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Finesse-Fishing Blog

The Finesse-Fishing Blog will highlight new pages on the site and follow developments in ultralight spinfishing and ultralight baitcasting for trout.

Aug 09, 2020

Great Line - Two hours of Fishing

A line review? You bet! I drew an archery antelope tag and went out scouting yesterday. The scouting was frustrating. A blind on a water hole I thought

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Aug 02, 2020

Trip Report 7-27-20

I don't remember exactly how the topic came up, but a couple weeks ago I suggested to Les A that the next time he takes out his Tenryu Rayz RZ39LL (which he calls his "Mighty Mite") he should put his Aldebaran BFS XG on it and fish it as a baitcaster. I'd done that a few times in the past and found that it worked surprisingly well.

I had planned a tenkara day for last Sunday, but thought that as long as I had recommended the RZ39LL/Aldebaran combo to Les, I should try it again myself. I'm glad I did.

There are a few things I really like about the Tenyru Rayz RZ39LL, not the least of which is that the breakdown length is just 23 1/4" and it fits in a Medium Rod Case. You can strap it on a backpack and it won't tower over your head, catching on low branches as you walk along the stream-side trail. The short 3'9" overall length may seem way to short - that is until you try it on a small stream and realize that you just don't need a long rod for a narrow stream.

Tenryu RayzRZ39LL

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Jul 14, 2020

European Article On Ultralight Spinning

Since links are not allowed, do a google search for “The Origins of Ultra-Light Spinning”, by Hans van der Pauw. Nice to find write ups on ultralight

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Jul 11, 2020

Exploring the past and taking it into the present!

This journey actually began a few years ago. Herb over on the TenkaraBum website talked about A.J. McClane's book Spinning for Fresh and Salt Water Fish

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Jul 09, 2020

Enjoying Baitcasting Finally!

I think I have bait casting figured out! I had a great day on Tuesday up in the mountains. I fished a spring creek and a freestone creek and as Chris

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Jul 04, 2020

Trip Report 6-26-2020

In the past I have taken issue with Thoreau's comment that many men fish all their lives without realizing it isn't the fish they are after. I fish to catch fish. However, on a day in late June it truly was good just to get out of the city and into the woods.

There is a Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku, which translates into English as "forest bathing." The bathing is not literal, as in taking a bath or shower. It is more like immersing yourself in the forest, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the textures. It is not camping, hiking or even fishing. It is just being in the forest, awakening your senses and allowing the stresses of modern life to ooze away. There are scientific studies showing true health benefits from forest bathing, but you don't need the studies. If you do it - just being in nature, relaxing and awakening your senses - you will feel the benefits.

I did go to fish, though, so I'm sure I didn't get the full benefit of forest bathing. I did feel my stress fade away for a few hours, though, and I also managed to try a few new rods that had come in just before lock-down and that I hadn't had a chance to fish yet.

Tenryu Rayz RZ4102B-UL and Calcutta Conquest

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Jun 14, 2020

Finesse Fishing meets Golden Rainbow Trout

Yesterday I went fishing at a stream in northern Pennsylvania. My line was 3 pound Sunline Troutist Darkness. I love this this line. It is a gray color

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Jun 08, 2020

Bailless reel! - No big deal

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

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May 13, 2020

A Must Read! You can get it Free!

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

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May 09, 2020

60 years of Bait Casting!

It was 60 years ago this month that I was given my first rod and reel. It is a Pflueger 1893 and an unknown steel rod of about 5 feet in length with 4

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May 05, 2020

Quick Comment

I just discovered your website and am thrilled to see an American website knowledgeable about finesse fishing with Japanese gear for trout. I have only

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May 03, 2020

Help! Shimano Conquest backlash

So I finally popped for a Shimano Conquest BFS reel and my lack of bait caster experience is really showing. I’m getting bird’s nests about every three

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May 02, 2020

Spoon Fishing for Panfish

Spoon Fishing for Panfish is much more effective than you might imagine. The key is to use a small spoon! They'll follow a larger spoon but will hit a small one with abandon!

The only reason more people don't use spoons to fish for panfish is because they don't know how well it works. The main reason they don't know how well it works is they've never had a spoon that was small enough.

Small spoons are available - if you know where to look.(Hint: you're looking in the right place right now.)

Bluegill with Daiwa Eve Spoon

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Apr 11, 2020

Is it the Lure or Fishing Confidence

Hey Guys Surprise! Trout season opened early in Pennsylvania! So I took my ultralight setup out last night for about an hour. Nothing doing until I

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Feb 14, 2020

Micro Spoons

Micro Spoons are surprisingly effective for trout and panfish (both sunfish and crappies). I have caught bass, fallfish and creek chubs with them as well. If you haven't yet tried them, get some. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.

There is no definitive industry standard for what would be considered a "micro spoon." I know of one company that calls their 1/8 oz spoons "micro spoons." I would have chosen 1/16 oz (about 1.8 grams) rather than 1/8 oz as the upper weight limit for a micro spoon. I have found spoons of 1/16 oz or less to be just as effective for trout and a lot more effective for crappies and sunfish. For sunfish in particular, smaller is better.

There aren't many spoons that weigh just 1/16 oz in the US, but they are common in Japan, where micro spoons are the most popular lure for fishing in Areas (private pay-to-fish lakes).

Brookie with .8g Vega spoon

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Feb 09, 2020

Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL and 60XUL-4

The Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL and 60XUL-4 are soft Area spinning rods designed specifically for fishing in lakes. They are just ideal for fishing micro spoons, which are the most popular lures for fishing the Areas in Japan.

Their line and lure ratings, and their soft, full flex action are just what Joe Robinson and Erne St. Clair advocated in Piscatorial Absurdities and The Modern Science of Spin Fishing.

Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL-4

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Jan 26, 2020

Yokohama Fishing Show

On January 17 and 18 I attended the Yokohama Fishing Show as a guest of Tenryu. My primary goal for the show was to visit with Tenryu Chairman Miyoshi Shiozawa, Fishing Tackle Division Manager Takuya Shiozawa and product development and sales personnel to discuss their new Rayz and Rayz Spectra rods. While at the show, I also wanted to visit a couple other booths to see some newly introduced spinning and baitcasting rods.

Tenryu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL-BC

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Dec 29, 2019

Ultralight setup issue

I want to know about Ultralights fishing rules and setup, like reel drag below 5kg or 3kg... because some people say 3kg only for Ultralight.. if above

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Dec 13, 2019

YouTube Resource

By now I think most are familiar with the “Enjoy Fishing Channel” on YouTube. If not from the post on here then simply from browsing online for bfs videos.

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Nov 05, 2019

Trip Report - 10-19-19

A few weeks ago I went to Colorado to meet with the Tenryu people manning their booth at the International Fly Tackle Dealers Association trade show in Denver. I stayed a few extra days and fished with Adam Klagsbrun in and around Boulder CO.

I was eager to fish with him for two reasons. He told me he had figured out how to do a very easy flip cast that was extremely accurate, and I wanted to learn it if I could. Also, he had recently gotten a spinning rod from Anglo & Co in Japan, which I wanted to see.

When we got to the stream, Adam showed me his flip cast. My understanding of how he did it had been close, but not exact, and the difference was crucial.

The best part of the lesson (at least for me) was after making the cast correctly a few times with his Anglo & Co rod, I was able to pick up my Tenryu Rayz Integral RZI50UL-4 and do the exact same cast.

Daiwa Silver Creek Black Gold

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Nov 01, 2019

Palms SpinWalk Clevis Spinners

Never been a fan of inline spinners. In my old spinning gear treble hook days, spinners seem to snag everything and always twist up my line. Sure, I could

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Oct 13, 2019


Yesterday was our fall perch fishing day at Lake Cascade. One of the big motivations for buying the Tenryu Lunakia LK6102S-MLT was to target perch. It

Continue reading "Sucker!"

Sep 20, 2019

Trip Report - 9-15-19

Following last year's trip to Japan I wrote an article on Sinking Minnow Lures, explaining that they are the most popular lure for stream fishing in Japan. On Sunday, I realized that you might want a few floating minnow lures as well.

I remember a comment from John Vetterli (a tenkara guide who spin fishes in his spare time) about fishing a floating minnow in a snag-filled stream. He said if there is a sunken log or branch just stop reeling and the lure will float to the surface and come right over it. I definitely could have used that on Sunday!

Daiwa Silver Creek Red GoldYamame

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Sep 08, 2019

Trip Report - 9-2-19

Not long ago, a customer sent me an email praising the Tenryu Rayz Alter RZA62UL-S as a sweet rod for brookies in the headwaters. That surprised me a little, as my idea of a headwaters rod was a lot closer to the Tenryu Rayz RZ39LL, which is only 3'9" long and is very easy to cast in very tight quarters. The 6'2" rod he praised just seemed too long.

Then I realized that the tenkara rods I recommend for fishing the headwaters are mostly 9' long or longer. On any stream where I can swing a 9' tenkara rod a 6' spinning rod should be no problem whatsoever.

I had to give it a try.

Tenryu Rayz Alter with small stream brown

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Sep 01, 2019

Trekking with the Tenryu Rayz 68LML

As anyone who has seen my trips knows, I’m a huge short rod guy. I’ve owned many rods from 3’8” to 5’1” and really enjoying the rods in the 4’5” length.

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Aug 18, 2019

Trip Report - 8-17-19

We don't have Aji in our harbors, but we do have snapper blues, which are probably just as good.

When I mention to people that the Tenryu Lunakia rods are ultralight saltwater rods I occasionally get blank looks, as if "ultralight" and "saltwater" are two words that do not belong in the same sentence. Those people must never have fished for snapper blues.

Snapper blues are young bluefish. From late July through September, they abound in bays and harbors all up and down the east coast.

Snapper Blue

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Aug 08, 2019

Trip Report - 8-4-19

The plan for the day was to fish different weights of the Shimano Slim Swimmer spoons. For some time now, I have had the 2.5g Slim Swimmer spoons but they also come in 1.5g, 3.5g and 5g weights.

I decided to try the different weights of the Shimano Slim Swimmers after my trip a few weeks ago when the Slim Swimmer was the only spoon to draw any strikes. The fish don't say, but I suspect at least part of the reason for the Slim Swimmer's effectiveness is that it is a lot closer than most spoons to the shape of a real minnow.

I started out with a Tenryu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL spinning rod. I could have stayed with the Spectra and the 1.5g Slim Swimmer and had a very nice day indeed, but I had other lures to fish.

Slim Swimmer Brookie

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Aug 05, 2019

Moving On Up!

I got interested in UL fishing years ago. I started out with Wally World specials as it fit my budget at the time. As time went on I gradually increased

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Jul 30, 2019

Trip Report - 7-28-19

The Secret Spot

Are there secret spots - I mean really secret?

Somebody knows. Probably lots of somebodies. Anyone who lives in the area, and fishes, knows. The locals always know.

On Sunday I fished with a guy I've known for a while but had never fished with. He was curious about a particular rod and offered to show me around the area where he lives if I would bring the rod so he could see if it really was as nice as I describe it on the website.

He also offered to show me his secret spot - on the condition that I wouldn't describe the spot or name the stream, and made sure any photos I took did not have distinguishing features or embedded GPS info. He's a local. I'm sure he knows all the good spots. I agreed without hesitation.

We met at the prearranged time and place, and I followed him to his secret spot.

When we got there...

Baitcaster Brookie 3

Continue reading "Trip Report - 7-28-19"

Jul 16, 2019

The good new days!

I bought an Ajing rod for perch fishing up at Lake Cascade. I discovered that these rods are amazingly versatile. A few weeks ago I fished my longer

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Jul 10, 2019

Copy Cat!

If imitation is the best form of flattery, Chris needs to blush! I put my BFS Daiwa reel on my Tenyru Rayz RZ39LL and took it out for a spin this morning

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Jul 06, 2019

Trip Report 7-5-19

On Friday I played hooky. The weather forecast was for rain both Saturday and Sunday, so I decided to get out when the getting was good. It ended up being a very good day, the first "many" day I've had for a long, long time.

I spent most of the day fishing with a Tenryu Rayz RZ39LL. Wait! The photo clearly shows a BFS reel! A baitcaster? On a spinning rod? Heresy!

Regular readers of the TenkaraBum site know that I don't always play according to Hoyle. I would be very happy to fish a BFS reel on a Rayz 3'9" baitcaster if Tenryu made one but they don't.

There are a few things I've learned about fishing a BFS reel on an RZ39LL - or an RZI50UL-4, which I've done more frequently.

Tenryu RZ39LL, Daiwa Air Stream Custom

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Jul 03, 2019


I went up in the mountains yesterday to the waters where I met the Frank Nale challenge last year of over 100 trout in one day. I am appreciative of Frank

Continue reading "Ambushed!"

Jul 01, 2019

Cork Sealer

I want to treat my JDM rod handles with cork sealer. Has anyone treated their cork handles? I am going to us U40 cork sealer, from the reviews and youtube,

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Jun 21, 2019

Preparing to Fish New Waters

My good friend at work Megan who is an awesome fly fisherwoman hiked up to several of the lakes I was planning on fishing when I am off work in 10 days.

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Jun 20, 2019

Barbed or barbless? What I’ve found

In my experiences fishing both barbed and barbless hooks for multiple species in both fresh and salt water, I’ve found both have their place. To me, one

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Jun 16, 2019

Trip Report 6-15-19

Cultiva S-55M
A friend and I have been going to Maine for smallmouth bass fishing during the first week of June for over 30 years now. This year I spent virtually the entire week fishing with a baitcaster, using a variety of reels and a variety of lines.

The week in Maine was the most concentrated practice I have had with a baitcaster. And while I may never be in Angler Saito's league, by the end of the week I found I was able to place a lure between the rocks on the shoreline well enough and often enough to give me quite a bit of encouragement and to make me eager to try the same on a trout stream.

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Jun 14, 2019

Copper spoons

The last few years I've had great luck with copper spoons in the lakes around here. Only problem is the 1/12oz Phoebe is the lightest I can find. When

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Jun 12, 2019

One Lure Box

Getting a little quiet out here...Hope everybody is too busy fishing! Lure boxes!? Self confession here, I carry too much junk with me to go fishing.

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May 18, 2019

Building Your Own Custom BFS Rod

Spent some time this past winter playing around building custom bfs rods. I drew from some past experience of fly rod building and approached each one

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May 15, 2019

Finesse Fishing Reel Off - Part 1

Below are my thoughts on the following three reels that are available at Finesse Fishing, I need to thank Chris for allowing me to test these out and do

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May 15, 2019

Finesse Fishing Reel Off - Part 2

The Shimano Aldebaran is a premium reel that has many nice features, plenty of upgrade options and is just as smooth as silk. The reel I tested has an

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May 15, 2019

Finesse Fishing Reel Off - Part 3

Finally I will touch on the Shimano Conquest BFS, this is the best of new school technology with old school looks and feel. The heaviest reel I have held

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Apr 28, 2019

Living the WooDream...

After rain and snow with a freak low front pushing through I stayed close to home and made a trip to the urban trout stream. I’ve been playing with tuning

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Apr 25, 2019

Lousy Day In Paradise

I know some of you are just now shaking off winters icy grip, and others dealing with run-off, but here in the southern Appalachian mountains,things couldn’t

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Apr 23, 2019

The Abu Garcia Amassadeur 2500c is Done!

The project is done! I finally have the 2500c working well as a finesse reel. Well, maybe done is too strong of a word. There are still goodies I can

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Apr 14, 2019

Baitcasters for Brookies

Baitcasters for Brookies? You can't be serious.

I'm serious! The Tenryu Rayz RZ53UL-BC baitcaster is rated for lures as light as 1 gram and line as light as 1 pound test. The Shimano Trout One NS B50UL is rated for 1 gram lures and 2 pound test line.

If those aren't little wild brookie numbers, I don't know what is.

Casting a one gram lure with a baitcaster was unthinkable before the advent of Bait Finesse System (BFS) reels. Even with the best BFS reels, aftermarket spools are necessary for the average angler to be able to cast 1 gram lures.

BFS BUM logo

I may be a BFS Bum, but I'm certainly no pro. I have a Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG, for which I bought the Avail 16ALD15R replacement spool. With that spool the Aldebaran BFS XG is said to cast lighter lures than any other baitcaster. I took it out yesterday for the first time since installing the Avail spool. It was indeed an eye-opener.

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Apr 14, 2019

Fishing the WooDream is a Dream!

It was a crazy day yesterday. Fishing is what I enjoy the most. Hunting is a close second. Geoff and I went up to set up our Bear spot, but the snow

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Apr 08, 2019

Remembering Why JDM equipment is so much fun.

It was a cold blustery weekend. However, it was a rare 3 day weekend for me with no on-call at the hospital. Building a finesse casting system has been

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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.