Spinners-Oldies but Goodies
Last year I decided it was time to get rid of some junk. You know, the stuff that hangs around in the shed for years, kept on the premise that it might be useful some day. The type of stuff that only ever becomes required three days after you've thrown it out
Being somewhat of a hoarder I find these occasions (yes there have been many!) necessary but not enjoyable, and I tend to spend my time procrastinating by looking through my wares rather than getting to the point and deciding upon an items usefulness, as opposed to its uselessness.
On one of these particular occasions I came upon an old pale blue tackle box being housed in a box not yet unpacked from our most recent move - four and a half years ago-
I had not seen this tackle box in years but knew exactly from whom it had come and the importance of its existence.
I removed the lid - once clear but now a dirty off-white colour from the hours spent in the sun, and contained inside were three small hollow metal barrels with two small fins delicately bronzed on to the body at one end. No paintwork on these items, just a coating of fine rust over what I imagine was once a silver surface. Despite the rust they were in good condition, all completely intact, except for one with a fin missing.
These were three home made spinners that my late father would have created many years ago, perhaps in the nineteen forties or fifties.
I guess, in a way what I was really staring at was a small time capsule of the way things were for the fishing enthusiast of the day. No fancy mass-produced, silver foil inserted, pre-packaged and off-the-shelf items in those days. No if you wanted to catch a fish on a spinner back then you had to employ your own ingenuity.
Today the spinner is alive and well and survives in a shape and form not too dissimilar to that that my father created some fifty-odd years ago. Times and materials have changed but the basic concept remains the same - a cylindrical barrel with two off-set semi-circle blades or "wings" at the leading end, thus making the lure spin around.
For reasons only a fish could understand, hungry trout have been falling prey to this simple device since well before my father's creations hit the water.
Today a spinner will set you back anywhere between two dollars and six dollars and there are a massive variety of colours and patterns from which to choose.
Most modern spinners are made of hard plastic with coloured foil inserts, and most come pre-packaged including a wire shaft with treble hook on one end and swivel on the other.
You can purchase spinners in two sizes, one of 35mm and one of 50mm. Both lures are of similar weight with the larger being only a gram or two heavier than the smaller. The larger lure will tend to swim or "spin" at a greater depth to the smaller lure though, and thus is less suited to shallow lakes or streams.
They all catch fish, but I find a green and gold coloured spinner to be effective in just about any location I have fished. Indeed these days a green and gold spinner is the lure I use more often than any other. I just can't fault its ability to catch fish no matter where I'm fishing. Be it a small lure in a stream or a larger lure in a lake, trout have been falling prey to this lure for as long as I've been fishing.
Other favorites of mine include a red lure with black spots, and a gold coloured spinner with a black fish bone pattern along its back. However, as I previously mentioned, the colour and pattern range is huge these days and just about any colour or pattern seems to do the trick if the fish are hungry.
The biggest problem I have encountered when using spinners is that of line twist. The spinning action of the lure tends to twist the line around no matter how many swivel and anti-kink devices you attach to your line.
Modern lure manufacturers create spinners that spin in both a clockwise and an anti-clockwise direction. Look closely at any spinners you may have in your tackle box and you will see that the wings of the lure are positioned differently lure-to-lure.
Manufacturers recommend that to avoid line twist that lures be interchanged regularly. In theory this is a great idea, but as the recommended lure change rate is often every fourteen casts, it is not truly practical unless you want to spend the majority of your fishing trip changing lures.
To counter line twist I have recently employed a new tactic, and while not alleviating the problem entirely it is an approach that has decreased the instance of the problem markedly.
My method is simple yet effective.
Tie an anti-kink to the line from your spool with the swivel end facing the lure. To this tie some heavy gauge line, say 0.5mm or twelve pound in the old scale. About sixty centimetres is sufficient. Then remove the wire center and hooks from your spinner and instead feed the line directly through the body of the lure. (It is a good idea before doing this to check both ends of the spinner for any sharp "burs" or other manufacturing defects that may catch and possibly cut your line). After the line is threaded through the center of the lure, place a plastic bead on the line and then tie the line directly to a chemically sharpened treble hook.
It's not a new method by any means, but I have found that by using a heavier gauge line through the body of the lure the instance of my line twisting has decreased from regular to occasional.
It is also possible, using this method, to substitute a treble hook for a single hook. This is particularly useful in weedy locations as even a small spinner is a naturally deep running lure and single hooks tend to catch the weed less easily, but catch the fish just as effectively!
Often, if the water is clear enough, or your Polaroid glasses are particularly effective, you can spot a fish following a spinner for some distance before striking it. Indeed it is not uncommon to watch a fish follow in your lure all the way to the shore, seemingly happy just to watch it swim without ever trying to eat it.
This seems to happen a lot when fishing in rivers and is particularly frustrating, especially if it is a sizeable fish!
I have found that fishing around drowned trees or submerged logs in lakes will more than likely see a fish dart out and grab a spinner rather than following it for too much distance.
A spinner can also be highly effective if trolled behind a boat.
So the humble spinner remains as much a versatile and reliable lure today as it was fifty years ago, though these days much easier to obtain. I'm sure nearly all trout-chasing lure anglers have experience with these lures, but if you are just starting out you will find they are a great easy-to-use lure that has a high tendency to catch a fish.
Your local tackle store is sure to stock these lures in numbers, and the staff will surely be happy to point you in the direction of what they believe to be the most effective colour or pattern.
But for mine, it's the humble green and gold every time.