Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fishing Spinners

By Phil Rabideau

Rod Selection The first prerequisite to effectively fishing spinners or spoons is to select the proper fishing rod. Stay away from the touted "fast" tip rods and go with a "moderate" action rod. Not only are moderate actions more forgiving to cast, you can make your casts far more accurately, Also, moderate action rods "give" the lure to the fish with less resistance and do not pull the lure from the fish's mouth. Expert fisherman have discovered they get far more hook ups with softer rod actions. For big water and longer casts, go with longer rods. In any case, check the manufactures specifications on the blank, which gives you the lure weight for which the rod was designed.

Reel Selection Do not skimp on the reel...all reels are not the same. You should bias yourself towards reels that utilize several ball bearings...the more the better. Good reels are not cheap, but a solid, long term investment in fishing satisfaction. Keep them clean, keep them oiled and they will last a lifetime.

Casting or Spinning Rods & Reels?
Using a spinning rod or a casting rod, is a personal choice, I use both. You can achieve more accuracy with a casting outfit, because your thumb is in control. You need to be able to adjust them for changes in lure weight, and are generally harder to master. A six foot, medium action, casting rod with a fine reel is my prescription for casting accuracy. Albeit longer rods are required for many situations.

Spinning Gear There are tricks to mastering spinning gear too. When you cast with a spinning rod, always stop the lure with your finger tip touching the spool. This does three important things: it takes the slack and twist out of the line; it puts the lure in the proper landing mode, plus it keeps those bothersome loops from forming in the spool. The worst thing you can do when using a spinning rod is cast up into the wind and stop the lure by cranking the reel. You will spend all day trying to keep the loops out of the spool.

Fighting a Fish Never crank against the drag while fighting a fish. Drags are only to let the fish run and keep the line from breaking, not to meter the pull exerted when fighting the fish. Use the bend of the rod to fight the fish not the reel. "Pump" the fish in by alternatively pulling with the rod tip then cranking the tip back towards the fish, always keep a bend in the rod.

With spinners and spoons, I use monofilament line for several reasons. First, the lines stretch aids in "giving" the lure to the fish, plus fight and land the fish without harming it. Second, rods can sometimes break with braided line, and you just do not need that to ruin a good fishing trip. Plus, monofilament gives you great flexibility in sizing the line to the circumstance. Buy your line in bulk and change it frequently.

I have seen little evidence that fish are line shy, particularly in faster moving water. I size my line depending upon the lure size, the expected size of the fish and the obstacles to be encountered in the water. I also size my line to be able to clear snags without loosing too many lures. It is important to note however that heavy lines limit the depth a given lure can effectively be fished. With ultra light tackle, and #00 or #0 lures you need four or six pound test line. For size #1 and #2 lures I usually use eight pound line to be able to clear hang ups. I use 12 pound test a lot starting at size 3 and larger because of bigger water and bigger fish. You can catch very big fish on moderate test lines depending upon your rod and reel plus your skill level.

Line Selection Once in a while salmon fishing, I will go to 17 pound test with larger lures. Once in a great while in Alaska, I will go to 30 pound test line for major fish where there are lots of obstructions with which to deal. When trolling, go to the smallest line practical as not to impede depth control.

Hooks One of the easiest ways to improve your fishing success, is to make sure all your hooks are razor sharp. Mepps uses the highest quality hooks, but they too can be dulled through time and use. The best way to sharpen hooks is with the inexpensive, Cone Hone, by Mister Twister. With a press of a button you can hone your hook points to an ultra strong, precision, conical point.

Swivels Mepps makes the World's #1 Lure, the Aglia spinner, plus other spinners and spoons of the highest quality and effectiveness. But, all that is for naught unless the spinner or spoon is tied correctly to the line. Use swivels sparingly, if ever, as they do more harm than good. Spinners are designed and balanced for optimum performance without such encumbrances. Quality spinners are not the cause of line twisting problems. Fish the spinner as described earlier, plus a quick glance at the spinner before each cast to insure it is clean. The main causes of line twist are poor casting practices and strands of bottom materials clinging around the blade's attaching clevis or the hook.

Barrel or crane swivels do not swivel effectively under tension. For trolling, where the lure is checked infrequently, it is all right to use a ball bearing swivel, but make sure it is well back from the spinner or spoon.

When I begin fishing, I may use a black, interlock wire snap to easily change spinners. However, once I have determined to proper lure, I tie directly to the spinner's eye. This precludes the snap from catching under the spinner's blade, which can happen all too frequently. On the other hand, always connect a spoon to the line with a rounded, interlock wire snap. Because a spoon wobbles sideways, we want the spoon's eye to act freely from the constraints of the line which is in tension. My favorite spoons are the Mepps Syclops for casting and Syclops Lite for trolling, and fished as prescribed are outstanding spoons.

Knots The weakest link in using terminal tackle is the knot. Poor knots account for the majority of lost fish and lures. There are only two you need to know, the Palomar and the improved clinch knot. The Palomar will never slip, but is cumbersome for tying on large lures. The improved clinch knot is an old standby, but you need to insure that you make enough turns around the standing line. The smaller the line, the more turns that are needed. When tying knots, always lubricate them with saliva before snugging them tightly and finish off by pulling the tag end firmly.

Fish Holding Areas Fish spend the majority of their time in rivers or streams on or near the bottom. This is because fish hold where there is less current to conserve energy. Also, fish hold behind rocks and logs for the same reason, plus taking up ambushing positions. Fish will move to shallow water, for example in tailouts and ripples when the food is there, but do not stay long in fast current. It is important in streams and rivers that the spinner or spoon tick to bottom frequently to insure the lure is working along the bottom. That is why casting upstream is essential for stream and river fishing. Quarter casting and allowing the spinner or spoon to tumble into the fish keeps you on the bottom too.

In large bodies of water, fish are stalking bait fish which are at specific depths. Depth control is very important in fishing to insure the lure is in proximity of the fish, and they can see the lure. Lure color and brightness are a significant factor in lure effectiveness, but is covered in detail in other Mepps' articles.* All this is to say is that you must select the right lure for the fishing conditions and operate at the right depth. Mepps makes three outstanding spinners for depth control. The classic Mepps Aglia with the famous French blade, which is designed for fishing at moderate depths. The Mepps Aglia Long, with a willow leaf type blade, which will runs deeper than the Aglia, and is necessary to get to the bottom of larger rivers. And, the Mepps XD (Extra Deep) with hole mounted blade and extra heavy brass body which is unequaled in deeper, faster waters. The Mepps Sylcops spoons are suitable for larger bodies of water, long casts or trolling. Here line weight, lure size and speed are the depth determinants.

I have fished Mepps spinners since the fifties. I do all kinds of fishing, but casting spinners and spoons is by far the most fun. Mastered properly, you can out fish anyone, yes even the fly fisherman...I do it most of the time. But it is like any other skill, it takes practice and utilizing the above tips. Like many of your fathers and grandfathers, I have been using Mepps spinners for nearly 50 years...they are the absolutely the very best.


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