Venturing into Baitcasting!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

Up until now, I have resisted the temptation to get into fishing with an ultralight baitcasting set-up for stream fishing. One of the things holding me back is my history. My first rod was a bait caster. As a 6 year old, the memories of spending hours untangling the rat's nests after a poor cast leave a memory that is never forgotten. That old Pflueger reel and metal rod is what my first fish was caught with.

Fast forward to now! I have several of the very nice WooDream lures that Chris sells. They have not been fished as much as I like because I just can't cast as accurately as I would like with my spinning outfits. A couple of weeks ago, I took out the lightest weight casting outfit I inherited from my Dad, with 4 pound test line and realized that even with an outfit that was too heavy for such a light lure, I could really place the lure much more accurately as well as stop it on a dime with just my thumb. Thus the desire for a baitcaster was kindled.

With cabin fever, and enjoying YouTube, I was directed to a website that blew me away on several different levels. Since Chris doesn't want embedded URL's in our blog, I will tell you how to get there. Go to YouTube. Type in the Search Bar, "Enjoy Fishing Channel." Check out any of the videos, but I would encourage you to find the one with Calcutta Conquest BFS HG in the title. Yes, it is in Japanese, but the language of fishing is universal. By the way Chris sells the Calcutta Conquest BFS HG when he can get them! Watch the poetry in motion!

I then watched a couple of more of Angler Saito's videos, and he loves the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 2500c. I have two of them that I got from my Dad! Hey, I have a great reel for stream fishing and I didn't even know it. I also discovered that my Vintage Shimano Bantam 100 is prized for ultra-light bait casting. This reel was new in the box. My Dad never used it! So now I have to get a rod!

Angler Saito, the guy in the videos, got me really pumped. I was having a discussion with Chris, and really wanted a fiberglass rod, but they just aren't available for less than about $700.00. So my next thought was, "I will build one."

I have had the itch to build a rod again for about two years. To make a long story short, when I was in graduate school I built my first steelhead rod and two fly-rods. It was the only way I could afford a quality rod. I had a friend who owned a custom fly shop and made rods. He was overwhelmed with orders and I built about 50 custom fly-rods for him and it was very profitable for both of us! Over the years I have continued to dabble in rod building. I have not had to order stuff for a long time.

So, the long and the short of it is I ordered everything I needed to build a premium rod, and experienced sticker shock! Just the cost of the top of the line guides is over $55.00. Since I have all of the tools and miscellaneous items, I saved a lot. The bottom line is if my time is worth anything, the Tenyru Rayz RZ53UL-BC would have been less expensive! That isn't to say I am not excited about my build! What I am saying is the price of the Tenyru is very reasonable once you price out high quality components.

I am very excited about this build! I am going to get the grip I want. I will be able to use my favorite purple color for my guide wraps! I have several other unique accents that will make it truly a one of a kind rod!

Don't even ask! I am not going into the rod making business. I've been down that rabbit hole and don't care to enter it again! However, I will give updates along the way!

Comments for Venturing into Baitcasting!

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Feb 08, 2019
FBC question
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Hi Les or Chris,

Difference between LH or RH baitcasting reels is which hand you crank with I assume? That said, which is which? If the crank is on the right side is that a RH?

If so, then with a LH and the crank being on the left side which way does the handle go to wind up line? Same direction that a spinning reel goes?

Have watched some of this guys videos before-couple years ago and marvel at his ability. Is he using a fiberglass rod because of its flexibility to load the rod tip with light lures in order to underhand flip cast?

Thanks, Kelly

Feb 08, 2019
BFS
by: Craig

Just wait till you get into tweaking the Abu 2500 for BFS use, would love to tweak one but the cost of buying a new one old stock one then modifying makes it easier to just buy a reel all ready to go.

Feb 08, 2019
Response for Kelly
by: Craig

Yes, RH and LH refers to the side of the reel the handle is on. It is normal that many US reels are only in RH where most Japanese Reels seem to offer both RH and LH or only LH options.

They both reel forward like a spinning reel but unlike a spinning reel you cannot change the side you reel on by swapping handle sides.

Feb 08, 2019
Right and left hand reels
by: Chris Stewart

You reel a right hand baitcaster with the right hand and you reel a left hand baitcaster with the left hand. The reeling direction is exactly the same as with a spinning reel (push over the top and pull back underneath).

My guess, and truly it is only a guess, is that he is using a glass rod at least in part because the extreme rod bend he gets looks really cool when filmed in slow motion. There is no question that he recognizes and appreciates quality, but it is also evident that style and appearance are very important to him.

And you know, the deep bend when casting is exactly why I wish I had (and could offer) a quality glass rod!

Feb 08, 2019
reason for my question
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

is I'm real comfortable reeling a spinning reel with my left hand, casting with my right. So figure I would be able to adapt to the left hand reel because of the actions the same as spinning.

That said the bait casting reel/rod setup I have now I cast with right hand, then switch rod to left hand so I crank with right. I can see when fishing in fast moving water that the switching of the rod to different hand takes too much time and the lure sinks to the bottom before cranking.

Appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Oh, do these BFS reels have the thumb bar for releasing the line to cast or the push tab on top side of the reel like the Abu Garcia 2500C?

Agree he is all about style and appearance with everything he does including his clothes and other non fishing gear.

Feb 08, 2019
Parts are ordered !
by: Les Albjerg

Craig - I already have parts ordered to make the 2500c more friendly for ultra light casting! I also have the 3 pound JDM line I am going to use sitting on my fishing shelf! Lucky for me it already has the high speed gearing! That is when it gets real expensive. Since I am left handed and have always cast with my left hand, having a right hand retrieve is just what I wanted.

Feb 08, 2019
Don't switch hands!
by: Chris Stewart

If you want to cast with your right hand, by all means, get a left handed baitcasting reel. You want to be able to set the hook when fish hit the lure as soon as it hits the water - which does happen, and also as you say, to start the lure moving so that it doesn't fall to the bottom and get stuck in rocks.

As far as I know, all modern baitcasting reels have a thumb bar rather than the button on the side like the Abu Garcia 2500C.

Trom releasing the button to applying your thumb to the spool to stop a cast or slow it down, you almost don't have to move your thumb at all.

Feb 08, 2019
Thumb bar
by: Craig

I don’t remove my thumb from the bar/ spool when fishing, this keeps constant connection with the reel, spool and line. Easy to add extra pressure or release pressure on the spool as needed when casting.

Feb 08, 2019
Les pictures please...
by: Craig

Les, I hope you share some pictures when you are done with both your builds. I’ve found one series of rods that act similar to glass in both flex and give.

Feb 09, 2019
Custom bfs rod
by: Rivk

Hi I have built a lot of fly and spinning rods . I build 2 up bfs rods from fly blanks . Both 2 WT. One on a 3 pice 5'6" custom carbon blank and one on a high end American made custom fiberglass blank. I am not an expert caster , not even a very good one . I like the rods , but I don't think the tapper is right for a casting rod . Hope your rods worked well for you if you build one . Have fun building and fishing .

Feb 09, 2019
Finesse Fishing has the Rods!
by: Les Albjerg

I spent hours looking for the proper blank that met the perimeters of Finesse Bait Casting fishing. There just aren't that many blanks available out there! I built two very nice ultra light casters about 30 years ago on 5 foot 2 inch Lamiglas S-glass blanks. My kids caught lots of fish with those rods. I often took one out fishing as they were wonderful rods even with the closed face reels I had lots of fun with those rods and so did my children. We actually wore them out! I wish I had bought a few more of those blanks. I did build a couple of spinning rods on fly blanks. Rivk, I built mine on a 3 weight blank. I have a 3 weight blank, and thought about using it. I think I have found a good blank, only time will tell! As I said, I am excited about doing a build, but the rods available (at least most of the time) on this website are well worth the price considering the quality of the build.

I really have my eye on the Daiwa Wise Stream 45ULB-3 as my next bait caster if I really enjoy this type of fishing over spinning. I love spinning with the spoons, but not so much with the plugs. Chris is offering a wide selection of rods at a nice spread of price points!

Another thing that has amazed me is the size of the fish that Angler Saito catches with his plugs. I am amazed at both ends of the spectrum! He catches some very large fish and also fish that are not much bigger than the plug he is fishing!

Craig, I will be taking pictures. I'm doing the before pictures on the reel today.

Feb 11, 2019
Good to know I'm not the only one
by: Greg D

Say yes to BFS! I've always preferred baitcasters over spin gear for many reasons. I was fishing ultralight BC for bass long before I ever heard of BFS. So as soon as I heard BFS for trout I was hooked. I bought the Tenyru Rayz 5'3" from Chris about a year ago. It's a sweet rod. I'm also into rod building, So my goal became can I build a BFS rod that can compare to the Tenyru.

It's been a tough challenge and I've learned alot. Currently I'm on build number 5 with a number 6 in planning stage. What I'm learning is you can pretty easy match the performance as long as you stick to a one piece rod blank. My first build is on a MHX 5' ultralight spin blank. It turned out very good. 2nd build I used a MHX 6' 3 pc travel blank that I cut the butt to create a 5' rod. Good but a little stiff. It will make a nice river bass stick. Next I built a fiberglass rod from a Janns Netcraft 5' blank which by the way is a Rainshadow. While it certainly loads deeper with more flex it's my least favorite. Sorry, glass is just too slow for me. Build #4 is a St. Croix SCIII Avid 5'6" 2pc spin blank. Not a Tenyru but for a multi piece this has been my favorite thus far. Build #5 is an American Tackle Matrix 5'6" 2pc and currently in the works being followed up by build #6 being also being an American Tackle, 5'3" 1pc Bushido rod blank. I think it will prove that the smoothest action comes form a one piece.

I believe this is where the Tenyru has a big advantage with the spigoted ferrules system. It's clear to see the flat spot in integrated ferrules.

One day I'll get all the rods together for a picture and make a post. On the note of reels I prefer modern low profile Shimanos. I started with an old Core 50 I've had for years and eventually moved into an Alderbaran BFS and a Scorpion BFS. Not sure which one I like better. It's a toss up.

Line could be the toughest challenge. Regardless of pound rating I've settled on 0.007". I find this size to be a good compromise betweeen stealth and manageability. Varivas Dead or Alive or Sunline Troutist Darkness hasve been very good. A good backyard practice line is good old Stren Crappie in 4lb. The gold color really let's you sight your cast but I don't like to fish with this line because of that. I'm happy to share more details of these builds to any that are interested. It's good to know I'm not alone. Tight lines, Greg

Feb 11, 2019
Shortest baitcasting rod
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Anyone know of a shorter baitcasting rod than the Diawa Wise Stream 45ulb?

Like does Tenyru make the Rayz 39ul in a bait casting model? That would be an ideal one for me in following these thin blue lines here that are alder choked both bankside and overhead.

Or can one take a spinning rod and make it into a baitcaster with some sort of add on finger grip?

Feb 11, 2019
Shorter Rod
by: Craig

Smith makes a 4’3" in there BST (Be Sticky Trout) series, I have both the 4’3" and the 4’7" in the series.

Feb 11, 2019
Thanks Greg
by: Les Albjerg

Love the dialogue going on. I would love to see some pictures of you rods. Kelly, Chis is going to have to answer that question.

I'm seriously thinking about making my own lures. The WooDreams are really nice, and I have caught two nice fish on one model so far, but at the price point it bring on a little bit of a pucker when the fish heads into the riffles. A fifteen inch trout isn't that big! The Nabe Minnows retail for $34.00 in Japan, so the WooDreams are reasonably priced. I don't see Chris getting rich off of them! Again, I am a lucky guy with a fairly well stocked shop.

Feb 11, 2019
Shorter Baitcasters
by: Chris Stewart

Tenryu does not make a baitcaster shorter than 5'3". The shortest one I know of is a Smith Be Sticky 4'3" model. A friend has one and likes it. I plan on ordering a few for the shop, but be advised that they are much more expensive than the Tenryu rods. The Daiwa 45ULB-3 is only 2 inches longer and more than $200 cheaper, but it isn't as nice as the Smith rods.

I have frequently put a baitcasting reel on the Tenryu Rayz Integral RZI50UL-4 rod - just because the 4-piece rod is so convenient to carry if you want to have more than one rod with you.

I have also fished the Tenryu Rayz RZ39LL with a baitcasting reel. The grip behind the reel seat is just a bit shorter than you would like, but the rod never slipped out of my grip. I have been laid up following knee surgery, but next time I can get out I plan on trying it again with a small loop of parachute cord around the front of the reel foot that would be just large enough to hold with my finger under the grip just the way I do with the trigger on a baitcasting rod.

A purist would be horrified that the guide spacing would be all wrong for a baitcaster, but I've caught both trout and bass into the mid teens with baitcasting reels on Tenryu spinning rods and there was never any problem. I have asked Tenryu to make a 4-piece baitcaster. They haven't said no but they haven't said yes, either.

Feb 11, 2019
Build idea
by: Greg D

Chris, Sorry to hear about your knee. I wish you total healing. I got a laugh when you said "purist" and "baitcaster" in same sentence, lol. Watch that talk if around the fly community.
For you rod builders out there I think a worthy try would be the shortest st.croix scII. It's 4'6" 1pc and would be the blank to a premier spin rod. It's a moderate action and if you wanted to you could cut the butt back a few inches to make it even shorter without much if any effect. Like I commented earlier I believe to achieve action similar to the precision jdm rods in an american rod blank it's going to have to be 1pc blank. Japan has mastered multi piece rods for sure.
Les, I will get a post together with pictures after I get through these two builds. Thanks for your interest.
Greg

Feb 11, 2019
Purists
by: Chris Stewart

Greg, actually, some time ago I had mentioned it to a guy I know who said he could never do it because the guides aren't "right." The stripper guide on the Tenryu spinning rods is low enough that it actually works quite well. I do miss the trigger, though.

Feb 13, 2019
Baitcasting handle ?
by: Kelly Peterson

Have a really good custom rod maker 15 miles from me. He’s made me many from "Nightcrawler Secrets" 8 foot to 4.5 foot ultralight spinning rods for me. I really like them-they compare favorably with the JDM rods I bought from Chris so was thinking about him making a BFS baitcasting shorty for me use on one of my favorite brook trout thin blue lines.

This is where I use the Tenryu Rayz 39 l rod because of the alder choked overhead and backside cover. So today after removing the 14" of snow we got yesterday, think I’ll head north to Elk River Customs Rods and discuss the workings of a 4 foot or shorter BFS baitcasting rod.

My main question for you all more experienced users which handle do you prefer, the straight all cork or the slightly curved, sort of finger gripped plastic one? The majority of casts I will have to make with this rod will be underhand flip or side arm. In watching Angler Saito videos he uses these type cast most of the time even tho he doesn’t have overhead cover.

Does one handle type work better than the other?

Mind you all of my custom rods I’ve had made lately have the shortest handles possible. I hate all that handle behind the reel that is just wasted length-really it’s the distance from reel to tip that counts anyway, the rest just gets in the way as far as i’m concerned! I’ve even cut a section of the longer cork handles away, inserted a dowel plug and reglued the butt end piece back on. This makes for a shorter rod, albeit a few inches but in case of my old Cabelas five foot ultralight spinning rod it now is four foot six.

This type of fishing, ie baitcasting is so new to me and we are still deep in Winter for another two months at least you guys and videos on the net are the things keeping me sane right now.

Feb 13, 2019
Custom means "My Way"
by: Les Albjerg

In my opinion, Kelly the handle should be what you like. Since I come from a shooting background, I love a good pistol grip. That is what is going on my new rod.

In the 1980's and 90's there seemed to be a lot more blanks available. Those small blank companies have either died off or have been bought out by bigger companies. G. Loomis is now owned by Shimano.

I'm exploring the nuances of the Tenryu Lunakia LK610S-MLT spinning rod. This is a rod designed for Salt Water fish that run from 8-14 inches. However, I have been seeing bigger fish caught by the Ajing fisherman on YouTube. I mention this rod, because it seems as if rod design and exploration is alive and well in Japan. I watch Shimano TV just for the great cinematography and fishing action. My word!, how many rods do they make?

The blank I am doing my build on is the Phenix Mirage Ultra Light 5' 2pc 1-5# B.276 T3.5. Phenix is a small rod company out of California.

Chris has brought us some of the best cutting edge products, but they come at a price. Check out my article on "The Mighty Mite." My friend Jose's outfit cost less than the JDM line on my Shimano Cardiff reel! For most American fisherman, cheaper is always better. Maybe because it costs a lot to fish in Japan they are more concerned about having great equipment to increase their odds of catching fish. I read about one popular stream in Japan where you pay $40.00 to fish for a half a day or 10 catch and releases, and you are done whether you like it or not! We are spoiled. I like being spoiled.

So we get these great sensitive highly precise fishing instruments through Chris that allows us to not only enjoy fishing more, but also catch a lot more fish! The only downside, it costs more. However my in-state fishing license and out-of-state Oregon license allows me to fish without spending much money! In Japan both are expensive!


Feb 20, 2019
Enjoy Fishing Channel
by: James

Les, that channel was the first one I saw that got me into finesse baitcasting. The casting accuracy with those ambassadors is insane. Glad to hear another angler finding these wonderful resources, just be sure to get a shallow spool for it.

Feb 23, 2019
Rod Blank and Parts Due Monday
by: Les Albjerg

My rod blank and stuff are suppose to be here Monday. I just ordered another $150 in parts for the 2500c from Japan. I'm getting an Avail microcast spool, and a magnetic brake system that will compliment the original brake system. The original spool weighs 17.7 grams. The new one is only 5.7 grams. H'm, those new reels if you can get them from Chris are looking better all the time!

Feb 24, 2019
New parts
by: Craig

Can’t wait to see what you do with your 2500c, though I’d love a 2500 I really like my left hand reels for usage switching hands feels off. Someday I may watch for an elusive 2501 which is the left hand version. I do love how the newer BFS low profiles fit snug in my hand.

Feb 24, 2019
Shallow spools
by: Kelly Peterson

So Chris is handling lightweight, shallow spools now?

Feb 24, 2019
Shallow Spools?
by: Chris Stewart

No. However, an Aldebaran BFS XG with the factory spool will cast better than an Abu 2500C with the factory spool. With the respective Avail spools, the Aldebaran will cast lighter weight lures than the Abu. The Abu 2500C has more style.

I think what Les might have meant is the modern reels are looking better from a practical and economic standpoint.

Feb 24, 2019
More details on the Reel
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - I thought I made it clear that I ordered my shallow spool from Japan. I am amazed at how serious the Japanese are about their fishing! I am also grateful for Chris working on bringing JDM products to us. In my research, I have discovered that you can buy upgrade parts for almost every reel out there! It gets expensive fast! I now have well over $200.00 in parts with this upgrade, and there is only one other thing I have not bought, and that is an ultra light level winder. It already has the high-speed gears, and from my research it may have the ultra-light winder as well. I also took the wise route, and sent the reel to an Abu Garcia expert for a total cleaning and replacement of worn out parts. So my free reel is going to be more expensive than several of the modern JDM reels that Chris offers. In all of my research, the Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS HG is the pinnacle of Finesse baitcasting reels. The Shimano Scorpion BFS XG is just a little behind, and a lot less money. Also in my part hunting adventures, I discovered that you can trick out any reel. Several finesse fisherman have well over $1,000 dollars invested in their reels! One of the exciting things about my build is getting a brake system that blends both magnetic and centrifugal brakes. I also get a light shallow (2mm) spool.

Craig - I have never understood why people here use right handed reels if you are right handed. I am left handed. Cast with your right hand, switch to your left to reel? It doesn't make sense to me.

Since the 2500c that I have has sentimental value, I am still very happy with the build I am doing. I haven't spent extra on cosmetics. There will be something special fishing with my Dad's reel! However, if I had to do it all over again, I would have bought a Shimano Scorpion BFS XG and a Tenyru RZ53UL-BC, and taken my time on the upgrading of the 2500c. That said, I wouldn't be at the above conclusion without the research that I have had to do to upgrade the reel. I have also learned that the Japanese are relentless in their pursuit of finesse fishing.

From what I have seen, Chris continues to wade through all the plethora of JDM tackle, and is bring us the best that can be had at a reasonable price. There are several rods that I discovered in my research that are north of $700.00. I'm not sure the bang is worth the buck!

Feb 24, 2019
Don't forget the Aldebaran
by: Chris Stewart

I would put the Aldebaran BFS XG above the Scorpion, and I am pretty sure some BFS afficionados would put it above the Calcutta Conquest.

Feb 24, 2019
My Bad
by: Kelly Peterson

My bad Les and Chris, should have read more closely.

Speaking of spools I heard that there is an even lighter weight Avail spool than the one that comes with the Aldebaran bfs hg? Or maybe I misread or misheard that too. Could have been an older Aldebaran reel, too.

Anyway my question is the weight of the spool, or in finesse fishing case, the lesser the spool weight the farther one can cast?

We just got dumped on with another foot of snow! Going to be awhile before I can even try a BFS rod/reel, urgh! 🤪

Feb 24, 2019
Spool weights
by: Craig

Yes the lighter the spool the easier it can rotate which will allow you to cast lighter weights. One thing to consider once you get lighter is the rod can help load and cast as well.

Feb 24, 2019
Avail Spool for Aldebaran BFS XG
by: Chris Stewart

Kelly, the stock spool for the Aldebaran BFS XG weighs 7.2 grams. The Avail 16ALD15R spool weighs 4.9 grams. The lighter the spool weight, the less force (from the cast) is required to overcome inertia and get it spinning, leaving more force to actually propel the lure. With very light lures, there isn't much force to begin with. (Force = mass x acceleration. Less mass (lighter lure) = less force.

The spool weight and depth are the biggest differences between BFS reels and regular baitcasters. Spool depth is important because it takes a lot of line (which adds to the mass of the loaded spool)to fill a deep spool and not much line to fill a shallow spool.

Feb 24, 2019
Bucks add up fast!
by: Les Albjerg

So, the Avail spool Chris is talking about is $108.00 for the Aldebaran. You also will need a magnet kit for an additional $8.64 plus $10.00 shipping from the supplier that I found. So your looking at $126.64 to lighten a $425.00 reel. I would personally go with the Micro Cast that is designed to cast down to 1 gram. It is a bit heavier, but a larger diameter and only 1.8mm deep. There are cautions however on how well it can handle larger fish, and lures. It cost $142.46. Like I said, the upgrade list goes on and on for these reels in Japan!

I don't want to get caught in upgrade fever! Lets not lose sight of the goal, a well balanced enjoyable fishing package!

There isn't a reel Chris sells that I wouldn't be happy with as long as I can get a right hander. And Yes, several reviews rated the Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG the best.



Feb 26, 2019
Reconditioning of Reel is done!
by: Les Albjerg

I just paid for the total professional cleaning and inspection of the Abu 2500c. It needed new bearings, pawl, and carbon drag washing kit. I also have a new handle from them. All my other parts are coming from Japan. Because of the snow, FedEx said my deliver of the rod and goodies has been delayed. I'm starting to get excited! Now I just need to learn how to cast like Angler Saito!

Feb 26, 2019
Got to stay off the Japanese parts sites!
by: Les Albjerg

I just dropped more money just to go from 7 grams to 5.8 on my spool for the Abu 2500c. Going on the Japanese part sites for me is like an alcoholic going into a liquor store! My justification is it is nice to have two different weight lines spooled up and ready to go!

Speaking of spools, I ordered an extra spool from Chris for my Cardiff spinning reel. In all my searching, he saved me $5.00 over what I would have had to pay from Japan. So if you think you can do better shopping directly, I doubt it.

Feb 26, 2019
Les
by: Craig Thoreson

You got the BFS bug... lol I just settled on a couple of reels that fit my hand wonderfully. Now to play with braid and nylon to see if I get better hook ups one way or the other.

Feb 26, 2019
BFS line usuage
by: Kelly

Ok why do so many use mono and not braid in their BFS reels?

When it comes to spinning reels and very lightweight Lures like 1/64 oz to 1/100 oz there is no doubt in my mind which line I need to use to cast these very lightweight Lures, braid! That said the braids I use are .0025 to .004 diameter.

The lightest/smallest diameter mono I have is .004.

With BFS does the actual mass weight of the line aid in casting?

Feb 28, 2019
Braid vs Nylon
by: Chris Stewart

I can only speak for myself, but I generally use nylon because I want to have a hi-vis line to watch the lure's flight, but I want a clear tippet to minimize the chance of scaring the fish. I find it easy to tie nylon to nylon and very difficult to tie braid to nylon when dealing with line that thin.

Also, top quality .004" nylon is about $18 per spool and top quality .004" braid is $54 per spool. I have never used cheap braid, but from what I have read it is not very abrasion resistant. When fishing streams your line is constantly running over rocks.

It may be that most Japanese mountain stream lure fishermen actually do use braid, but it is very hard to tell from the videos whether their line is nylon or braid.

The mass of the line is a detriment to casting distance! By far, most of the mass of the line is on the spool, the the heavier the spool (plus the line wrapped around it) the shorter the cast.

Feb 28, 2019
How to cheat
by: Les Albjerg

On several of the BFS ultra-light casting videos I have watched the "expert" has said to figure out the least amount of line you can live with on your spool, and use that amount of line to cut down on the weight. On one of the videos he used 40 yards of line, and compared to a full spool, he saved almost 8 total grams! That is pretty impressive since he was starting with about a 7 gram ultra-light spool. So the question becomes, how little line can you live with on your reel?

Feb 28, 2019
50 yards
by: Chris Stewart

I use 50 yards of line. The Shimano reels I carry list the capacity at 49 yards of 8 lb nylon, so I use about 50 yards of 3 or 4 lb mono. I have never made a 50 yard cast. I have never had a fish take much line, so I have never even gotten close to the end of my line.

Feb 28, 2019
DUH!
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Well of course the spool has to spin as freely as possible in the casting process. DUH, should have thought of that but then haven't used a baitcasting reel much at all.

Ok, nylon/mono it is. Now do you put on a leader of fluorocarbon for invisibility then?

Is .004 the smallest diameter mono line, Chris?

Do you use visible line as mainline? I see on Angler Saito's Enjoy Fishing Channel that he frequently has that pink line spooled on his Shimano Calcutta Conquest reel.

Feb 28, 2019
Leader
by: Chris Stewart

I use 4-5' of nylon for the clear tippet (regular 5X Varivas nylon tippet).

You COULD use nylon that is thinner than .004" but I wouldn't because it would be less than 2 lb test. Perhaps if I was using Vega spoons in a lake I might, but not in a river. The 3 lb Sunline Troutist Wild I use is .006", as is the 4 lb Varivas Bait Finess Nylon.

On the other hand, Craig T uses braid (either pink or yellow), ties it directly to his spoons, and still catches fish, so a clear tippet may not be necessary when the fish's attention is centered on the flashing lure.

I've seen videos of Angler Saito with pink line and also with green line. I suspect he uses braid.

Feb 28, 2019
It is coming together.
by: Les Albjerg

The wife called and my package with the rod kit I put together is in the house! The reel is on the way back from Texas, and all the parts from Japan are on their way to! It is happening!

This thread is getting long! When everything arrives, I'll start a new thread with pictures.

Mar 01, 2019
Rod Arrived
by: Les Albjerg

I should say, all the components arrived. I am very pleased with the cork handle and fore handle. The guides are top notch.

I am very pleased with the action of the Phenix blank. However, it is more like a one piece rod than a true two piece. The split is at about 1/4:3/4. So for traveling it isn't going to breakdown even. I've got some measuring and thinking to do. I do believe all of the guides are going to end up on the top section. I may end up shortening the rod. We will see once the reel gets back, and I begin laying everything out. I am very happy with the reel seat that I bought too.

On the blank, fit is really good, finish is acceptable. It isn't near as nice as a Tenyru or Lamiglas for that matter.
As far as a pack in rod, I don't see much advantage over a 1 piece 5 foot rod. At this point it is "in for a penny, in for a pound."

No regrets yet, but a Tenyru Rayz RZ53UL-BC is looking like it may be in my future too!

Mar 02, 2019
Reel is Back from Texas
by: Les Albjerg

Wow, is the Abu 2500c running smooth now! I love the single handle that I had put on. I'm still waiting on the parts from Japan. I did some preliminary layout work on the rod. The actual length of my rod blank is 4 feet 11 inches. I may be cutting 3-4 inches off the handle piece. I was looking at several JDM rods that have a handle that detaches, and I am seriously thinking about imitating them. The Fuji eyes will match most JDM rods. Now to get some of the other projects done so I can get to the build!

Mar 08, 2019
Installing line
by: Kelly Peterson

Ok, so is there any special way to install line on BFS reel?

At least with baitcasting one doesn’t need to worry about the reel causing line twist.

Mar 08, 2019
Installing line
by: Craig

Typically you want the line on the spool to come off the top and onto the reel all inline. Kind of hard to describe d you have a line spooler you mount to a table to use?

Mar 08, 2019
Putting line on a baitcaster
by: Chris Stewart

The only thing that is critical is to have the spool facing perpendicular to the direction you are pulling the line, and to pull the line from the top of the spool rather than from the bottom. For example, stick a pencil through the hole in the middle of the spool, put the pencil behind your knees as you are sitting down, and make sure the line comes off the top of the spool.

The easiest way to get it around the reel spool, assuming you have a BFS spool with holes in it, is stick the line through the hole in the level wind and then into one of the holes in the spool. Turn the reel handle until the hole you stuck the line into is again on top of the spool. Then pull the line back out of the hole you stuck it in and tie it around the line coming from the level wind.

The line should now be going around the reel spool, not through it. Tighten the knot down on the spool as much as you can and then start reeling with no tension on the line until it wraps over itself a few times to hold it down (or you could cheat and use a small piece of tape to keep it from slipping).

Mar 08, 2019
Yup
by: Kelly Peterson

Thanks Craig, that’s what I figured and I do have an homemade in line spooler that I can apply tension to.

Apr 16, 2019
Appreciate your comments and your “journey”
by: Charles Adams

Interesting to read your comments and your "journey" into another facet of what really is ultralight fishing.

BFS, as I understood it was actually on the upper end of UL fishing, as BFS was supposed to be for bass fishing. It’s also not really all that old, compared to the type of UL baitcasting done by those Japanese Stream Trout anglers.

A bit about me, as they used to say bono fixes; back when I was a preteen I found a narrow spool Pfluger Supreme, a relatively rare US based baitcaster, that along with some of the Largley baitcasters would readily cast down to 1/4 and in a pinch 1/8 oz lures, with the quite crude lines of day, to 6 lb. line.
For much of the latter half of the 1960’s I was a nut for fishing, but mostly UL spinning. In 1975, I walked into a tackle shop and saw, in person, an Ambassadeur 2500C reel. This was really different from my Ambassadeur 5000C reels.

The next year, the Ambassadeur 1500C was introduced.
The basic difference between the two is the 1500 is the narrow spool version of the series.

For the next 25 years, I accumulated a passel of those reels, finally settling in the late 2000’s on basically six reels, three of each model. And yes while I do also have the Morrum models, IMO the 1500/2500 reels are the best series of UL baitcasters. The blog goes through most of the upgrades to the reels, but I didn’t see one that I think improves the feel of the reel, if not the fishability, it’s Simon Shimimura’s "Smooth Operator" Clutch.

Now to today’s, BFS reels that encompass most everything other than big fish species and surf fishing UL baitcasting truly are great. The only one I don’t have is the Shimano Calcutta 50 BFS reel, however I still have a couple regular Calcutta 50 reels, which in my opinion aren’t really BFS reels.

As to rods, I’ve been looking high and low over the past 40 years for acceptable rods, to the point that I’ve built at least a dozen over the years. I tried and built, cane/bamboo, six and five strip, fiberglass, composite and graphite rods. I believe today’s graphite rods perform the best across the board.

Thanks for letting me add to the conversation.

BTW, Chris is a wealth of info, and have learned quite a bit from reading his posts on this and FBook.

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Warning:

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