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  • Mark Romanack

Casting Rooster Tail® Spinners For Trout

It seems that every fishing lure has it’s niche. The iconic Worden's Original Rooster Tail made by Yakima Bait is no exception. While this timeless fishing lure literally catches just about everything that swims, it’s ability to fool the various species of trout and salmon into striking is legendary.

Distinctively different than other in-line style spinners on the market, the original Rooster Tail features a unique modified willow leaf style blade that is produced in hundreds of plated and also painted finishes. A premium metal clevis allows the blade to spin even at slow retrieve speeds and in sluggish moving rivers. A hand-tied pulsating hackle drives trout crazy and the Rooster Tail is available in nine different sizes including 1/24, 1/16, 1/8, 1/6, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4 and one ounce versions.

Brown trout like this one are readily caught on the iconic Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner.


Made for the angler who enjoys casting, a slow and steady retrieve is usually the best option when fishing the Rooster Tail. When casting in rivers it’s best to cast across and slightly upstream and allow the spinner to sink to bottom before starting the retrieve. Trout simply can’t resist a steady retrieve that keeps the spinner near bottom and the blade thumping out flash and vibration. Most strikes will occur as the Rooster Tail starts to swing downstream and angle across the current.

Making long casts is also important when fishing the Rooster Tail. Not only do long casts cover more water, trout are often found in clear water and these fish are easily spooked. The angler’s ability to present a bait before the trout spots the angler is an important key to success.

For casting the smaller size spinners to trout living in streams, creeks, natural lakes, beaver ponds and stock dams, select a light action or medium light action spinning rod/reel combination equipped with four to six pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line.

The author caught this impressive brook trout casting the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner. When it comes to catching trout, salmon and steelhead, the Rooster Tail rocks.

When targeting larger trout, steelhead and salmon with spinners, longer “steelhead style” spinning rods are important not only for making longer casts, but also for fighting powerful fish. Gearing up with a little heavier eight or 10 pound test line allows the angler more control of hooked fish when targeting powerful salmon and steelhead.


To avoid line twist many anglers tie a ball bearing swivel to their fishing line and then attach the spinner directly to the swivel. A more stealthy approach is to tie a small barrel swivel to the main line and then add about 12 to 18 inches of fluorocarbon line as a leader. Tie the fluorocarbon line directly to the spinner. Rigging a barrel swivel in-line eliminates any issues with line twist, but allows the spinner to function perfectly and keeps hardware to a minimum.

Using an in-line barrel swivel also opens up the option of using a light braided or fused line as the main line. If braided line is selected, stick with an eight or 10 pound test and choose a low visibility green or smoke colored line.


Spinners are one of those lures that call in fish from great distances. Often a trout will see or feel the spinner and rush over to investigate only to follow the bait without biting. Tipping the spinner with a piece of worm or nightcrawler or a chunk of scented soft plastic like Berkley’s PowerBait creates an important scent trail in the water. The enticement of scent is often the key to triggering reluctant fish into striking.

Trout fishing legend Buzz Ramsey recommends breaking off a small chunk of Berkley Powerbait Power Honey Worm for tipping. Buzz uses about a 1/4 inch piece of Powerbait and pierces it on one of the treble hooks on the Rooster Tail spinner.

Another good option for creating scent trails when using Rooster Tail spinners requires dipping the spinner in a water soluble fish oil such as Pro Cure’s Herring formula. Most fish oils, pastes or gels are sticky and will prevent the hackle from being able to pulsate naturally in the water. Water soluble oils create a great scent stream, but they won’t gum up the spinner hackle.


Most Rooster Tail spinners are available with either a factory supplied treble hook or a single hook option. The single hook option makes it easier to land and unhook fish without harming them.

If the hook on a Rooster Tail gets damaged from hooking and landing lots of fish, the hook can easily be replaced by simply cutting off the factory hook with a side cutter, adding a small split ring and new hook. Many anglers favor Siwash style hooks when re-hooking spinners because they feature an open eye that can be easily placed on the wire shaft of the lure and then pinched closed with a pair of pliers.

Pinching down the barb on hooks is also a great way to aid in conservation. A pair of needle nose pliers is all it takes to pinch down the barb and make any Rooster Tail catch and release friendly. A hook barb that is pinched down with a pliers is usually legal where “barbless” hooks are required, but it is always best to consult local fishing regulations to be certain.

Big stream browns like this one feed heavily on minnows and the Rooster Tail Spinner does an excellent job of imitating this forage.


The smaller 1/24, 1/16 and 1/8 size Rooster Tail spinners are ideal for fishing small streams and beaver ponds. For larger rivers and natural lakes the 1/6 and 1/4 ounce sizes are the most popular choices. When targeting trophy trout, steelhead and salmon the 3/8 and 1/2 ounce spinners are the hot baits. Shop all sizes: Original Rooster Tail®


The original Rooster Tail Spinner is wildly popular everywhere anglers target trout and salmon. With hundreds of color and size options to choose from, the Rooster Tail should have space in every tackle box. Other great in-line spinners produced by Yakima Bait include the Vibric Rooster Tail®, Undressed Vibric Rooster Tail®, Super Rooster Tail®, Sonic Rooster Tail®, Rooster Tail Minnow®

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