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Old 11-13-2015, 11:50 AM   #1
West Linn Wader
 
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Default Spinner Tips - Share Them Here!

A few people have pinged me lately asking for tips for fishing casting spinners. I'm no pro, but I catch a few and use casting spinners pretty much exclusively for salmon & steelhead year round. Here are a few tips that work for me. I'm hoping you other gear chuckers will add a few thoughts of your own.

  • Read the bible (Spinner fishing for steelhead, salmon & trout by Jed Davis).
  • Preferred rod for me is an 8-6 baitcaster and 8-17lb. Easier to control casts and stick slack line bites. Some guys even go 10-20lb but personally I think the 8-17lb is a happy medium that telegraphs blade thump better.
  • For summer steelhead I go 12lb ultragreen-->swivel-->fluoro leader-->lure. For everything else I go 30# braid-->swivel-->fluoro leader-->lure.
  • Fish near the bottom. Fish generally hang out near the bottom...your spinner should be there as much as possible. A weighted spinner like the ones we sell do a very good job of getting and staying in the zone.
  • Slow as possible retrieve. Can't stress this enough.
  • If you read Jed's book (mentioned above) you'll find that he has specific spinner colors and finishes mapped out for just about every conceivable weather condition, water clarity, temperature range and every other variable possible. For beginners I suggest starting simple. Contrast is good. A blade with some flash and a darker-colored body is a good bet. My favorite, by far, is our genuine white silver blade & black body (pictured below). Believe it or not...it is the only spinner I carry and have lost count of how many days we've caught steelhead, chinook and coho all on the same day, all on the same spinner. Once you start catching fish and gaining confidence you can branch out into other combos.
  • Move. Hit a spot, cover it well and if you haven't had any action move up or downstream. Keep moving (if possible) and cover a lot of water. If you favor certain spots you can always come back and hit those spots again multiple times just don't camp out unless your continuously catching fish there.
  • Let the current do the work. Cast upstream, let lure sink, mend or let out line and allow current to work the lure. Often it's the bend in your line that will be what's working the lure. As my friend Mr Fast says "the bend is your friend." Watch tip of rod...if it's slowly bouncing up and down you know your spinner is working properly.

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Old 11-13-2015, 12:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Spinner Tips - Share Them Here!

I like to have my spinner "thump" downstream. I cast upstream and follow the spinner as it drift's. This has been very effective for me.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:23 PM   #3
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What about angling tip horizontal or low near water to get spinner deeper ? I heard if u put the tip down the spinner goes deeper. But if the river is flowing harder in fall/winter does that change?
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:44 PM   #4
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For steelhead, cast upstream and reel the spinner back towards you, retrieved just fast enough to keep it from hanging up on the bottom.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:49 PM   #5
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Yup and sometimes that does mean barely or not reeling at all.

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Old 11-13-2015, 05:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Spinner Tips - Share Them Here!

I agree.
This is also deadly for Coho. I call it suprising them especially around structure or large bolders in stream. When they see the spinner they react fast.

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For steelhead, cast upstream and reel the spinner back towards you, retrieved just fast enough to keep it from hanging up on the bottom.
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:15 PM   #7
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I agree.
This is also deadly for Coho. I call it suprising them especially around structure or large bolders in stream. When they see the spinner they react fast.

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For steelhead, cast upstream and reel the spinner back towards you, retrieved just fast enough to keep it from hanging up on the bottom.
Right on. It's gotta be tempting for them as they face upstream to see that little flashy rattling thing coming straight downstream at them I love the strike you get on spinners and spoons in general, but for me they're particularly violent when fished this way.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:09 PM   #8
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Ok heres a tip i learned early on. Buy a hook sharpener. Always file hooks out of package. And keep hooks sticky sharp. Dont over sharpen. Just 3to5 strokes will do the trick.
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Old 11-14-2015, 01:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by FlowingGreenWater View Post
For steelhead, cast upstream and reel the spinner back towards you, retrieved just fast enough to keep it from hanging up on the bottom.
The guys with boats refer to that as a downstream troll
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugenius86 View Post
What about angling tip horizontal or low near water to get spinner deeper ? I heard if u put the tip down the spinner goes deeper. But if the river is flowing harder in fall/winter does that change?
That will help a little. If I'm struggling to stay near bottom, I'll do one of the following:
1) Switch to a heavier (torpedo style) spinner (or a heavy spoon). Sometimes using a body that's a size bigger than the blade helps keep it down (helps with distance too). An over-weighted spinner like this only works well in ~ fast water. Pen-tac has various weights for each size spinner body to help here too, though the more weight, the less responsive it is in slower water. I know some people use lead weights for bodies to achieve the same effect.
2) Sometimes I'll slow roll it. That is reel it or swing it for 5 seconds or more and if I think I'm out of the zone, let it drop back to bottom and do it again. Works great for coho!
3) Backreel or freespool. Letting a controlled amount of line out, as it swings, will reduce the drag on the spinner, slowing the lift off the bottom. Of coarse, the hook set can be a little adventurous with this technique when a steelhead plows into your spinner at full speed!
4) If the water's too fast to keep a spinner down, I'll switch to drift gear.
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Old 11-14-2015, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugenius86 View Post
What about angling tip horizontal or low near water to get spinner deeper ? I heard if u put the tip down the spinner goes deeper. But if the river is flowing harder in fall/winter does that change?
That will help a little. If I'm struggling to stay near bottom, I'll do one of the following:
1) Switch to a heavier (torpedo style) spinner (or a heavy spoon). Sometimes using a body that's a size bigger than the blade helps keep it down (helps with distance too). An over-weighted spinner like this only works well in ~ fast water. Pen-tac has various weights for each size spinner body to help here too, though the more weight, the less responsive it is in slower water. I know some people use lead weights for bodies to achieve the same effect.
2) Sometimes I'll slow roll it. That is reel it or swing it for 5 seconds or more and if I think I'm out of the zone, let it drop back to bottom and do it again. Works great for coho!
3) Backreel or freespool. Letting a controlled amount of line out, as it swings, will reduce the drag on the spinner, slowing the lift off the bottom. Of coarse, the hook set can be a little adventurous with this technique when a steelhead plows into your spinner at full speed!
4) If the water's too fast to keep a spinner down, I'll switch to drift gear.
So water can be too fast for a spinner?

I've given up on spinners when I feel it's too fast and narrow.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:02 PM   #12
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I've gotten some aggressive bites casting slightly downstream, and "setting" the spinner by giving it a hookset in a way. This causes the spinner to start spinning the instant it hits the water. I then don't reel until it swings all the way across the run directly below me, using the current to spin the blade. This works best in shallower runs, 5 feet or less. I'm pretty sure the spinner only sinks a foot or two. I usually mix the method in with upstream casts where I am ticking bottom.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:36 PM   #13
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If you don't have confidence in fishing spinners it is only because you have not put the time in yet to fish them effectively. It is a technique that looks easy but isn't until many things come together at the same time. The fish won't be tricked into striking too often while learning, but if you stick with it, it will become a go to method. Very satisfying to catch fish on spinners you built yourself.
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:39 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=West Linn Wader;11269697]A few people have pinged me lately asking for tips for fishing casting spinners. I'm no pro, but I catch a few and use casting spinners pretty much exclusively for salmon & steelhead year round. Here are a few tips that work for me. I'm hoping you other gear chuckers will add a few thoughts of your own.

  • Read the bible (Spinner fishing for steelhead, salmon & trout by Jed Davis).
  • Preferred rod for me is an 8-6 baitcaster and 8-17lb. Easier to control casts and stick slack line bites. Some guys even go 10-20lb but personally I think the 8-17lb is a happy medium that telegraphs blade thump better.
  • For summer steelhead I go 12lb ultragreen-->swivel-->fluoro leader-->lure. For everything else I go 30# braid-->swivel-->fluoro leader-->lure.
  • Fish near the bottom. Fish generally hang out near the bottom...your spinner should be there as much as possible. A weighted spinner like the ones we sell do a very good job of getting and staying in the zone.
  • Slow as possible retrieve. Can't stress this enough.
  • If you read Jed's book (mentioned above) you'll find that he has specific spinner colors and finishes mapped out for just about every conceivable weather condition, water clarity, temperature range and every other variable possible. For beginners I suggest starting simple. Contrast is good. A blade with some flash and a darker-colored body is a good bet. My favorite, by far, is our genuine white silver blade & black body (pictured below). Believe it or not...it is the only spinner I carry and have lost count of how many days we've caught steelhead, chinook and coho all on the same day, all on the same spinner. Once you start catching fish and gaining confidence you can branch out into other combos.
  • Move. Hit a spot, cover it well and if you haven't had any action move up or downstream. Keep moving (if possible) and cover a lot of water. If you favor certain spots you can always come back and hit those spots again multiple times just don't camp out unless your continuously catching fish there.
  • Let the current do the work. Cast upstream, let lure sink, mend or let out line and allow current to work the lure. Often it's the bend in your line that will be what's working the lure. As my friend Mr Fast says "the bend is your friend." Watch tip of rod...if it's slowly bouncing up and down you know your spinner is working properly.
Great advice! I'd add:
A spinner is like a spoon which is like a jig which is like a bait which is like a fly: Put any of these in front of a biter, and it'll bite. On rare occasions, a fish will be willing to bite only one of these.



When I'm counting on the spinner to entice when other offerings won't, I use one or more of these:
Starting in lower left and going up -size 2 ripple blade, size 1 dimple blade, size 2 dimple blade, size 2 inline blade, size 2 French blade, size 3 French blade.
Starting on lower right and going up: Size 4 French blade with stickers for color, size 4 French blade brass naked, size 5 French blade silver plate with colored body, size 5 Fr blade plain body, size 5 French blade with heavier body.
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Old 11-14-2015, 08:06 PM   #15
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Here's a trick I used way back in the 60's & 70's but haven't used it in a long time. I'm sure it would still be effective.
Use light weight Bear Valley & Colorado spinners drifted just like bait in faster current.
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Old 11-14-2015, 11:03 PM   #16
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Si wash hooks are important, less fish lost and less snagging on bottom.

If youre not fishing bottom and feeling rocks or boulders stopping the blade, youre not fishing as fish will hold behind these.

Water conditions dictate the color,size, and blade style but the french blade is the blade that covers the most bases so to say.

When a fish bites hold on to that rod it will be like nothing youve felt before.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:48 PM   #17
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Leave them at home and grab the bobber rod!
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:56 PM   #18
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Leave them at home and grab the bobber rod!
Bobbers are for kids
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:13 PM   #19
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I like my spinner fished in a vertical fashion before the swing. Start with your rod tip higher, get it down, pick up slack and almost just drift fish it. Follow the spinner across and down with the rod through the drift. Lots of bites as it transitions into a traditional swing. I prefer a 10'6" noodle rods and lighter #2/3 buds and blue foxes, and generally fish spinners for summers.


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Old 11-15-2015, 08:37 PM   #20
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So, I am new to spinners, tell me if I am miss understanding what I am reading.

Cast upstream, but in the slot, let the spinner sink and do its thing. Take up slack as it drifts by, them let the spinner finish the swing on its own. Once the swing is finished you them retrieve?

Or are you just casting it out, letting it sink them retrieving it as would see the bass guys fishing?
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:20 AM   #21
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Spare Link,
I think it depends a lot on the hole you're fishing. I find casting upstream works well when you're fishing a slot that concentrates the fish, like above or below a rapid or along a ledge. A lot of these places may not be fishable from the side or above. Also, in a deep slot, it's sometimes easier to keep the spinner near the bottom when casting from below because the current's not pulling it up off the bottom. Use a lighter spinner (like a Blue Fox), let it drop, and retrieve just a bit faster than the current: just enough to get the blade going. In wider runs, where the fish may spread out, a more traditional, slightly upstream cast and then swing works better. Cast, step (downstream). Cast, step. Kind off like steelhead fly-fishing. Hardware works really well in these areas because it covers the water faster than other methods. You're looking for aggressive fish that will chase the spinner down before biting. No need to smack him in the face with spinners (unless it's freezing cold). Under normal conditions, you can usually step 5-10 feet between casts and still cover the water well. Reel if you need to keep the blade spinning, but once the spinner starts swinging, you often don't need to reel. You want to feel a slow, but steady thump-thump-thump.

Ultimately, whatever method gets a spinning blade in front of a biter will work best.
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Old 11-16-2015, 12:17 PM   #22
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In his book, Jed Davis highly recommends making your own spinners because if you're using them correctly, you're gonna lose alot of them. So don't be afraid to put them close to structure, and along the bottom. That's how you get strikes. But, as we all know, that's how you lose them too.

I can make a silver plated or a gold-plated spinner for less than half the price of a store-bought nickel plate. That's not an exaggeration.
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:39 PM   #23
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Like Cohoangler said, if you fish spinners correctly you are going to lose plenty of them, so making your own spinners makes good sense. Not only that, it's a nice way to spend a winter evening in front of the woodstove while you dream of all the fish you're going to catch with them.

The mention of cost started me to thinking about what it costs me to make a spinner. There are variables, most notably the hook used, but as near as I can tell my spinners with #5 silver blades cost me about 59 cents apiece. At that price I can carry a couple boxes of them and not worry about losing a few lures, and occasionally I will give away spinners to other fishermen who ask what I'm using.

I saw a quote once regarding fly tying that expressed the appeal of fishing with something that you've created with your own hands. I can't quote it exactly, but the gist of it was that the man who caught a trout on a fly that he personally had tied, had counted coup not once, but twice. For me both the pleasure of fishing the spinner and the satisfaction of catching fish using that lure are enhanced.

Making your own spinners gives you complete creative control, you can make pretty much anything you can dream up. That being said my number one spinner for steelhead and salmon is exactly the same as West Linn's: black body and silver blade. It's basic, but it works.
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Old 11-16-2015, 02:17 PM   #24
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I gotta see what a 59 cent #5 genuine silver-bladed spinner looks like :-) Would love to see a pic.

The exact spinner that I was referring to uses a marine brass blank .032 thickness plated in genuine white silver. That blade alone is over a buck (my cost) but is worth every penny to me because it gives me the confidence that I am using the very best spinner I can possibly obtain. I've gotten pretty good at not losing very many...which is good. Catching fish on your own stuff is a great feeling but I would still want the confidence that I was using the best components I could get. IMO we spend way too much time and money on other stuff (vehicles, boats licenses, gas, rods/reels and other gear) to not use the best components on the only things the fish actually see


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Like Cohoangler said, if you fish spinners correctly you are going to lose plenty of them, so making your own spinners makes good sense. Not only that, it's a nice way to spend a winter evening in front of the woodstove while you dream of all the fish you're going to catch with them.

The mention of cost started me to thinking about what it costs me to make a spinner. There are variables, most notably the hook used, but as near as I can tell my spinners with #5 silver blades cost me about 59 cents apiece. At that price I can carry a couple boxes of them and not worry about losing a few lures, and occasionally I will give away spinners to other fishermen who ask what I'm using.

I saw a quote once regarding fly tying that expressed the appeal of fishing with something that you've created with your own hands. I can't quote it exactly, but the gist of it was that the man who caught a trout on a fly that he personally had tied, had counted coup not once, but twice. For me both the pleasure of fishing the spinner and the satisfaction of catching fish using that lure are enhanced.

Making your own spinners gives you complete creative control, you can make pretty much anything you can dream up. That being said my number one spinner for steelhead and salmon is exactly the same as West Linn's: black body and silver blade. It's basic, but it works.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:11 PM   #25
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Yea not sure how guys are building $.60 or less spinners with silver. The blades I get are not quite a buck apiece but close and brass bodies are also near a $1. Id say most of my spinners come close to if not $2+ including hooks....but still thats with good quality components and a heavier better spinner than what your going to buy in a store for $4-$5. Not saying store bought ones are bad either, I fish blue foxes a bit also. They all have thier time and place.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:21 PM   #26
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Since you asked, here is my 59 cent spinner.

Blade is .025 brass (15 cents each) that I silver plated using instructions from Jed Davis' book. If I used .032 brass it would add 4 cents to the cost of a blade.

Body is lead, poured in a walleye walking sinker mold and powder painted. I have a few hundred lbs of lead for pouring sinker, jig heads, and a variety of handgun bullets. The lead was about 20 cents per lb so the cost of a body is less than a penny. At today's prices it would be closer to a nickel.

.031 wire, 1/8" bead, and #3 clevis are purchased online, 15 or 20 cents total.

Hook is whatever you want to throw on there that you have confidence in, and costs vary widely. The Matzuo sickle hook is new to me, just something I want to try out this year.

Add it all up, throw in a little for paint and silver plate solution amortized over many pieces and that is the number I came up with.
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:14 PM   #27
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Since you asked, here is my 59 cent spinner.

Blade is .025 brass (15 cents each) that I silver plated using instructions from Jed Davis' book. If I used .032 brass it would add 4 cents to the cost of a blade.

Body is lead, poured in a walleye walking sinker mold and powder painted. I have a few hundred lbs of lead for pouring sinker, jig heads, and a variety of handgun bullets. The lead was about 20 cents per lb so the cost of a body is less than a penny. At today's prices it would be closer to a nickel.

.031 wire, 1/8" bead, and #3 clevis are purchased online, 15 or 20 cents total.

Hook is whatever you want to throw on there that you have confidence in, and costs vary widely. The Matzuo sickle hook is new to me, just something I want to try out this year.

Add it all up, throw in a little for paint and silver plate solution amortized over many pieces and that is the number I came up with.
Well played sir, well played. Very good looking spinner. Ever think of selling some
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:52 PM   #28
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Well played sir, well played. Very good looking spinner. Ever think of selling some
Thank you for the kind words. The name of the game is finding what catches fish, and I just like to tinker with things that I think might eventually bring me closer to that end.

No I haven't given serious thought to selling spinners, I'll leave that for West Linn and others. I do get asked quite often though. The last time was a couple weeks ago while fishing a coastal stream for fall chinook. After a couple days of seeing me catch fish when others were not, he asked if he could buy a spinner from me. I looked him in the eye and told him no. He had already turned and was walking away before I had a chance to finish my sentence: "But I'll give you one!" Another fisherman there just laughed, the day before I had given him a spinner too, just like the one I was using. That gives me more satisfaction than the few dollars I might make trying to sell them.



i
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:02 PM   #29
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Make that body green in a #3 size and you are money. If I only had one lure to use ever that might be it. Nice work!


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Old 11-16-2015, 08:05 PM   #30
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Well played sir, well played. Very good looking spinner. Ever think of selling some
I didn't say it couldn't be done...just wanted to see one, especially what the body looked like. Not bad at all. Lead is definitely cheaper by far over brass. We've looked at using it and still may to offer it as a heavier spinner option but for a few reasons we could never sub it completely for brass. Doing silver at home can be challenging to get a good & consistent plate but yours is definitely one of the better I've seen. For the money the Matzuo hook is pretty darn good IMO. Very sharp out of the box and most of the past issues with eyes being brittle have been resolved. I don't even bother to sharpen mine. I just rebuild with new when I get home.

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That gives me more satisfaction than the few dollars I might make trying to sell them. i
I give a ton of spinners away too. Just a taster...they'll be back!
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:08 PM   #31
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Since you asked, here is my 59 cent spinner.

Blade is .025 brass (15 cents each) that I silver plated using instructions from Jed Davis' book. If I used .032 brass it would add 4 cents to the cost of a blade.

Body is lead, poured in a walleye walking sinker mold and powder painted. I have a few hundred lbs of lead for pouring sinker, jig heads, and a variety of handgun bullets. The lead was about 20 cents per lb so the cost of a body is less than a penny. At today's prices it would be closer to a nickel.

.031 wire, 1/8" bead, and #3 clevis are purchased online, 15 or 20 cents total.

Hook is whatever you want to throw on there that you have confidence in, and costs vary widely. The Matzuo sickle hook is new to me, just something I want to try out this year.

Add it all up, throw in a little for paint and silver plate solution amortized over many pieces and that is the number I came up with.

Put a swivel between that body and hook and it would be a killer!!
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:20 PM   #32
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For steelhead, cast upstream and reel the spinner back towards you, retrieved just fast enough to keep it from hanging up on the bottom.
I am in total agreement. When fishing spinners I find it best that Steelhead have to react to the spinner quickly. This is why most Steelies that I catch are usually caught in the first few casts as I cover the water.

If the current and holding water are appropriate I have had decent success with spinners fished on the downstream swing. Fished this way it does take a bit of finesse and it is best to keep the spinner as close to the bottom as possible and feeling for the blade thump.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:58 PM   #33
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WestLinn - Good on you for sprinkling some of your spinners around for "seed". It's just good business, and good karma too. There may be a market for a lead bodied spinner at a lower price point, but then your margin will probably be less and what will that do to your brand? That's exactly why I don't want to start down that road, I want nothing to do with marketing and salesmanship. I believe that the weight forward torpedo style body such as yours gives a spinner a slightly better balance. My lead bodies are symmetrical, the weight is evenly distributed and that leads to the body becoming "tail heavy" as body weight is increased. The end result is that the maximum body weight is slightly decreased for any given blade size. Now if you had a mold that would produce torpedo style lead bodies that might be something to consider...

Kalama - You may have a good point, adding a swivel between body and hook might be a good stroke. I do it with spoons because it was recommended in Bill Herzog's spoon book, so why not with spinners too?

Bankbound - Which green are you thinking? I've used bright kelly green, chartreuse green, and one or two in between but black has usually been my first choice, blue has been second. Always looking for another weapon in the arsenal.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:41 AM   #34
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WestLinn - Good on you for sprinkling some of your spinners around for "seed". It's just good business, and good karma too. There may be a market for a lead bodied spinner at a lower price point, but then your margin will probably be less and what will that do to your brand? That's exactly why I don't want to start down that road, I want nothing to do with marketing and salesmanship. I believe that the weight forward torpedo style body such as yours gives a spinner a slightly better balance. My lead bodies are symmetrical, the weight is evenly distributed and that leads to the body becoming "tail heavy" as body weight is increased. The end result is that the maximum body weight is slightly decreased for any given blade size. Now if you had a mold that would produce torpedo style lead bodies that might be something to consider....
It's hard not to give 'em away, especially when other guys around you wanna know what you're using as you have experienced.

We've already produced and sold a fair amount of lead bodies (in larger sizes) that were used to make jetty spinners. We have longtime customers who wouldn't be happy if we ever stopped using brass on our torpedo spinners but there's probably room to offer them as a heavyweight option on the side.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:14 AM   #35
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I believe that the weight forward torpedo style body such as yours gives a spinner a slightly better balance. My lead bodies are symmetrical, the weight is evenly distributed and that leads to the body becoming "tail heavy" as body weight is increased. The end result is that the maximum body weight is slightly decreased for any given blade size. Now if you had a mold that would produce torpedo style lead bodies that might be something to consider...
Rangr,
I think you're assessment is accurate. The spinner design you showed looks like a real fish catcher in faster water where balance and responsiveness isn't quite so important. That's a lot of fish-catching power for the money, though your time commitment to make it has its own cost.

Rangr's spinner brings up a contrast in spinner types I sometimes choose between: the money spinner, the standard spinner, and the kamikaze spinner. Money spinners are your best: you only use when you know fish are there but they're not cooperating. Might be a pricey one like a 50/50 gold/silver or it might be the one that matches conditions the best, but you're down to your last one. Don't want to lose the money spinner! Standard spinner is the one that works well that you have a bunch of them. For winter steelhead, I personally like Jed's winter standard (Pen-tac #5 with silver blade); straight out of the book, though I usually use a contrasting body color. Kamikaze spinner is the one you don't care if you lose and are willing to throw it into the snaggiest water you encounter. Got a lot of them: pretty much all the spinners that don't match up to my standards.

One last thought: I hate sickle hooks on spinners. I've had a higher drive-by ratio with sickle hooks than any other. I like Mustad and Gamakatsu personally. Also, the siwash's that come with Blue Fox spinners: Total Garbage and too big! (you'll either miss or kill a steelhead). Throw them out!
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:17 AM   #36
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Wild Chrome - Thanks for weighing in. I've heard good and bad about sickle hooks, the only way I'll be satisfied is to try them for myself. The brand/style of the hook is only part of the equation, in my opinion. The action of the rod, type of line (mono or braid), and timing and method of hookset are important also. Any rod/reel spooled with any line properly fished by just about anyone will catch some fish, what we all want is to learn how to bring our game as far above that baseline as possible.

I'm a big fan of braided line because it has no stretch, not real fussy about brand. I like the ability it gives me for a solid hook set with a lot of line out, and it casts further than mono allowing me to reach places I otherwise couldn't, but its best quality is the increased feel. The rotation of the spinner blade is easy to feel even with 150' of line out, and that feel is crucial to fishing the spinner properly. That lack of stretch can also be a handicap when a fish strikes, you feel everything so well it is possible to set the hook too soon. I've started using rods with a soft enough tip that will let the fish turn before it really feels the hook, the same as you would fishing a dry fly, and my solid hookup ratio has gone up. Obviously this doesn't apply to a slack line bite, just set the hook.

I use 20# braid for main line and Maxima Ultra Green leader using either a Double Uni knot or Sebile knot to join them.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:37 PM   #37
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Wild Chrome - Thanks for weighing in. I've heard good and bad about sickle hooks, the only way I'll be satisfied is to try them for myself. The brand/style of the hook is only part of the equation, in my opinion. The action of the rod, type of line (mono or braid), and timing and method of hookset are important also. Any rod/reel spooled with any line properly fished by just about anyone will catch some fish, what we all want is to learn how to bring our game as far above that baseline as possible.

I'm a big fan of braided line because it has no stretch, not real fussy about brand. I like the ability it gives me for a solid hook set with a lot of line out, and it casts further than mono allowing me to reach places I otherwise couldn't, but its best quality is the increased feel. The rotation of the spinner blade is easy to feel even with 150' of line out, and that feel is crucial to fishing the spinner properly. That lack of stretch can also be a handicap when a fish strikes, you feel everything so well it is possible to set the hook too soon. I've started using rods with a soft enough tip that will let the fish turn before it really feels the hook, the same as you would fishing a dry fly, and my solid hookup ratio has gone up. Obviously this doesn't apply to a slack line bite, just set the hook.

I use 20# braid for main line and Maxima Ultra Green leader using either a Double Uni knot or Sebile knot to join them.
I agree with all of it! I usually use a little lighter braided line (for extra distance and depth) and a swivel to connect the Maxima leader. Rods are moderate action: 8-12 in winter and 4-8 or 6-10 in summer.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:41 PM   #38
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I agree with all of it! I usually use a little lighter braided line (for extra distance and depth) and a swivel to connect the Maxima leader. Rods are moderate action: 8-12 in winter and 4-8 or 6-10 in summer.
So I'm curious, if you tie your mainline to a swivel and then attach the leader, how long is your leader? I use a 7 or 8 foot leader because the braid is so visible, and to use a leader that long it is necessary to attach the braid main line directly to the leader so it can go through the rod guides, or even onto the reel if necessary because I use a longer leader in very clear water. I would feel uncomfortable using a swivel with a leader short enough to cast, in clear water that is going to have a detrimental effect on the number of strikes you will get.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:49 PM   #39
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I also use braid with a mono bumper, but having problems with braid twisting up & creating a mess, Using a swivel attached to spinner, and using a spinning reel.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:08 PM   #40
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I ended up with a gear rod and hucking spinners more this last season than in the last 20 years combined. Murky water season made me do so, and I had a blast catching tons of fish as well as fishing tons of water I have been ignoring for years.

anyway...I have a point.....

All said and done I spent a ridiculous amount of money on blue foxes. What equipment would you spinner making pros suggest I buy to get started making my own? Brands etc?

thanks
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:09 PM   #41
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Rangr,
I use about 18 inches of leader past my swivel. I don't think the visibility of the braided line makes a lick of difference with hardware except perhaps when the water's super low and clear. Also, I use a lot of Fireline Crystal (14 lb), which is not as visible as some.

Gretch,
A lot of guys like to make spinners with wire formers, but I just use pliers. Very low tech and easy to take on the road with you. I really like Blue Foxes in slower water and for casting upstream. They're very responsive, but don't stay down, thump, or cast that well. Great salmon spinners though, and Deschutes steelhead can't seem to resist the #4's. I prefer Pen-tac for my torpedo spinners, though RVRSHR and R&B are good too. Each company has certain things they do well. Pen-tac has a lot more sizes and they're responsive across the line. Their #4.5 blades are as good as it gets and their small blades are outstanding. With the above mentioned tackle, I can feel a #0 thump through a riffle, much less a #2. RVRFSHR #4's and #5's are like jackhammers on the end of your line, though they require a little faster water to work their best. Great steelhead spinners for fast water! R&B has great finishes and I'm particularly fond of their #3's for summer steelhead. Equal to Pen-tac IMHO. I got away from them after the weirdness with ordering a few years ago. Sounds like WLW has that sorted out now. I may need to order more soon.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:45 PM   #42
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For hooks, I prefer Owner siwash cutting point, but Gammies and Eagle Claw Trokor are just as good.

I bought alot of blades and bodies from Jed Davis back in the mid 90's when he sold his business. I had the opportunity to chat with him several times on building and using spinners. It was memorable.

I still have alot of components, particularly the blades. But I don't use them nearly as much as I used to. Twitching jigs seems to be more effective. But I know I will get an argument about that......
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:57 PM   #43
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Gamikatsu size 1 siwash have worked ok for me for steelhead, larger sizes for chinook not so much. I find the Gami hooks to be soft, which means they are easy to sharpen but don't hold that sharpness well and require frequent re-sharpening and the point quickly becomes too short. They also bend easily, which is nice when you want to free a lure that it is hung on the bottom but not so nice when it does the same on a large salmonid.

VMC 9171 siwash did not hook fish well for me at all.

I have used a lot of Eagle Claw 210N siwash with decent results, size 1 for steelhead and 1/0 or even 2/0 for chinook, but you must modify them before use. Out of the package they are awful, just awful, but if you kirb and beak them like an octopus hook then they are ok. Found out recently though that in tide water they will rust in less than one day and ruin all the other spinners it contacts, so I need to find something else for that application.

At this point I don't have a go to siwash that I have full confidence using, which is why I'm making some spinners now with Matzuo sickle hooks to give them a shot. If anyone has the perfect siwash for spinners I'd like to hear about it.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:43 AM   #44
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I didn't see if anyone is tieing the spinner directly to the leader as Davis reccomends. Where are you guys on that?
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:54 AM   #45
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I didn't see if anyone is tieing the spinner directly to the leader as Davis reccomends. Where are you guys on that?
My 3rd bullet states that I tie leader directly to spinner. It's a personal preference. Lots of people like a swivel at the lure too.
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:03 AM   #46
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I've made spinners with a swivel built in to the top loop and tied the leader to that, and I've also used a locking snap swivel at the end of the leader and clip the spinner to the snap swivel. Very convenient to change spinners without re-tying and shortening your leader in the process. I change spinners a lot, trying different body colors, body weight, blade finish, etc. Changing spinners is not necessarily for the purpose of fishing, quite often it is just trying out new combinations to see how they look in the water.
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:22 AM   #47
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Do those of you who use braid with spinning reels for spinner fishing have the braid twist issues I mentioned? And I use a swivel. Tried levelwind, but hard to cast light spinners!
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:25 AM   #48
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I use 10 pound big game tied directly to a snap swivel and spinner of choice. Never had any line twist issues. Sometimes I bump it up to 12 pound big game. Spinner fishing is pretty abusive on the line I have found. I respool every 2 or 3 trips out. I just buy a huge roll of big game that lasts all season long.

I've tried the swivel/leader method, but found I was constantly reeling the swivel up into the guides, which was causing my too much frustration. In tight quarters/brushy banks I like casting with the spinner only hanging a few inches off the tip of the rod.

A better option may be using braid mainline with a mono bumper of about 10 feet. Might have to try that sometime!
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:27 AM   #49
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Even though a snap swivel is tops for convenience, I don't like it cuz the extra linkage will somehow foul up once every 15-20 casts or whatever (more often than without the snap anyway). I'll build my #4s & 5s with a #10 barrel swivel in the eye (also if I end up re-building a blown-up Blue Fox), but I'm kinda on the fence w/ #3s... I used to build them w/ a #12 swivel, but I've actually lost a fish before when the swivel eye pulled out from the barrel using only 8# line; I also pulled one apart before on a snag but I think that was w/ 10# line so I kept using them w/ the 8# until the lost fish. I still have some leftover stock of #3s built up, but at this point I probably won't do any more of them that way, and the #10 swivel still seems a bit big for the rest of the #3.

The line twist isn't as bad on the smaller sizes anyway, though. My normal set-up nowadays is 20# braid which I splice directly to a 8-12# mono or 10-12# fluoro bumper depending on the conditions, usually 8-10 feet so that the knot is a few turns down on the spool when casting and not right at the lip of the bail or my fingertip, etc. Since most reels typically come w/ an extra spool, I'll fill the winter one w/ straight 10# mono (esp for freezing conditions since braid will hold water and freeze to itself much worse) and the summer one w/ straight 8# mono. If I notice twist becoming a problem, I'll switch from a non-swiveled spinner to a different size/finish option that does have a swivel if I can come up with a combo that will suit the water available, or perhaps change things up w/ a spoon for a bit.
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:30 PM   #50
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Do those of you who use braid with spinning reels for spinner fishing have the braid twist issues I mentioned? And I use a swivel. Tried levelwind, but hard to cast light spinners!
Yes, and I haven't been able to find a solution for it either. I use 15lb or 20 lb Power Pro (Super 8 Slick) to a swivel, then 3 to 4 feet of 10 lb Ultra Green leader. At the end of my leader I almost always tie on a snap swivel for quickly changing spinners and spoons. My braid mainline gets more twisted than Charlie Sheen's love life. (SIDE QUESTION: Can a twitching jig be fished effectively on snap swivels? Or does it mess up the jig's presentation? ).
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:43 PM   #51
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Braided mainline (20-50lb) to a (ball bearing) barrel swivel, to 18-24" of mono bumper (15-40lb) to a duo-lock to spinner. No line twist issues. Super easy to change gear and you don't leave line in the water when you break off. I'm still using braid that I've had on for 4 seasons now because I just replace the mono buffer as it breaks or gets abrasions.

I swap out between spinners and twitching jigs consistently on this setup.

The quality of the swivel makes a huge difference in line twist. Ball bearing are the best, followed by Rosco type swivel, with the twisted wire swivels a distant last place.

Best-


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Old 11-18-2015, 03:01 PM   #52
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Also being a disciple of Jed Davis' book and studying his invaluable spinner fishing advice, the next step that helped most was when I started making my own spinners.

After learning a river and which slots steelhead and salmon liked to hold at different water levels and current speeds, was to make spinners in different weights and blade sizes adjusted to get down to the sweet spot. If you can't get down near the bottom and present your spinner (or spoon) in front of the fish, the hook-up success rate will go way down. Using the same size spinner all of the time can't possibly accomplish that.

I'm far from an expert spinner maker or fisher, but here are some examples of homemade lures that have worked pretty well.

Summer-run spinners in blade sizes #2 and #3.



Winter-run spinners in sizes #4, #41/2, and #5 blades with different body weights adjusted to water currents and depths.




Good fishing this Winter, guys!
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:10 PM   #53
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So far no one has mentioned using coil type quick change clevises. I've found them handy if you would like to change the blade. Losing the blade has never been an issue in my experience.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:35 PM   #54
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So far no one has mentioned using coil type quick change clevises. I've found them handy if you would like to change the blade. Losing the blade has never been an issue in my experience.
I have used quick change clevises for trolling spinners but not for casting spinners. In my limited experience trolling spinners, the blade is the largest variable because the "body" when trolling is usually an anchovy or plug cut herring, so changing to a blade with a different color or finish is worth trying. For casting spinners I just keep a variety of colors, weights, and sizes in my pack.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:40 PM   #55
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Here's my killers. Brass body with a matte silver blade or brass on brass. I usually use siwash hooks but did miss a few last winter sight fishing when casting directly up river to fish i'd see so im going to try a few trebbles this winter and see how it works for those situations. At any rate as other have said keep them low in the water near the bottom. I find that I can pretty effectively stay near bottom with a size 4 spinner in most water conditions by adjusting my rod angle. If u watch me fish I constantly move my rod tip up and down to control the depth of my spinner. Best way to learn is get some polarized glasses and fish semi shallow water where u can see your spinner the whole time. Mess around with your rod up and down river at different angles and see what your spinner does. This will give you a pretty good idea of how your spinner will act when you can't see it. as for swivel or not, I use a locking snap swivel for easy change out and never had an issue. Just make sure it is a locking snap.
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:35 PM   #56
walt1er
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[QUOTE=FishOnShawn;11313706]

I've had similar experiences missing fish while casting up and retrieving downstream. In that situation, I prefer a treble.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:22 PM   #57
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:19 PM   #58
bllelk
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Originally Posted by FishOnShawn View Post


Here's my killers. Brass body with a matte silver blade or brass on brass. I usually use siwash hooks but did miss a few last winter sight fishing when casting directly up river to fish i'd see so im going to try a few trebbles this winter and see how it works for those situations. At any rate as other have said keep them low in the water near the bottom. I find that I can pretty effectively stay near bottom with a size 4 spinner in most water conditions by adjusting my rod angle. If u watch me fish I constantly move my rod tip up and down to control the depth of my spinner. Best way to learn is get some polarized glasses and fish semi shallow water where u can see your spinner the whole time. Mess around with your rod up and down river at different angles and see what your spinner does. This will give you a pretty good idea of how your spinner will act when you can't see it. as for swivel or not, I use a locking snap swivel for easy change out and never had an issue. Just make sure it is a locking snap.
Looks like Fisherman's Shack hardware. I've got a few of those myself.
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Old 11-19-2015, 11:14 PM   #59
FishOnShawn
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Looks like Fisherman's Shack hardware. I've got a few of those myself.
Yep. I know west linn started this and sells R&B hardware and im sure its great but fishermans shack is just a small drive away from me. Plus its cool to go in and talk to don, hes a great guy and his products are really good. And he's treated me really well as a customer. I went in once and got some silver blades but also wanted like 20 in nickle (nickle has its place), well he didnt have as many nickle as i wanted so he just gave me silver at the nickle price. Thats the kind of stuff that will make be go back time and time again.
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Old 11-20-2015, 07:33 AM   #60
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Yep. I know west linn started this and sells R&B hardware and im sure its great but fishermans shack is just a small drive away from me. Plus its cool to go in and talk to don, hes a great guy and his products are really good. And he's treated me really well as a customer. I went in once and got some silver blades but also wanted like 20 in nickle (nickle has its place), well he didnt have as many nickle as i wanted so he just gave me silver at the nickle price. Thats the kind of stuff that will make be go back time and time again.
Love your spinners and great tip on fishing em. I was just going to ask where guys are getting the hardware. I just met Don last saturday on my way through, really great guy. I think I'll stop by again and get some hardware and try making some spinners.
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