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Smith Edge Diamond Spoons Give you the "Edge"

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

I never thought I would be enthused about Spin fishing. I have come "to the Dark Side" from the TenkaraBum site. It is "Walter's" fault that I bought the Tenryu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL. There is a pocket on Wilson Creek near my house where a 15 to 18 inch trout seems to always set up an ambush.

I have named that fish "Walter" even though I doubt it is the same fish in that ambush all of the time. Twice I have hooked and lost "Walter" on one of my short but powerful fixed line rods. At 3 meters, the rod is too long for a proper fight in the brush and trees, thus the "need" for spinning gear. I have not seen a fish in that pocket for the last two months, so maybe it is more of a summer - fall spot.

Last week, I was fishing a place in the Wilson Springs area where the springs dump into the creek. This is fairly fast water, and ended up spoon fishing with the .4 gram Daiwa Vega spoons with my fixed line rig. I caught one very nice trout and broke off an even nicer one. However, I could see that I just wasn't able to get the spoons as deep as I need. I could also see many fish following the spoon.

This morning I went over with the Tenryu Rayz Spectra and geared up with a Smith Diamond Edge Silver 3 gram spoon. Using an underhanded two hand casting technique that I discovered this week through Chris, I was dropping the spoon just where I wanted to.

Because this is only a 25 yard long area of "fishable current", I practiced the philosophy, "Don't walk over any fishable area." I actually began fishing well below the area I was itching to get to. It was a smart move on my part. As I worked my way from the bank to the far bank (This is a narrow creek) upstream, I caught and landed seven 10 - 14 inch trout. What I love about the Smith Edge Spoons is how well they sink! I pulled 3 trout out of the near seam, and 4 more trout out of the far seam in the "honey spot." These fish ranged from 8 inches to 15 inches. Since right now they are planting 8-10 inch trout at Wilson, I was happy with several holdovers. I could only fish for an hour before work. I was pleased with a 14 fish in an hour this morning! I am sure 4 of those fish were hold-over fish because they were more than 12 inches.

Spinning can become addictive! The underhand two hand cast is fairly simple. You simply hold the line loosely in your off hand, do an underhand cast and when the lure is at the distance you want, stop the line between your fore finger and thumb. Maybe everyone else knows the technique, but it was new to me until this week.

I do think the high quality spoons on this site make a difference. Sorry for no pictures. When I pulled my camera out of the backpack, I had left it on and the battery was dead. This has happened several times, and I am going to put some tape on the camera switch because I think it is getting jostled on as I move about.

Comments for Smith Edge Diamond Spoons Give you the "Edge"

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Apr 13, 2018
Batteries / Casting technique
by: Chris Stewart

I would bet that you can get a spare battery for your camera so that you can always have a fully charged battery in reserve.

The casting technique may need a bit more explanation. In the standard spin fishing cast (assuming a right handed caster) you open the bail and hold the line in the first joint (or finger tip) of your right hand index finger. When it is time to let the line go, you straighten the finger and the line slides off.

The problem is that sometimes you hold it for a fraction of a second too long. The line doesn't release at the right time in the cast and the lure does not go where you wanted it to go.

Frank Nale, who catches more trout spin fishing than anyone, holds the line with the index finger of his left hand. The right hand only executes the casting stroke. The left hand only lets go at the right time. Frank has learned over the past 40 years that this method is the most accurate (for him) and when spin fishing in streams, accuracy is paramount.

The reason for the underhand flip cast is that the rod tip moves in a straight line, so the only variables are distance and trajectory. It should completely eliminate side to side errors. (This takes practice, but with sufficient practice it should be more accurate than sidearm and overhand casting, and much better for casting under overhanging branches.)

Apr 13, 2018
Thanks Chris - Two Questions
by: Les Albjerg

I bought a spare battery for the camera today after work. That problem is solved. Thanks for a clear explanation of the casting technique. It is easier to do than describe.

Question 1: Frank Nale says, color doesn't really matter. According to "The Master Angler - Using color technology to catch more fish." by Phil Rabideau says it does. The book is a promotion of Mepp's products. What do you think?

Question 2: As I was driving home, I thought using a bait casting rod and reel might be easier to do underhand, than even Frank's technique. What do you think?

Apr 14, 2018
Color / Casting
by: Chris Stewart

Given the meticulous records that Frank has kept for the last 40 years, I would certainly say that for him, color doesn't matter.

For the benefit of readers who have not read the "Listening to the Old Masters" post on the TenkaraBum blog, I recently attended a seminar on Spin Fishing for Wild Trout that Frank Nale presented. In it he said spinner color basically doesn't matter. He said there were times when he fished with is brother and the two of them used different colored spinners. He said their catch rates were essentially the same. Frank himself has used spinners of different colors without noticing any pattern suggesting one color is better than another with respect to lighting or water clarity. He settled on the one color pattern he uses most (gold blade, gold bead body with one large white bead) because it is easy for him to see in the water.

For people struggling with their casting accuracy, using a brightly colored lure allows you to see it in flight, which may help you avoid putting it in the bushes on the far bank.

With respect to executing the underhand flip cast itself, I think the biggest difference between a spinning rod and baitcaster may be the use of the thumb rather than the finger to release the line. That is easily mimicked with a spinning rod by opening the bail and trapping the loose line under your thumb on the top of the rod, lifting your thumb to releases the line.

Frank mentioned that one of the guys he has fished with did that. Frank thought it took more time to execute and did not contribute to accuracy. I have tried it and I found it easier to get the timing right than using my forefinger (of either hand), but I have to say that before venturing to the dark side I had not done many flip casts so I am still basically a beginner. What seems easier at first may not prove to be better in the long run.

If you do use a baitcaster, I think it would be a little easier with one of the 4 gram Daiwa Crusader spoons. Frank's spinners are 3.5 grams. I have found the 2.5 gram Crusader spoons to cast well with any of the BFS reels I have tried (although I have not yet tried flip casts with the 2.5g spoons and it is for the flip casts that I think the 4g spoons would be better.). I haven't had a chance to fish the Smith Daimond 3 gram spoons with a baitcaster.

Coming back to lure color and watching it in flight, it is much easier to stop a lure from going to far when using a baitcaster. "Thumbing" the spool is an art, but stopping the lure's flight instantly is very easy.

Apr 16, 2018
Spinning and threadline fishing
by: Greg Curtis

The discussion about spinner fishing on ultra light gear reminded me of another old master, Alexander Wanless. He had several books dating from the 1930's discussing "threadline fishing" now known as ultra light fishing with spinners and worms. He talks about landing sea run salmon and trout on 4lbs line, two being his line of choice. He also talks about the color question by saying that he has found that four are useful: silver, gold, blue over silver, and brown (copper) over gold, but that they are interchangeable on any given day. If you do a search for him along with threadline you should find his books listed in online used bookstores. Threadline ABC is available as a pdf download. The books are also readily available through libraries.

Apr 20, 2018
by: bill piatek

I find that for me and my home brew spinners color does matter sometimes. Gold, silver and copper with a dark red or fl. orange bead are my go to lures.

But also I've seen a story where small spoons are better than spinners in clear water and I would have to agree.


May 25, 2018
Underhand flip cast
by: Kelly Peterson

I’ve been reading about Frank Nale and his exploits for the past six months but only have had a couple chances to fish lately because of our very long and lasting winter.

Regarding his casting technique am having a difficult time understanding it. Mind you I haven’t seen his seminar (oh how I wish that was possible) nor any pictures. When fishing with bait I use a flip cast controlling the line with my left hand while holding it to the side on a ninety degree angle so line doesn’t come off the spool. Have tried this with spinners with very little success so it’s obvious something is not correct on my end.

How do you hold the line in left hand so that it flows thru yet be able to stop it if cast is too long?

Frankly have become frustrated on the last time that I thought of using my cheap under spin closed reel because the line is really easy to stop with those reels. But then they are crappy reels when it comes to retrieving line and fighting fish.

So what I need to see is a picture of how to hold the line at the start of the Frank Nale cast, anyone help? I know how to use the rod making a underhand flip cast while controlling line in normal fashion, but like Chris said, sometimes one can’t stay out of the brush from errant cast.

May 25, 2018
You let go.
by: Chris Stewart

Frank holds the line with the index finger of his non-casting hand when making the cast, but then lets go, just as you would let go if you were holding the line with the index finger of your casting hand. He feels that holding the line with the other hand allows greater accuracy - each hand has only one task.

Before starting the cast, he always positions the reel handle so it is pointing straight back (second nature after 40 years, but it takes some getting used to). That does two things: 1) it greatly reduces the chance that the line will catch on the reel handle when you let go, and 2) he knows without looking exactly where the handle is. He stops the cast by starting to reel - which snaps the bail closed and stops the line.

Stopping the cast by starting to reel is something most experienced spin fishermen say "don't do!" However, Frank does it for a couple valid reasons. It allows you to get your lure working as soon as it hits the water. That reduces the chances that it will get caught in the rocks on the bottom before you start your retrieve. It also allows an immediate hook set if a fish hits the lure as soon as it hits the water. I flip the bail manually, and I have missed strikes because I wasn't ready quickly enough.

I have read (Joe Robinson's Piscatorial Absurdities) that starting to reel in order to close the bail causes line twist. Perhaps, but fishing spinners causes much more line twist - with or without use of a swivel. Frank doesn't use swivels and combats line twist by respooling the first 50 yards or so after every two or three outings.

May 25, 2018
Underhand flip cast
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Thanks Chris-that is helping with a clearer picture. Yup, know all about the line catching on the reel handle. Couple of questions tho. 1. How much line is held with the left index finger, 6", 12" or more? 2. So both hands/arms are involved in the underhand flip cast? Or does it require a very limber tipped rod, aka Joe Robinson type?

Boy, just getting to be habit now to close the bail by left hand but am sure I can find the old habit of starting the reel since I did it that way for all but the last two of the past 60+ years. :)

May 25, 2018
One more question
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Again thanks Chris for your help with understanding Frank Nale's System.

How much line between rod tip and spinner when executing this Frank Nale underhand flip cast?

May 25, 2018
How much line?
by: Chris Stewart

Kelly, as I recall, he had about 12" between the rod and his other hand, and 6-12" from the rod tip to the spinner.

May 25, 2018
Holding the rod?
by: Kelly Peterson

I know Frank Nale’s custom 5 foot rod has a cork handle and uses the sliding ring to mount his spinning reel very close to the butt end. What I’m wondering about does he hold the rod in the same fashion as all others do with the fingers wrapped around the reel stem, two in front and two behind? Or does he hold the rod in front of the reel?

May 25, 2018
Same as everyone
by: Chris Stewart

He holds it the standard way. The reel is mounted very close to the rod butt so that he can hold the rod with the butt at the heel of his hand. That allows him to bend his wrist freely. His cast is very nearly all wrist. If the reel was positioned in the middle or towards the front of the grip, the butt of the grip would hit the forearm, preventing free wrist motion.

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