By Montana Grant

Posted: April 15, 2023

Spin fishing is great fun. Tossing metal around ponds and rivers attracts hungry fish and aggressive strikes. These treble hooked lures have been around for over 100 years, but which spinner is best?

The first spinner that I ever used was called a HEPP. They came in silver or gold and had brass and red beads on them. The treble hooks were bare. My grandpa would take copper wire and white chicken feathers to add a feather tail to his Hepps. The first Northern Pike that I ever caught was on one of Grandpa’s modified spinners.

Over the years, I purchased several other spinner brands. The next killer spinner was called a MEPPS. I am sure that there were some patent rights issues with these similar spinners. The other day, my old fishing buddy from Maryland told me about his biggest trout hook up on opening day. He was fishing in a stocked river and hooked a rainbow trout on a #1 Mepps silver spinner. This spinner had a red, plastic skirt around the shank of the treble hooks. The trout he hooked was HUGE! Vernon was unable to fit the fish into the net. It made a few more runs and the hook popped out. He estimated that the trout was over 10 pounds!

Back in the day, I lived on Mepps spinners. They came in a variety of sizes and colors. Some had squirrel tail tied onto the hooks as shirt. Others had a plastic minnow trailer. They worked great. The skirt less Mepps in size 0 was my go-to spinner for years. The truth is that I can’t remember the last time I used a Mepps spinner.

After the Mepps, I discovered Joe’s Flies, Rooster Tails, and even went through “a making my own homemade spinners” phase. They all caught fish and worked their best in different applications.

Joe’s flies could be retrieved enticingly slow. You added a weight a couple feet above them to get the best results. This light spinner was so light that you needed more weight to cast. It also works great on a fly rod. The Cow Dung style was my favorite. The treble hooks also had a tiny stinger hook that worked great.

Rooster Tails were heavier and had a great shirted hair tail that spread out like an umbrella. The yellow #1 was my best spinner in the box for years. I tried other colors and sizes and many fish met their match with this spinner.

My next best spinner is still my go to killer. I first saw this spinner on the Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park. A woman, wearing a bikini, was just slaying the trout using this spinner. There were also a zillion mosquitos and she never was bit once. Anyway, she shared one with me and I still prefer this vibration making spinner. Today I tie yellow or chartreuse impala hair to the treble hooks. In sizes 1-3, I rarely get skunked. My favorite body color is the original style that is yellow with red spots. Walleye love this spinner in black.

For most big water trout and minnow eating fish, I now use the Blue Fox spinners. An old mentor taught me to use “silver in the clouds and gold in the sun.” Blue Foxes have a Vibrax feature, like a Panther Martin, that creates vibrations in the water. Fish sense the vibrations and strike.  I have my best luck with a skirt less treble hook. Since these spinners are heavier, they cast further.

The type of spinner that you select is important but so is how you use them. Accurate casts, depth, speed, and action will help entice hungry fish. Spinners can twist, or spin, your fishing lines as they spin. Tie a small barrel swivel onto the end of your reels line. Now add a 12-16 inch tipped of clear Fluorocarbon line as a shock leader. This leader material is thinner and stronger than other monofilaments. It is also nearly invisible next to braids and other lines. The swivel keeps the line from twisting and the leader makes the spinner appear unconnected to a fisherman. Also, remember to adjust the reels drag. A medium to light action rod makes for great sport.

The final secret for spinning success is simple. Sharpen your hooks! Use a file or pen style sharpener to keep the hook points sharp. This is so important after you get snagged, bump into rocks, or catch several fish. Sharper hooks are also easier to dislodge if you plan to throw a fish back.

Spinners are always winners, if you want to catch more fish!

Montana Grant

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