Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Non-Trout pursuits

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Alex Argyros
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Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Alex Argyros » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:11 am

I had a chance to fish a beautiful and productive Hill Country stream using Joe Robinson's ultralight system (the modified TFO 2wt. and a Daiwa 500c reel using 6x Stroft mono) and here are my impressions:

A. Positive

The system is indeed extremely delicate. Casting a small fly with 6x line makes far less of a disturbance than any fly rod presentation of which I'm capable. And since there's no false casting involved, this system would be perfect for situations where even a few false casts can put down all the fish.

Because the line offers such little resistance, the fly sinks very quickly. It is no accident that Joe prefers waters like Lady Bird Lake and the San Marcos, waters where you have to fish deep to have much success. The Robinson ultralight system is far less clunky and far more efficient at negotiating still or slow moving deep water than full sinking line on a fly rod, at least in my hands.


B. Negative

I'm still learning to cast Joe's system, but as of now, my accuracy leaves something to be desired. In small stream situations, I'm not able to make the same kind of repeated pinpoint casts that I can with a fly rod. I might add that the flip cast and snap casts are things of beauty and a lot more difficult than I had imagined.

And most importantly for me, strike detection is not nearly as easy as with a fly rod. I like to fish visually, using some kind of strike detector (the end of my floating line, for example) when fishing bottom water. This is very difficult (although not impossible: Joe has a strike indicator setup, but it's mainly useful for dead drift nymphing for trout) using micro spinning gear. The result was that many of the fish I caught hooked themselves, and many others had clearly taken and spit out my fly before I could strike. (I should add that I was retrieving very slowly, because that's what the fish seemed to want. If I were retrieving quickly, things might have been different.) This situation is very different from using full sinking lines. I don't fish that kind of tackle much any more, but, as Ron, who's as good a sinking line fisherman as there is, will tell you, a full sinking line is a very sensitive tool, telegraphing strikes more efficiently than 6x mono.

Once hooked, even average size fish are difficult to keep away from rocks or brush on 6x line. I didn't catch any large fish, but I fear that I couldn't have landed them on such tackle.

Finally, there's a kind of disconnect between me and the fish when using a spinning reel. It's as if there's a machine acting as intermediary, something that doesn't happen when fly fishing.

The bottom line: I will use Joe's system when fishing slow and deep water, but I will continue to fly fish for stream bass. The one exception is crystalline waters (the Sabinal comes to mind) where one false cast sends most of the fish scurrying for cover. On such water, Joe's system would have a decided edge.

erhd55
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by erhd55 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:21 am

Alex,

Thanks for the review.

A few of my fishing buddies have started fishing using Joe's UL spinning system. Like you noted, it looks like Joe's system has its place especially in clear and skinny water.

Edward

stiles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by stiles » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:28 pm

Joe has been experimenting with different strike indicator set ups and has made some improvements on whats in the book. He has been using a slip float with out any sort of stopper, just letting he float ride up and down the line on the water's surface, and reports that the ability to detects strikes is much improved. He is also designing a slip-float type strike detector that is much more versatile that the current setup he describes in the book. He is a tireless innovator.

That said, his system will never be as accurate to cast or be as sensitive to strikes as fly fishing. Its just part of the trade off. Neither system is works well in all situations.



~~~ ><Ǽ>

cresswellcharles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by cresswellcharles » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:28 am

I'm compelled to respond about Joe's system. I've used his ultralight set-up since spring. I've been fortunate enough to be at Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa since June 11th. I brought all my stuff this year. This is a family owned cottage (Ann's) and I elect not to use the boat. Every morning I fish off the dock for an hour or so. Tried various fly rod set ups including sinking line, regular spinning gear, even live bait with slip bobbers.
One of Ann's relatives is a hard core Montana fly guy. I would be too except I can't deal with rarely catching fish. Here everyone wants Walleye, fun and most delicious. I am using exclusively as a set up a 1/32 oz jig with a four inch purple plastic wiggly worm threaded on the shank. White bass, yellow bass, Walleye, Large and Smallmouth bass an well as a few large panfish. All get hooked and often landed using the ultralight.
Joe's system has become the talk of the fishing commmunity because of its success. A few pics
Cress
Image
Image
Image

Alex Argyros
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Alex Argyros » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:06 pm

Cress,

Great story and pictures. And I think that you've found the use that Joe's system is best suited for: fishing small stuff deep.

stiles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by stiles » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:31 pm

cresswellcharles - I think Joe would be proud! Its fun to hear that his system it all the rage because of your success. Very nice!
Last edited by stiles on Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Jimbo Roberts
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Jimbo Roberts » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:50 am

Charles success using Joe's Ultra-light spinning system this way is not unheard of, especially fishing vertically as he is from the dock. Many professional Bass Anglers have been using ultra-light to light spinning tackle with 4-8lb line, finesse worm and grubs, circle or octopus hooks, and drop shots with great success. It's called drop shotting and is a vertical presentation where the weight is below the hook, at the terminal end of the line. It is very effective fishing clear water for stubborn Bass.
Now that being said, Joe's system was really designed for fishing vertically in moving water and with much lighter lines than the Pro-Bass Anglers. It is effective. I still am not very accurate with Joe's casting techniques, but using tradition casting strokes I can hit my targets.
Jimbo

cresswellcharles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by cresswellcharles » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:27 pm

Just to make it clear that I'm not jigging. I'm casting then retrieving at a pace that keeps the flure just above the weed beds, most of the time. The jig hook sits up when retrieved and supplies its own weight. I think the rig 's success in part is there are no swivels, weights, etc.
Cress

stiles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by stiles » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:00 pm

Jimbo Roberts wrote: Now that being said, Joe's system was really designed for fishing vertically in moving water
Jimbo
I don't think that is accurate. Joe fishes lakes with this system all the time.



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bassackwards
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by bassackwards » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:42 pm

Cress, those are some very impressive fish--especially for ultralight spinning tackle. When are you coming back to TX?

I usually catch more fish with a fly rod than with UL spinning tackle. Maybe it's my lack of spinning technique. Maybe it has something to do with the shallow water that I typically fish. The splash of the lure tends to spook fish.

Jimbo Roberts
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Jimbo Roberts » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:33 pm

stiles wrote:
Jimbo Roberts wrote: Now that being said, Joe's system was really designed for fishing vertically in moving water
Jimbo
I don't think that is accurate. Joe fishes lakes with this system all the time.
Joe now fishes this system everywhere, that is true. But this is just not an ultralight spinning system but a combo system that can be used as an ultralight spinning rod or a 3wt. flyrod as he carrys a small flyreel to do dryfly fishing as it presents itself.
But let's talk about it's origins. This system was fishing ultralight spinning tackle was shown to him by David Whitlock back in 1988 which really does not sound that long ago to me. The idea of using ultralight spinning gear rests with some of the great names of fishing. From his own book Joe credits: Charles Ritz, Lefty Kreh, Joe Brooks, Leon Chandler, Joesph Bates, A J McClane, Lee & Joan Wulff, Tom McNally, Ted Trueblood, Datus Proper, Paul Young, Nat Uslan, Dave Whitlock, Harold Blaisdell, Chico Fernandez, Ray Ovington, Ray Bergman, and Jim Payne and many more unnamed, of who I will include Ted Williams and Jerry McKinnis among the most notable absent. All these fishermen used many if not all methods to fish. Some of these names you will recognize as famous Bamboo rodmakers, others as modern rod designers, and others classic authors.
Dave Whitlock introduced this system to Joe while fishing for Smallmouth on the Androscoggin river. Joe and Dave were flyfishing with sinking lines and not catching a thing. The river was deep and fast. Dave pulled out this ultralight spinning outfit and Joe could not believe what he was seeing, Dave Whitlock putting down a flyrod to fish a tiny little spinning rod. "What an abomination" he thought. But after Dave caught 3 Smallies and 3 casts and he asked Joe if he would like to try it, how could he refuse? Joe tried it and caught fish immediately in the same water that he had caught none with his flyrod. Joe will tell you the big advantage of this system was the ability to get small lures and flys down deep quick even in fast water. Much faster and better than flyrods with the best sinking flylines they were using. He will also tell you another big advantage to the ultralight spinning system is the ability to cast in tight quarters, especially with the snap, or flip cast, there's no need for any room for a overhead or backcast.

Now this was first used as a last resort for deep rivers where flyfishing was unproductive. Back then they still preferred to flyfish where they could successfully. Since that epiphany Joe has used this system more and more and refined it further. He has experimented using this system on different waters and with different techniques. This includes lakes as well as rivers. So today this usually his first choice. Now Joe will still put on his Flyreel and floating lines when a hatch starts. Joe will also tell you that it is much easier on his wrists and tennis elbow than a flyrod and flylines especially sinking lines.

This is all taken from Joe's Book which goes into great detail about where this all started for him and where it has progressed today.
Joe still flyfishes, but he spin fishes much more.

Jimbo
Last edited by Jimbo Roberts on Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:28 am, edited 10 times in total.

stiles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by stiles » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:07 pm

Yes. I've read several drafts of the book including the current one. (He is working on a new addition). Joe is my neighbor and we've spent hours and hours discussing this technique.



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Alex Argyros
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Alex Argyros » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:57 am

I went fishing on a local Hill Country stream last week with my Joe Robinson radical ultralight system and have, as a result, modified my earlier observations.

This stream is crystal clear and low. It's characterized by long pools and short riffles. All of the fish I saw and caught were in the pools, where the water flowed slowly with no surface disturbance.

Although I didn't have my fly rod with me, I couldn't imagine catching any bass with even the lightest fly line. In situations such as this, even false casting usually sends the fish scurrying for cover, not to mention the splash of the fly line on the water. The micro spinning outfit, on the other hand, worked very well indeed. I was using 6x line and a small plastic worm with just a tiny tungsten bead for weight. This combination made practically no splash on the water, and I could sight cast to cruising bass without scaring them off. Of course, most of them saw through my deception anyway and just swam off with a mocking sneer, but at least I got them to examine my lure.

All in all, I had a ball with my spinning outfit. For conditions such as these, it will be my tackle of choice from now on.

Ken C.
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by Ken C. » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:11 pm

stiles wrote: Yes. I've read several drafts of the book including the current one. (He is working on a new addition). Joe is my neighbor and we've spent hours and hours discussing this technique.
Hello Stiles:

I purchased Joe Robinson's "Slightly Revised Edition" book (apparently just re-printed) at Troutfest 2011.

There are two questions that I'd like to ask Mr. Robinson but I don't have an e-mail address or know how to get in touch with him otherwise.

1) First question is in regards to the new TFO "Fly/Spin Rod" Model TFG FWSF 601-2
2) Second question is in regards to his balsa wood pencil poppers--diameter, method of fabrication (eye to hook).

What a wonderful book on "tiny spinning tackle!"

Note to Mr. Robinson if you frequent this forum: I don't want to be a pen-pal--I'd just like to discuss a couple questions as I mentioned above.

Can anyone help me?

Sincerely,
Ken Couger
kencouger@mac.com

stiles
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Re: Joe Robinson's Ultralight Spinning Concept

Post by stiles » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:02 pm

Joe doesn't have an email address. I'll shoot you an email and get you answers...



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