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By Richard Mellon -- http://www.theoutdoorquest.com/articles_8.htm

Spinner Rigs and ReelBaitBouncers and blades are productive on walleye through out much of the open water period. Spinners and bouncers excel as a search technique especially in the warmer water summer periods when walleye scatter out along drops, flats or weed lines. While the bait used and the speed of the presentation will vary usually with water temperature this technique is one basic every walleye angler needs to have in his bag tricks.




Anatomy of a Rig

I used to tie all my own spinners, for the flexibility this allowed me. I could customize my rigs to adapt for any situation that arises. Today I use Reel Bait spinner rigs and components. The high quality of their rigs give me the confidence to use them everyday, and should I want a different bead combination than is available in the Bead Back Spinner , I just use one of their convenient pre tied two hook snells and configure my own. The time savings involved is a huge asset in my busy schedule.

My basic everyday rig is 4 feet long. For Ft Peck this will be shortened to 2 feet, on Erie I'll use 17 lb line and so on. By using a Quick change clevis on the Reel Bait rigs, I can change the size, color, and style of spinner blade when ever I want. First off most rigs consist of 1 or 2 hooks to hold bait. Leeches are used on single hook rigs #2, #4 or #6's. The Gamakatsu or octopus style of ultra sharp short shank hook are the most popular. Minnows are also run on a single hook, #1, #2, or #4 long shank hooks like the Aberdeen. Crawler harnesses used to also be single long shanked hooks, with the worm being threaded up the shank. Today 2 and 3 hook configurations are more common. #2 to #6 Gamakatsu style hooks are the most effective and commonly used. Great Lakes rigs often incorporate a #2 or #4 treble as one of the hooks. A battle rages as to which hook , the front or the back should be the treble. My feelings are that spinners are an aggressive tactic and the eye=s are slamming it - usually from the side. So for me the front hook is the treble.

Once the hooks are snelled on beads and or floats are used to make up the body of the lure. These also perform the very important role of spacing the clevis far enough forward so that the spinning blade clears the front hook. You can't have the blade interfering with the hook up percentage. On average 6 - #6 beads will give the clearance necessary for #5 and #6 Colorado blades. Long skinny floats can be used for the body to give the desired profile and a little buoyancy to the lure, remember to have at least one bead in front of the float to give the clevis a nice hard surface to rotate on. By using different shapes of floats you can add a little bit of extra action to the lure. The floatation added is speed sensitive, the faster you go the less impact floats have. Rattles and rattle beads can also be used to add a little extra sound and vibration that maybe important in dirty water or large bait populations. Wallhanger Lures has an innovative body style on the market right now. A soft plastic squid body the kind usually used for salmon fishing is strung over top the beads to produce a realistic feel to the bait and a more natural swimming action with the soft plastic tentacles.

Spinner blades are available in 4 designs, as many as 8 sizes per design and more colors than you can believe! Each blade design exhibits its own characteristics and reasons for use.


The most popular style , I prefer deep cupped blades in sizes #3 to #8 with #5 and #6 my most common or first out of the box size. Colorado require the least amount of speed to turn the blade. They also produced the most vibration, thump and undulation action in the water. Because of the broad water resistant shape of the blade, the colorado also produces the most Afloat@ effect caused by the helicopter lift of the spinning blade. When fishing a 4' leader and a #5 or larger colorado blade the spinner will actually ride slightly above the bottom bouncer. Proper speed is important here too much or too little will negate this effect.


A slimmer longer blade than the colorado, the indiana requires a little more speed to turn and produces less undulation and vibration. The narrower blade profile produces less lift - on a 4' leader the rig will be pretty much straight behind the bouncer. A little subtler blade used when the eye=s are not quite as active. Same range of sizes available as the colorado, with #3 to #5 the most popular.

Willow Leaf

Very popular on the great lakes, this blade is long and narrow. It requires the most speed to turn making it excellent when pulling spinners at 1.5 mph and above. Also it has a wonderful natural bait fish profile when rotating. Willow leafs produce the least amount of flash, vibration and lift. It is very easy to drag a willow leaf on a 4' leader. #4 blades are my most used size and often I tie two in tandem on the same rig, especially when fishing the great lakes.


This is a relative new comer to the blade scene with a non-symmetrical hatchet or tomahawk shape to the blade. I do not have as much experience with these blades as the others, however my observations so far indicate these produce the most undulation in a spinner rig. Lots of flash and vibration, they require a little more speed than a colorado to make them turn. I have found them to be the most effective when the fish are very aggressive and in suspended scenarios. Three sizes are available in the hatchet with the small and medium covering most of the range.

Colors and sizes of blades can be very important. The larger and more aggressive the fish are the bigger the blades you can use on average. Dirty water or abundant bait may call for a larger blade and fluorescent colors. Hammered metallic=s are always a good bet in clear water. There are several schools of thought on what is more important, blade color or bead color. Several of my peers on the PWT only change bead color and use hammered silver blades. Others use a consistent bead color and change the blade color. Recently I have been experimenting with some specially painted blades. Jim Sutton long time blade guru who runs North Fork Custom Blades has not only come up with some very productive paint patterns - he has developed a multi- layer process that produces almost liquid looking 3 - D finishes. Combining these colors and patterns with some of my favorite bead patterns has produced some pretty phenomenal results.

Fishing spinners behind a bouncer is very easy to learn. One simple rule of thumb to remember is to use 1 oz of bouncer for every 10 feet of depth. Using this rule or guideline allows you to check your speed. Proper base line speed is determined by the angle of your line. While holding you rod horizontal to the water and perpendicular to your boat the correct speed will have the standing line from your rod to the water at a 45 degree angle.

Bouncers are one technique where you can change depths quickly and still effectively fish up or down the sharp break. This makes bouncers very important on reservoirs where depths change radically. I like to find the depth of the active walleye on a point, either watching my electronics or wandering up and down dragging a bouncer and rig. Once I key into the hot depth I'll set the depth track on my Pinpoint bow mount to maintain that critical depth and maximize the amount of time I spend in the most productive water. Often you will find that most active fish will be at the same depth for much of the lake. Spinners and bouncers can help you quickly find the hot depth and bite on the lake.

Spend sometime this season learning how to fish spinners or fine tune your current skill levels. This is time well spent as a bouncer and spinner will catch walleye in everybody of water they habitat in North America.