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Bailless reel! - No big deal

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

No Bail

No Bail

The surgery on the Garcia Michelle 309 was a success. I thought it might be good to start a new thread. St. Claire and Robinson have revolutionized my spin fishing! The principles in both of these books apply beyond just fine line fishing.

It was with fear and trepidation that I cut the bail off. This morning I took out the Tenyru Rayz RZ39LL with the Michelle 309 and the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL-4 with the Shimano Cardiff 1000SHG for some testing. It was a fun morning!

First, I am amazed at how you really don't need the bail on your spinning reel. I'm still very much a beginner, but it took less than 5 minutes to get used to not having the bail. Using the forefinger to replace the bail isn't that hard. I was able to slip the line easily off the roller in preparation for the cast. I have a lot more to learn about feathering the line as it comes off, but catching the line and stopping the cast was much easier than I thought it would be! Curling the finger under was an easy way to get the roller to engage the line and then reeling in the line was the same as if the bail was there!

I then used my new love, the Iprimi with the Cardiff. The casting wasn't much different. I would say the bail makes it more convenient, and I am not going to cut the bail off of my Cardiff. That said, it is much much easier to feather the line without the bail. The Garcia Mitchell is a nice real. The advancements of the newer reels in smoothness in everything!

The Tenyru Rayz RZ39LL is one of my favorite stream rods. I call it "The Mighty Mite." If I remember right, the ones Chris has in stock are the last of the bunch. This 3 foot nine inch rod is one of the funnest rods I have! It casts so well and carries the fight of the fish into the hand like no other! It performs like a much longer rod!

I'm really glad I have a Garcia-Mitchell 409 coming today. The retrieve on the 309 is slow! The 409 is the high speed version of the 309. This experiment still has a ways to go. I'm building a fiberglass rod to go with the Garcia-Mitchell reels. I would encourage those who are adventurous to get a vintage reel and cut the bail off. The older reels can't be converted from left to right, so make sure you buy the right one! For us lefties, the only reels that I have found that work are the Mitchell 309 and 409. For the right hand folks there is the Alcedo Micron, the Orvis 50A and the Mitchell 308 and 408. I do like my modern reels, but fishing bailess really does have its advantages and I am looking forward to even more exploration. It is truly finesse!

Comments for Bailless reel! - No big deal

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Jun 09, 2020
The 409 Arrived!
by: Les Albjerg

If you are thinking of doing this, I would highly recommend you look for a Garcia Mitchell 408 or 409. I think the 308-09 series will be fine in ponds or slow moving water. The retrieve rate of the the 408-409 series is much closer to the modern reel.

Lets talk about line some more. Robinson and St. Claire and McClane didn't have the line we can get! Robinson the most modern of the "Hairline" advocates talks about .003-.005 inch range as the ideal. Most JDM 2 pound test is right in the middle of this rating, .004 inches. In McClane's time 2 pound test line was .006 inches in diameter. Modern premium JDM line doesn't twist or maybe better said hold a twist like the cheaper domestic stuff.

The modern reel reminds me of the awesome 8 speed automatic in my wife's new Toyota. It is so smooth you can't even feel it shift. The Garcia-Mitchell reels are more like the 5 speed manual in the old Ford Focus.

I'm an insensate tinkerer! The reality is the Shimano Cardiff CI4+ 1000SHG paired with the Daiwa Iprimi 60 XUL and 2-4 pound JDM line surpasses anything St. Claire, McClane, or Robinson had.

Like Robinson, I do like fishing the pressured waters near me. My version of the Japanese areas!

Jun 09, 2020
by: bill piatek

Did you ever read the old thread-lining website? I tried bringing some back with the wayback machine but not there.

Jun 09, 2020
Yup, on the agenda
by: Kelly Peterson

After getting settled in our new house in southern Illinois this will be one of the first things on my to do list. That of making my Mitchell 310UL(even smaller than 308/309) bailess. Am also going to try that on the older Daiwa 500c(FYI can be made RH or LH).

Les, did you try the Michelle 309 on the Daiwa Iprimi rod?

I have the Iprimi and Joe Robinson's TFO 2 pc spin/fly rod, both 6 feet. Without comparing them in actual fishing they seem very similar in hand flexing. If I ever get the knack of the Flip and Snap casts I'm sure either of these rods will execute it properly.

Do agree with you that today's reels are super smooth in comparison. Since one can get spare parts for the newer reels I won't hesitate creating the coup de grace on the bail if I find that method to be better.

Jun 09, 2020
Works on the Iprimi
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - My new (0ld) reel works well on the Iprimi. Two nice planters caught in my "area" in less than 10 minutes. I had 3 people come and ask, "What are you using?" I showed them the Forest Marshall Tournament 0.9 gram spoon. It is easy to social distance at 6 feet with a 6 foot rod. They had never seen a spoon that small! I ended up getting rid of 3 more of Chris' cards too! I still have a lot of work to do on my casting, but I am making progress!

The key to the 309 and 409 reels are they rotate the proper direction for me to manipulate the line. It wouldn't do a lefty any good to take the bail off say my Cardiff reel.

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The hooks are sharp.
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The fish are slippery when wet.