The term spinners is used to describe all manner of lures, yet it's actually a specific reference to only one kind. A spinner is a lure that has a flat or dished shaped, roughly oval or circular blade revolving around a central metal body and mounted on a clevis at the head of the lure.
The more narrow and oval shaped this blade is, the tighter it revolves around the lures body and at a greater speed. Widen and circularize the shape, and the blade has a more eccentric movement and revolves slower, but gives off far greater impulses to be picked up by the fish.
Spinners are the least used lure for general sea angling. There are few patterns that carry enough weight to be cast far enough. Most weigh upto about 18gms, but 28gms is really the weight needed for most saltwater situations.
However, the smaller types, upto 5gms, are especially useful for mullet fishing when baited with two or three small harbour rag. This gives the impression of a small fish making off with a tasty bait that appeals to the larger, occasionally predatory mullet. They can be fished,, either on light line and allowed to drift downtide with the current, or even be cast on fly fishing tackle, this being the best option because the buoyant fly line can be made to work the lure in a more natural manner.
Some spinner baits have the addition of weighted heads to help casting distance, but this tends to spoil the lures overall action and such lures are generally less successful than non weighted versions. The further addition of plastic bodies fixed around the axis body is getting more common. The best ones are those that have a shredded tail that extent beyond the hook to add more movement. These can be especially successful for pollack over rough ground.
Our most familiar and popular lure. Although called spoons and having some characteristics of the genuine implement, they can vary widely in shape and design.
The most effective shape is a elongated one with a short, wide head end tapering quickly to a virtual point, but the rear of the body is long and tapers slowly to a blunt point. A slight bend in the blade at the head in combination with a slight dishing of the inner side gives the lure a wobble movement in the water. Some lures of this type also have short imitation fins in what would be the gill area of the head.
Due to the wide head being the forward leading edge, these patterns cast well in 28gm and above weights, though this advantage is lost when the flat sides catch a head on wind. Brilliant for bass, mackerel, pollack and even mullet over rough ground.
During bright, clear water conditions, silver is excellent. Towards dusk and dawn darker shades are better like a mix of blue/silver or green/silver, even black with silver bars to break up the colour scheme. The darker colours give a bigger target for fish to hit as the light level falls as opposed to the faint glitter of silver flashes which can confuse fish coming in to attack from lower seabed levels as night closes in.
Some anglers use these lures in fast water situations. They catch fish, but the design requires that the lure be brought back to you at a steady pace to utilize that wobble effect properly. An injured fish, struggling to make for cover is unlikely to be swimming at speed and will seek out the more quiet areas where tide current is not that great. A steady retrieve with a standard geared reel is about right. Use a fast retrieve reel and you'll likely be working the lure too fast and put fish off.
The standard spoons shape best imitates small school bass, little mullet, tiny pollack, joey mackerel etc, and therefore is best fished around the mouths of estuaries, from piers, groynes and breakwaters, and from the rock ledges.
This variation gives the most versatility. Slim in profile, but packing condensed weight by using a larger thickness of metal. They cast like a bullet and will penetrate an oncoming wind to some extent. The best choice for overall distance. Some have a straight body, but others use a slight kink to induce more body action.
In deep water with little tide run the straight body works best, but go for the kinked body pattern when the tide starts to move, or when fishing into a shallow water situation with a tide passing by. Again, 28gm weights and above work best. The smaller 20gm versions make superb mackerel lures worked off the beach or rocks and fished on light 10ft spinning rods and 4- 6lb line.
Silver is by far the most consistent colour for a fast moving lure like this. Darker shades like green and blue can detract from catches. Remember, this lure needs to be seen and does not give off much vibration for a fish to home in on.
This is the lure to choose when you're working an area where sandeel form a large part of the main food supply. Estuaries, close to rocky outcrops on beaches, and as stated when casting into deep water off the rock marks. You'll also find it's excellent during high summer when mackerel push the smaller fry tight inshore. Bass follow the mackerel in, but don't turn a blind eye to the odd fry that comes their way.
TACKLE AND RIGGING
Fishing with spinners For all casting situations you're better with a rod of around 10ft and designed to peak casting 2ozs of lead. Shorter spinning rods lack action and lack the length to help steer the lures around rocks and weed beds.
Fixed spool reels are always the better choice. Multipliers require too much casting weight to get the spool revolving to give their best. Multipliers also lack the retrieve rates of fixed spool reels to give you a wide choice of speeds with which to work the different lures.
A spinner or spoon should never be fished with any lead infront of it to aid casting distance and to get the lure to sink. This both makes for poor presentation and alters dramatically the way the lure behaves.
When using a trolled spoon from the boat, fish a standard length boat rod between 12 and 20lb class matched to a compatable multiplier with the ratchet on and the drag set just light enough to stop the working lure dragging line from the spool. Again, no further weight should be added infront of the spoon.
Some modifications to try are adding red plastic tubing to the hook shank, or whipping red wool thread to the hook shank. Red can be a trigger colour that makes a difference on dour days. The famous Ondex spinner has red wool on the shank and proves a real fish taker in both fresh and saltwater. Adding wool to a hook shank though, does encourage rusting, so make sure the lure is washed and dried before putting it back into the box.
Most spinners and spoons are supplied with treble hooks far too large for the lures size. If the hook point and barb are too large, even when a decent fish engulfs the lure from behind, the force is not enough to guarantee point penetration. It pays to drop down one size of treble on the smaller lures, and two sizes on the larger 2oz versions. Also grind down the points of the barbs a little leaving just half the previous height. This is enough to get a strong hook hold and will not lose you fish, it actual gains you a few by scoring more successful strikes.
It's worth changing any black coated swivels supplied with silver nickel finished lures for silver coloured swivels. These give you just that bit more reflection area to work with and may simulate at close range a small fish about to gobble up a tiny fry.
An old and dulled lure can be given a new lease of life by spraying it with cellulose paint. If you spray a lighter colour over a dark base through a metal wide mesh strainer you will get a slight scale like effect. Try a white body with a red head or eye.