Get In Line

By Nick Simonson

When fish are active in the warming waters of spring, triggering a reaction strike can be one of the most exciting ways to explore new areas, locate fish quickly and create some memorable outings.  A classic lure that can be customized for all species from trout, to smallmouth bass, to pike and muskies is the inline spinner.  From options with blades as big as a fingernail to those that would cover the palm of a hand, the pulse of a turning blade, and a hook that can be dressed in flash, fur, feathers and other materials makes a perfect tackle item to take on hungry fish in any openwater scenario. 

Got It Covered

Perhaps the best aspect of any inline spinner is its extreme castability.  Most often made with weighted body components and metal beads, the lure presents a heavy weight in a compact size, allowing everyone from trout anglers with light monofilament to pike anglers with thicker superline to hurl them out over great distances and work them back to the boat, covering as much water as possible to find active fish.  The steady pulse of the blade also serves as a signal, for when that cadence is broken – usually by a slight jump or pause in the rhythm – that often means a fish has taken a swing at the bait. More often than not a hard strike will connect with the hooks, but if it doesn’t, slow the presentation down or give the rod a quick snap or twitch to trigger another strike.  The flutter in the blade and the skirt materials that results often drives fish mad and brings them in for a second chance to connect. 

Work Arounds

In flowing water, casting inline spinners in a manner that plays the current allows for seductive swings over holding areas for both bass and trout.  Casting beyond obstructions in a stream, such as boulders, stumps or logs, and letting the water pull the bait down and around these spots, gives anglers a chance to steer their offerings into those likely spaces where fish are tucked out of the current waiting for an easy meal.  Watch for boils and flashes of fish holding just off of the current break or in the pocket and go back a few more times to see if a more convincing strike can be elicited from the fish.  Pay attention as the lure swings across the stream at the top of the arch created between line and flow as the retrieve begins to wrap up.  As the blade changes tempo and the bait stalls, this is when many fish slam the offering. 

Custom Castables

Whether it’s a store-bought model of spinner, like those made by Mepps or Worden’s, or something that’s assembled at home, all inline spinners are easily customized.  Reflective tape can be used to dress up plain blades with flashes of color, scaling and other effects to add to their appeal.  With a sharpie, white and other light colors of hackle, hair or bucktail can be quickly died to match confidence colors on a certain water.  Find out what patterns work best on the rivers and lakes in an area and for the target species and make note for future purchases, or for handcrafted options from the lure making desk next winter.

Inline spinners are an underrated spring offering, and in most places are a bit out of the ordinary as many people equate them only with trout or first think jigs or spinnerbaits for smallmouth, or spoons for pike.  However, having a selection of inlines in the tacklebox will give any angler the advantage this season as fish fire up and become more aggressive as the water warms.  They make a cost-effective way in terms of both time and money to cover water, target fish-holding areas, and determine what each species likes to see best from splashdown to hookset.  Get the blades bumping and connect with fast spring inline spinner fishing.

Featured Photo: Inline spinners work well for covering water and locating active spring fish, from trout, to bass to pike and muskies. The lures can be easily customized as well. Simonson Photo.

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