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  • Mark Romanack

Getting The Most From In-line Spinners

Many spinners like this classic Rooster Tail feature pulsating hackles as added attraction. Before storing these lures it’s a good idea to hang up the spinner until the hackle is completely dry. This simple step insures the hooks won’t rust and the bait will be water ready the next time on the water.

When it comes to producing in-line spinners that catch fish, the Yakima Bait Company leads the charge. The iconic Rooster Tail line of spinners catches just about everything that swims. For generations of anglers the Rooster Tail is as much standard equipment as a fishing pole and fishing line.

Rooster Tail spinners spinners work great right out of the package, but there are some refinements anglers can embrace that make these baits even more deadly.


Because spinners feature blades that are constantly rotating, line twist can become a problem when casting and trolling spinners. Most anglers attack this problem by adding a ball bearing swivel to the end of their line and attaching the swivel to the spinner.

An even better option is to add a small barrel swivel in-line about 18 inches in front of the spinner. Start by tying the barrel swivel to the main line using a Palomar knot. Then cut a 24 inch leader of fluorocarbon line and attach the leader to the barrel swivel and also to the spinner. The finished rig yields a leader about 18 inches long that is invisible to fish. Eliminating hardware right at the spinner and adding an in-line swivel helps these lures perform at their best and virtually eliminates line twist issues.


Adding natural scent is another way to enhance in-line spinners. Anyone who has fished a spinner has undoubtedly witnessed as a fish follows the spinner, but doesn’t strike. Creating a scent trail in the water is a simple way of converting those “follows” into “strikes”.

Because lots of spinners are dressed with hackle avoid gel based scent products that tend to matt the feathers and reduce the natural pulsating action. A better option is to use water soluble fish oils like those produced by Pro Cure. Dipping spinners in water soluble fish oil sets up a natural scent stream in the water and allows the hackle to pulsate naturally. Because these products are water soluble, it’s necessary to re-apply these fish oils every 15 to 30 minutes.

Buzz Ramsey caught this beautiful brook trout by adding a small chunk of a Power Bait Worm to the treble hook of a Rooster Tail spinner. This simple trick creates a “scent trail” in the water that helps turn those follows into savage strikes.

Legendary angler Buzz Ramsey takes a different approach to scent fishing when using spinners. “I like to pinch off a small piece of a Berkley Power Worm and pierce that chunk of worm with one of the treble hooks,” explains Ramsey. “The tiny piece of Power Worm doesn’t hamper the spinner action, but does a great job of creating a scent trail in the water.”


Most spinners are factory equipped with a treble hook. Yakima offers most of their spinners with either a treble hook or a single hook option. Using a single hook is a good idea when practicing catch and release. Also many fisheries mandate using single hooks to reduce hooking mortality.

Pinching down the hook barbs using a pair of pliers is an easy step that dramatically reduces the amount of time required to handle and release fish.

Bryan Darland the store manager at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, Michigan

is a big fan of Rooster Tail spinners. This amazing brook trout was caught on a Rooster Tail

and released on Lake Nipigon in Northwestern Ontario for others to enjoy.


Spinners that feature hackle dressings should be hung and allowed to dry completely before storing them in tackle boxes. This simple step only takes a few minutes and insures the hooks will not rust and the baits will be water ready the next time they are needed.

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