Casting spinners – what kind of lures the spinners are and how to use them

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Spinners are very simple but effective lures for any kind of predatory fish, with great history. Maybe they were more popular in the past but still catches fish and probably you can also find a few in your tackle box. There are many different types and manufacturers as well. Models like Blue Fox Vibrax, Mepps Aglia and Dam Effzett are maybe the most well-known ones, but there are lots of other brands and handmade ones – produced in small quantities – too. If you would like to build your own spinner and test your creativity you can easily find parts from the shaft to the blade in huge variation.

Jack Pike grabbed the Mepps Aglia
1. Jack Pike grabbed the Mepps Aglia

Many years ago – if I remember well in 2008 – in a local fishing store the owner recommended me a spinner called Mosca Spanto. It was a cheap, good-looking lure, and I had some positive experiences regarding spinners from my childhood so I gave it a chance although I’ve always prefered wobblers and soft plastics instead of metal lures. And I did not regret buying some of them, it is still one of my favourite spinners. Mosca spinners are made in Italy and Spanto is one of their models. I am not sure they are still producing it or not. It is hard to find any update information about Mosca, but the Spanto is however available in some online shops.

The hardware

Casting spinners - parts of the spinner
2. Parts of the spinner


Spinners are made of metal. The frame of this lure is a stainless-steel shaft. The shaft has an eye where we can connect our fishing line or leader, underneath there are the other parts attached.


Under the eye there is a folded brass or metal clevis which connects the blade to the shaft. This technical solution – where a clevis is used to connect the blade – called French blade. There are some spinners where the blade is connected directly to the shaft which is called Inline blade.


The blade is maybe the most crucial part of the spinner. The material is usually solid brass or plated metal which can be painted, decorated with a sticker or just polished but there are countless combinations.

What is more interesting if we talk about a spinner is the shape of the blade. In general, we could say if the blade is rounder, it will start to spin the slowest retrieve, make biggest vibration and run higher in the water level. These blades are Colorado and Indiana blades for example. These blades are the best usually in lakes or very slow-moving waters, but of course if we do not retrieve them in front of the flow – when they can over-rotate – we can use them in rivers also.

When the blade is more extended it will go deeper in the water and relatively higher retrieve speed or water flow is needed to achieve the optimal rotation. These blades are the Leaf, Willow or Long blades. These spinners are more suitable for fast moving waters but they can be used with good success when a really fast retrieve is needed to make fish bite, even in a lake.

When the colour is selected there are many factors to take into consideration such as water clarity and weather condition. In case of clear water and sunny weather, a more natural, darker colour is a go-to. In murky water or cloudy weather bright and shiny colour is advised if we go by the book. The blade can be painted easily even with a nail lacquer if you want to customize. Changing colour is not the only way to make more/less flashes, you can reach it also with a bigger/smaller blade in the same colour.

The breed of the desired prey is also a main factor. In general chub (Squalius cephalus) like natural colours, in clear conditions, black can be the key of success. Pike (Esox lucius) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are mad about neon and bright colours. Perch (Perca fluviatilis) sometimes can be hypnotized by stripes and dots. But life is not that easy, if a well-known rule does not work, we should try something else.

Perch fooled with a shiny gold blade with red dots
3. Perch fooled with a shiny gold blade with red dots


Under the blade, more precisely under the clevis we can find one or more beads on the wire shaft. They can be produced of metal, plastic, or glass in any colour and shape. They are moving freely on the shaft between the clevis and the body so they are some kinds of spacers.


The body is usually brass and can be made in many different shapes. They give the weight of the lure, makes it easier to cast and depending on the shape it can make some extra sounds and vibrations.

I have to mention the Vibrax here, which has a double piece body. There is a bell on the body which makes low-frequency sound vibrations.

Casting spinners - Vibrax, Spinner with a lead head
4. Vibrax (left side), Spinner with a lead head

And of course, there are spinners without a metal body too. In this case the body is the wire rolled up on the shaft. These spinners are very light and can be cast further only by a lead head on a wire shaft. This asymmetric lead head is able to eliminate the line twist very well but usually available with bigger spinners only.


Spinners most times are equipped with a treble hook. They can be simple treble hooks or dressed ones with feather, fur, flashy synthetic thread or some kinds of plastic lures as trailers also. Only imagination can be the limit in the number of the variations. If you use a dressed hook do not forget that the spinner will go higher and it will give some extra resistance in the water, it will slow down the presentation. The dressed treble or the trailer also can give a bigger profile but not just the visual profile matters. Fish will detect a lure bigger if it makes bigger vibration than its real size.

Usually I am not satisfied with stock hooks. The wire is simply led through the treble hook’s eye and the body where it is bent in 90 degrees. If you want to remove the original treble hook there are two options. The first is if you bent the wire straight above the body and slide the wire out. The disadvantage of this method is that it needs some practice and after changing many times the wire’s material will be softer and might be broken. What I usually do is cutting the treble hook’s eye with a plier and simply adding a split ring between the wire shaft’s lower eye and the hook. In this case you can change the hook easily and quickly if it is needed, and it does not have any negative effect on the presentation or the hook up ratio.

How to use a spinner?

The technique

Fishing with a spinnerbait is quite easy therefore it is an excellent bait for beginners too. The basic technique is letting the spinner sink into the depth where we think fish are hiding and starting to retrieve it continuously. If you stop retrieving the blade is going to stop rotation and the spinner starts sinking. In this period there is a minimal chance to get a bite so continuous retrieve is very important. Stop and go is not a technique for spinners. But of course, you can and should vary the speed of the retrieve which is very useful in many cases if a fish is just following your lure. Slow down or start burning can make the passive fish interested.

Decent pike on a Mosca Spanto
5. Pike caught during a speed-up period

The minimal retrieve speed is when you feel that pulse in your rod tip when the blade starts rotating. If you retrieve the spinner too fast it might come up to the surface. Retrieve speed will impact the depth of the lure. With a slower retrieve the same spinner will go deeper, with a faster retrieve it will go higher. When the spinner won’t start working give a little twitch to the rod which usually helps to make the stuck blade rotating.

If you use a spinner in a river the flow is going to influence the speed of the blade. In rivers casting upstream or in 90 degrees can be a good technique to prevent over-rotating and going too high in the water level. The optimal speed is what fish reacts for on that specific day, which probably will change next time so this is a factor that you must figure out every time. This is also true for colour, size and blade profile selection.

Casting spinner in a bay of the Danube
6. Casting spinner in a bay of the Danube

The spinners are tending to twist the fishing line due to the fact that the blade is rotating around the shaft which makes it spin around itself too. This is something you must live with if you use these kinds of lures. Braid is advised instead of mono lines and after several casts give a little time to the line to spin back while leaving it just hanging on a long line with the rod for a minute. A quality swivel also can reduce the effect of line twisting.


Using a spinner means – due to the continuous retrieve – that you will have direct contact with the lure without any slack line. Once you have made everything right and a fish bites, you will feel it very intensely and the fish is usually already hooked. In case of a powerful hook-set the hook can be torn out especially when using braid and in case of species with a soft mouth like chub, asp (Aspius aspius) or ide (Leuciscus idus). So, do not forget to check the drag and set the hook gently. Do not cause any unnecessary injury to the fish.

Decent pike on a Mosca Spanto
7. Decent pike on a Mosca Spanto

Hope you liked my article. If yes, put some spinners into your tackle box next time and give them a try. I wish you tight lines!

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