the write-up on the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL Chris talks about a book by Erne St. Claire called "The Modern Science of Spin Fishing." I'm going to just say it, "This book has revolutionized my casting!"

I was introduced to an expert stream spin caster who is from Pennsylvania, Frank Nale by Chris. Frank taught me through some of his written material and correspondence details on how to read the water and fish spinners in moving water. He took me to another level. This book has taken me up another level!

Until I got a copy of Erne's book, I thought I knew how to cast. Erne teaches three different casts with some variations on those three. The first two casts he teaches can be pretty much done with any rod. I went through my rods, and I was able to do the first two casts, the "overhead" and the "shorty." Of the rods that I have in my personal inventory, only be the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL-4 can do the "fer-de-lance" cast. If you read the book and want to learn that cast, you will need a full flex rod. I would suggest you consult Chris as to the rod selections he may have that will work.

Why should you print this book off, and learn the techniques? Fishing Wilson Creek this week, I have never been so accurate. My casts have never been so effortless. For the first time, I felt relaxed when casting! I don't feel confident in the "fer-de-lance" to try it in the brush, but the "shorty" did the trick, and I caught fish! No, there isn't a video version of the book, but the illustrations are easy to follow. Reading a book that is frozen in time (1961) is very humorous at times and offensive at times! The equipment is dated, but that only makes one appreciate how far we have come. If you want to take your casting to a new level this book is a must read!

So how do you get the book? Just use your favorite search engine and type in "The Modern Art of Spin Fishing by Erne St. Claire PDF" and print it off! You will be happy you did!

Comments for A Must Read! You can get it Free!

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May 19, 2020
another interesting read
by: bill piatek

Another take on this topic is Joe Robinson's book "Piscatorial Absurdities". It used to be available from Sportsman's Finest in Austin TX. Not sure if it's currently available.

May 20, 2020
Fishing Report
by: Les Albjerg

Bill - I've looked long and hard for "Piscatorial Absurdities". Sportsman's Finest doesn't have anymore copies. I called.

I've been lawn casting using Erne's instructions. The Daiwa Iprimi 60UXL-4 meets all of Erne's specifications without having to make your own rod. I have it paired with a Shimano Cardiff 1000 reel. I have thought about going down to a size 500.

Yesterday I was able to get about 15 minutes of fishing in. The only thing I took was the rod, the reel, a net and a .9 gram Forest Marshall Tournament #11. My goal was to get some practice casting on water. When I got to the pond, the wind wasn't what I wanted. Is it ever? Oh, well practice is practice.

Following Erne's instructions, I didn't compensate for the wind like I should have on the first cast, and cast went to the left of the target. One of the big lessons from the book is "always have a target." My target on my beginning of this session was a tree down shore. Not that I could reach it, but to gave direction to the cast. Using the basic cast, even with the wind, I was amazed at the length of the casts I was getting! .9 grams isn't much weight. I then targeted the corner of the dock. I was fishing from shore because there were 3 people on the dock. Eight casts into the wind and I dropped the lure within 6 inches of the corner every time!

It was time to get adventurous and do some real fishing. There is a row of bull-rushes and 3 feet out there is a nice drop off. On the second cast working the slope hoping for a sunfish, I had a nice 14 inch bass slam the lure! This ultra-light outfit was up to the task! I really enjoyed the full-flex of the rod, and was surprised to catch such a nice fish. (I was so excited I sent Chris a picture from my phone.) I can't emphasize enough how sweet JDM line is too.

The casting methods taught in "The Modern Science of Spin-fishing" has improved my casting with other rods too. What do you have to lose? The book is free!

May 20, 2020
glad you got out a little
by: bill piatek

Glad you got out for a bit. Things are shut pretty tight here with the virus.

I flexed a friend's Iprimi a while back but I never did pull the trigger on buying one. :-/ That odd grip I guess. Chris is out of all but the 5' 6" now.

May 20, 2020
5'6" Iprimi
by: Chris Stewart

The 5'6" Iprimi has a solid tip, which interrupts the smooth bend and changes the dynamics of the cast. It is a fun rod, but I think the hollow tipped 60XUL and 60XUL-4 are better for the Erne St Clair casts.

May 21, 2020
You get used to it
by: Les Albjerg

Bill - I thought the grip was a little strange at first. However, once fishing with it, the ergonomics begin to feel very comfortable quickly. I've always been a big cork fan, but these newer grips seem to transmit what is going on at the end of the line very effectively. I don't want to sound totally fixated on Erne St. Claire, but the grip on the Daiwa Iprimi 60UXL-4 does allow one to move their hand around into a comfortable position which he talks about.

I've really enjoyed exploring the lighter spoons. This outfit will cast the .9 gram - 1.8 gram spoons very well. Several of the places that are convenient for me to fish are very much like the "areas" in Japan. Highly pressured, and at least here hammered with unsophisticated tackle. I won't disparage my fellow fishermen or fisherwomen. That said, more often or not, using the more nuanced JDM spoons leads to success even though the fish have seen numerous lures before I have a shot at them! I have had a few folks upset at me when I follow them to a spot where they haven't had success and within a few minutes I have a fish on.

May 21, 2020
Daiwa Area Bum
by: Chris Stewart

Bill, the Daiwa Area Bum is similar to the Iprimi, not quite as soft (so a little less capable of doing the Erne St Clair casts) but it has a "standard" spinning rod grip and is still a lot of fun with modest fish. I've had a few in stock over the years, but they didn't sell nearly as well as the less expensive Iprimi so I discontinued them.

May 21, 2020
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Thanks Les for providing the link to the Spin Fishing book. Finally got it all printed and started reading last night.

I have Joe Robinson's book, Piscatorial Absurdities and have read it several time. In fact, have been re-reading the chapter on "Flures" recently.

Also have one of TFO 6' Joe Robinson combo spin/fly rods, too. It sure is limber but am having a hard time doing any of Ernie's casting methods but just need much more practice.

On the subject of "Flures", which are Joe's version of flies tied on small jigs that he makes himself, has anyone tried tying a Killer Bug on a small jig head?

May 25, 2020
Just Had to Do It!
by: Les Albjerg

I just finished reading "Piscatorial Absurdities" by Joe Robinson. Looking at the rods he has built and the recommendations by Ernie St. Claire, I have ordered all the parts to build my own custom rod.

I'm a real sucker for S-Glass, and I found a nice 3 piece 2 weight 6 foot blank. I went with Joe's handle recommendations. I also went with his guide recommendations. So, the blending of glass (St. Claire) and the guide and handle recommendations of Robinson should make a nice rod.

Am I saving money? No. The cost of all of my components came to about $120.00. (graphite would have been more) If I had done the handle I wanted to do, the cost would have come to $170.00, and a lot more work. This doesn't count labor or incidentals. The cost of the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL is $150.00. I doubt my rod will be "better." The Iprimi meets Robinson's and St.Claire's perimeters. However, the one I am building will be unique. I'm looking forward to the build. I'll keep you all posted.

I'm also very convinced that Joe Robinson would have been very impressed with the JDM line that is offered by Chris. I doubt I will ever fish with anything else. It solves most of the problems he talks about.

May 28, 2020
Any other rods suggestions?
by: Alexander T

Thank you for the wonderful book, I found a ton of useful information to improve my fishing. I wonder is Tenryu Rayz Alter RZA61L-T a good rod for Erne’s style casts or not?

May 28, 2020

by: Chris Stewart

The Tenryu Rayz Alter RZA61L-T is a great rod but it is a little too fast for doing Erne St. Clairs' casts. The best rods for his casts are slightly soft full flex rods. Of all the JDM rods I've had in stock, the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL is the best and the Iprimi 60XUL-4 is the second best. Of the rods I have in stock now (5/28/2020) the Shimano Cardiff Exlead AT S57SUL/R-GS is the best, but it is considerably more expensive than the Iprimi.

May 30, 2020
S-Glass blanks arrive
by: Les Albjerg

My S-Glass blanks arrived. I was a bit worried as Robinson suggests building your rod on a 4 weight, and I bought 2 weight blanks. I'm happy I went with the 2 weight. They are going to work. Now I am waiting for the other parts to arrive.

However, I am even more impressed with the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL-4. I wish I had been a pig, and bought a 2 piece rod before Chris sold out! Not really, I'm happy someone else has an Iprimi during this shortage, and will look forward to possibly adding a two piece to my collection in the future.

What shocked me is Ernie St. Claire's preferred action, (bow) is perfectly executed by the Iprimi rods. I have several blanks in my collection, and none of them can match the Iprimi. The Japanese really do take fishing to a different level!

I'm no expert in these methods, but wow have they improved my fishing. A word of caution - Make sure you relax and simply still enjoy your fishing! I was getting too caught up in method, and was forgetting that the techniques are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end - the enjoyment of fishing! What a joy when you can drop the spoon, spinner, or plug within inches of your target! Speaking of plugs, the 1.9 gram Palms Alexandra works very well with the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL and the Shimano Cardiff and 2.5 pound JDM line.

May 31, 2020
building your own is fun
by: bill piatek

You're right Les. Rolling your own is NOT cheaper! I have a 3/4 built S-glass rod sitting in the closet.

I'm laid up with a knee replacement for the next few months and maybe Chris will get the 4 piece back in stock by the time I'm out.

Jun 05, 2020
Thanks for putting this on the site!
by: Charles Adams

Chris, thanks for putting this on the site, as I have one of the original copies of this book, I looked for well over a year and found one in a used book store, it was heavily used, but I didn't want it for the physical book, just the information.

As a child of the 1950s, being born in the middle on the decade, the writing of the book, sounds so much like the magazine articles and the books of the era. Yet, St. Clair can't be denied his point of view or his experiences, and we can learn from what he did.

I look for strange and often 'fringe' fishing tackle and a couple of years ago, I was able to buy a spinning rod, of what looked like 1950s-1960s vintage with the same rod handle and guide placement as St. Clair writes about in his book.

When Robinson first published his book, I was able to obtain a copy of the book and it's very interesting and after implementing some of Robinson's techniques and tactics, they certainly do work.

One of my favorite rod/reel combinations is the now discontinued Temple Fork rod that was supposedly built to his specifications, along with an old Daiwa 500SS, which still has it's bail. I have not used the auto-trip function on a spinning reel in almost 45 years and I haven't missed it one bit. I also don't get wind knots or extensive line twist. I fish alongside people who use the auto-trip and I don't know how they can stand the induced line twist.

I'm not exclusively a spin fisherman, using UL fly tackle, but at least 50-60% of the time, I use ultralight baitcasting/BFS tackle for most of my fishing. I've done so since the 1970s and finally people are coming around to the wisdom of the technique ;).

Really, whether reading St. Clair's book or Robinson, any angler should be able to take away something from their ideas and experiences. Robinson's book is full of really good ideas that are easily implemented and of pretty good value.

Thanks again for posting the link for the electronic copy of the book.

Jun 06, 2020
Charles Adams
by: Kelly Peterson soon to be southern Illinois

Could you explain what you mean by autotrip the bail? On the older reels like my Mitchell 308's and 310 ul the crank trips the bail. On the newer reels like my Plueger's and Shimano's my hand closes the bail, not the crank.

Thanks and I love both these books and have one of those Temple Fork custom Joe Robinson rods, too. Still working on the different casting methods.

Jun 06, 2020
Surgery today!
by: Les Albjerg

I've been picking up Garcia Mitchell 309 reels on Ebay. It is the left handed version of the 308. Interestingly it weighs only 2 grams more than my Shimano Cardiff 1000. It is interesting comparing "old school" with the modern reels. There is a smoothness in the two Shimano reels that I have that clearly shows the progress in design of the modern reels. That said, if I could count the number of fish I have caught over the years, I am sure by far the most have been caught on a Garcia Mitchell 301. What I have found that is interesting is the numbering system of Garcia Mitchell doesn't make sense to me. I would think the 309 would be bigger than the 301. The 309 is smaller. I also bought a 409 that is the same size as the 309, but it is the high speed version of the 309.

Charles - Thanks for sharing your experiences and story. Kelly, I hope you find some good fishing in Southern Illinois.

Today I will be cutting the bail off of one of my 309's. I'm looking forward to learning Robinson's technique without the bail. This old dog can learn new tricks! That said, I have never had the line twist problems with JDM line that I have had with domestic lines. I'm going to spool one of the 309's with JDM line and fish it to compare with the one without a bail. I'm still waiting on some parts for my rod build, but I do have the Imprimi to practice with my modified reel.

Jun 06, 2020
Les and Mitchell's
by: Kelly Peterson soon to be southern Illinois

Hi Les and others, no trout close by where we are moving but way more panfish(especially bluegill and crappie) opportunities plus the best part is year around fishing. If I want to go trout fishing southern Missouri and northern Arkansas are 2-4 hours away. So no more of me sitting in front of this computer during our 6 month long winters at our former house living thru all of your comments.

I grew up on Mitchell's mostly the 300 and the 308 was my ultralight reel for trout fishing for decades. Then I tried the modern reels and like them a lot. Very much smoother and quieter when retrieving(I have always fished with anti-reverse on so they make a little click). Have since sold all of these when I found the Mitchell 310ul. Have to cut one of the bails off but with this moving stuff it will be a project for later when we are settled in.

Les so you are left handed?

For a six foot person with very long arms(35" sleeve and 75"+ wingspan)I have small hands. So much so that I find it difficult for my index finger to reach the center front of the reel per Ernie St Claire writings/teaching. Will first try feathering the line with that finger when casting to see how that works with my short fingers before Detach De Bail ala Joe Robinson Chapter 9 of his book. I think stopping the line before the lure hits the water will go along way towards preventing snarls.

And Frank Nale has found that by putting on less line, instead of filling to almost the rim of spool, he gets less snarls too. I know on the new reels like my Shimano Soare 500's the recommended spool fill creates more problems for me, especially with the hairline braids of 1-3# test.

Jun 09, 2020
Where to find Joe Robinson book?
by: Alexander T

Could anyone please tell me where to find this book? Internet search didn’t help me.

Jun 09, 2020
by: Kelly Peterson soon to be southern Illinois

At this time don't know of anywhere this book can be found. Keep doing internet searches till you find one. I don't even know of any Classified section one could place a Wanted To Buy advertisement, either.

Jun 09, 2020
Robinson's Book
by: Les Albjerg

I almost didn't write about it, but others talked about "Piscatorial Absurdities" on this blog entry. I have been looking for my own copy for over 2 years. Alexander, I was very fortunate that a friend loaned me his copy to read. There is a lot of interesting information that isn't in St. Claire's book. However, the essence of the casting is in St. Clair's book that can be downloaded free. I can only suggest keep looking!

Jun 10, 2020
It works!
by: Jim D

Thanks Les, this little book is great! I fished a big river with my light bass rod today and my casts were better than the have ever been. I feel like I’m finally using the rod like it’s meant to be used. Distance and accuracy, yes!

Jun 10, 2020
Music to my ears!
by: Les Albjerg

Jim D. - Your comment warms my heart. It is nice to know that sharing this has helped your fishing. I do think the principles in St. Claire's books will help most spin fishermen and women.

Jul 15, 2020
Out With Old and In With The New
by: Rick W

St. Claire's book was a fun read. Interesting that some of the techniques are still applicable today. I moved the reel towards the back of my Tennessee handle rods and I do find that I like the feel of them better. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Joe Robinson's book back when it first came out. That is what put me on the road to 'Extreme Ultralight" spin fishing. I had a custom rod built for me based on Robinson's recommendations and WOW! What a big difference that was compared to the store bought ultralights I had. Then I bought the TFO version as well. The custom rod is more in line with what Joe Robinson had in mind. With a max lure weight of 1/16oz. there was definitely a learning curve for me as I was snapping off my lures left and right with 2lb. Dam Tectan line. Then I found Chris's site here and well, Chris has a lot my money now. But I'm enjoying some of the current JDM gear he has to offer. Some folks like "Old School". Been there, done that. I like "State of the Art".

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