Weight Forward Spinners

February 23, 2009 by  

By Lindy Fishing Tackle

Taylor Maverick Ells with a nice walleye using this unique spinner

Taylor "Maverick" Ells with a nice walleye using this unique spinner

The dramatic comeback of Lake Erie walleye fishing has brought widespread attention to a lure that’s been around for a long time, the weight forward spinner. The weight forward spinner is basically a chunk of lead with a shafted spinner and a trailing hook. It is generally fished with a live crawler or curly-tailed grub.

Weight forward spinners are particularly effective for suspended walleye, and can also be used quite successfully for fishing largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and trout. Like most spinners, they are good basic all-around lures.

The first important task in fishing with a weight forward spinner is finding the fish. This is extremely important because suspended walleyes will often not relate to any bottom structure whatsoever, so unless you can find a school of fish, you can waste a lot of time fishing nonproductive water. The simplest way to find a school of suspended walleyes is with either a depth sounder or graphic depth finder. If you’re fortunate enough to own electronic gear, take a look around and follow the boats. When one boat starts catching fish, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to gather.

A common weight forward spinner rig

A common weight forward spinner rig

Once you’re onto fish, it’s important to properly position your boat to fish them. You can either anchor and cast into the school, or position your boat so that you drift over the school and cast into them. While you can troll over the school and cast, most fishermen prefer to drift and cast a school of suspended walleyes.

After locating the school and positioning your boat, cast over the school of fish and use a countdown with each cast, concentrating on your count as the lure drops. Every fisherman counts differently so we can’t tell you how many feet per second or how many feet per count your lure is going to drop. You’re going to have to experiment with how long you maintain your count before you begin your retrieve, depending on the depth at which the fish are suspended. While your lure is dropping, let the line run out across your finger to detect strikes on the drop. If you feel a strike, hold onto the line and set the hook immediately. After setting the hook, you can take the reel off free spool and land it.

A customized weight forward spinner rig

A customized weight forward spinner rig

After the lure has dropped to what you feel is the proper depth, give your rod a slight tug as you begin cranking. This will make the lure suddenly dart forward and up and make it look alive. This can often be enough to trigger the strike. Return the lure to the boat with a pumping action, letting the rod tip drop after every couple of cranks with the reel. This will alternate the action of the lure between fast and slow and up and down, making it look erratic to the fish.

Make sure that you fan cast so that you cover the entire area quite thoroughly. Vary your count and your retrieve to make sure that you thoroughly work the area and the school. Continue the method as long as it works and when it stops working recheck the school with the depth finder to see if it has moved or if they’ve just become inactive. If they’ve become inactive, don’t hesitate to change lure color or your retrieve.


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