Spinner Building 101


I started spinner fishing around the time I started the blog. I experimented with different brands of spinners; Mepps, Rooster Tails and Blue Fox mostly. They say that the different patterns and colors catch more fishermen than fish, and I think that holds true. I’ve found the Blue Fox Vibrax spinners to be the easiest to learn to fish, and varied sizes and colors depending on conditions. Of all the colors to choose from, black, brass, copper and silver blades with similar colored bodies or perhaps blue or purple have caught the most fish. At $3 or $4 a pop, these add up, especially when you lose four or five of them in an afternoon. A few months ago, I started looking into building my own spinners, and there’s a certain satisfaction in building your own tackle, magnified exponentially by catching fish on a lure you’ve built yourself. I’ve stayed pretty basic in building torpedo and bell-bodied lures, mostly for targeting steelhead in smaller streams. They come out at around $2 a piece, and not only have I caught fish on them, they make a nice gift for any angler friends.

Here’s a basic setup for building a torpedo lure:

The components include:

  • 1/0 Gamakatsu Big River hook
  • .030 open-eye wire shaft
  • 1/4oz torpedo body
  • 3mm bead
  • #2 clevis
  • #4 Silver-plated French blade

Round-nose pliers
Needle-nose pliers


If you have closed-eye hooks, start by slipping the hook over the opening on the wire shaft. If not, you can wait to do this until you’ve finished the rest of the lure (less chance of jabbing yourself with a sharp hook!). Pinch the eye shut and slip the body over the wire end, holding it in place.


Add your bead.


Then add the clevis and blade. Make sure the blade is facing in the right direction (convex side out).

Now comes the only part that takes a little practice. Use your round-nose pliers to grip up the shaft from the clevis. Grip the wire and wrap it towards you and under the jaws. If the wire starts at 12 o’clock, wrap it clockwise all the way around to 9 o’clock. I’ve heard different theories about how far up to put your wire loop as regards to the vibration the lure creates versus the wobble it causes. I aim to have a 1/4 to 3/8 inch gap between the top of the clevis and the bottom wrap of the loop.


Even if this looks like 8:30

Now is the time to add a swivel if you want. Now is also where I change to the larger-jawed needle-nose pliers. Grip the loop you’ve made, and wrap the wire twice around itself.


Now, you don’t have to clip the wire. Wiggle it up and down until it snaps off. This makes a clean break that will make sure your line doesn’t get caught on the tag end of the wire.




And down. Repeat until you achieve desired results


Notice the clean break on the wire

If you have an open-eye hook, now’s the time to pinch that bad boy on, and you’ve made your own spinner.


Now go catch fish!


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