Making Trout Spinners: 5 Steps (with Pictures)

I’ve always been someone who tries to make things myself, fix anything broken and do things on the cheap. So, when it comes to fishing that means making lures, and I think trout spinners are one of the easiest out there to make. So if your keen to make some yourself then read along

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Step 1: Components Needed

You can go all out buying fancy lure bodies etc, but I’ve found that apart from buying the blades, clevises and stainless wire, the rest you can find from digging around the house or buy from the $2 shop (I am in Australia, and unlike the US we don’t have dollar stores, we have $2 stores, because everything is twice the price in Australia!). Tool count is minimal-1 pair of pliers, but optimally you can mod or buy proper ones, as I will go over.

Everything I use is in the photo above, most is self explanatory but I’ll list the details.

• French blades. I like the smallest you can find (0), as I’ve always had better success with smaller spinners. Don’t bother with this style of lure with anything other than a french blade. I’ve gotten deep cup colorado to work, but it’s hit and miss and there are a lot of tricks to getting them to work, when a french blade will just work fine without tricks or hitting and missing. These are fancy and painted by a friend, but that’s not needed either.

• Clevises. Same place you get the blades, get the smallest you can, though size isn’t a big issue.
• Stainless wire. For these lures, breaking strain isn’t important. I’m using about 140lb currently as its what I have left. Little bit heavier or lighter is fine, they are just trout, and using finer wire will make your life easier. You want high tensile stuff, makes a lot nice loops and won’t bend during use.
• Beads. Get small beads from the cheap shop in the craft section. Lots of choice in colours, go with what you like the look of.
• Weights. I found some fancy tungsten bead type thingies in a cheap shop, and use them on my lures for the moment, and a friend got me these bracelet bead thingimibobs, also from a cheap shop. These aren’t important, and I’ve used small sinkers on a lot of lures that have worked very well. You just need weight.
• Hooks. I’ve been using singles, but use trebles if you prefer.
• Split rings. Small as possible is best. Can actually get away without them if you want, as I’ll explain later.

For the pliers, you can get away with normal small long nose pliers, but for nice round loops in your wire you want a round plier (if that’s a word-one of the arms). I’m sure you can get proper jewelers pliers or similar, and I’ve considered circlip pliers, but none suited my needs. So, in keeping with my cheap and DIY nature, I made mine. I just took to a cheap pair of pliers with a grinder to round off one of the arms, and when it was close I used the Dremel to neaten it right up so it didn’t burr the wire and potentially cut the line.

For buying the blades and clevises, I ended up having to mail order from the US as I couldn’t find anywhere here in Aus, or that was affordable. Wire you can find at just about any tackle shop, except the one I work at……

Step 2: Bending the Wire

The first step is bending a 45 degree bend in the wire. This will start the loop forming evenly, rather than bent to one side if you don’t do this (you will see what I mean if you make one without doing this). Make sure you leave a reasonable amount past the bend, say about 40mm (1.5″ for you imperial folk), for making the loop and breaking off the end (Covered soon).

You then grab the wire with the pliers, with the loop to be formed over the rounded plier arm as shown in the second photo (if you can’t see, the flat arm is underneath, and the rounded on top where the loop will go), grabbing a little up from the bend. Its pretty intuitive from here, but bend the tag end of the wire all the way around so its a loop, and then wrap the tag end around the main wire twice to complete and secure the loop.

Now your left with the tag end sticking out, and is where you will be thankful you didn’t make it too short. If you cut it off with sidecutters here it will leave a sharp part that sticks out a few mm, but there is a neat trick to break it off close and blunt. As shown in the 4th photo, stick your loop pliers in the loop to hold, and make a little “handle” at the end of the tag end. You then wind this little handle around like your winding a boat winch or hoisting up the clothes line, with the little bent part at the end your handle. I like to use pliers for this part, with the handle sitting in the grooves so it doesn’t grab. This will twist the tag end right on where it loops around the main wire, and it will snap clean off in tight if its done right. Occasionally you will get a little bit sticking out, but you just use the pliers to move it in tight. A lot easier than trying to cut it close.

Last photo is your completed loop. I like to start with this as the front of the lure, but it doesn’t matter what end you want it to be.

As I do the loop on the end of the roll of wire, I then have to snip off a section. Just picture your lure size, and then add about 50mm. If you go too short you’ve wasted the whole lot you have just snipped off, so better to waste a little and give yourself plenty to work with when finishing off the lure.

Step 3: Add Your Components

Now comes the very easy step of adding your components. Not too much to say here, except think about what weight you want the lure and add as appropriate. The only important bead is the one that will be under the clevis, the rest are just for show and are chosen for colour or whatever. Another thing to be careful of is making sure that you have the blade facing the right way, easy mistake to make and one I’ve never done, cough cough, of course, cough!

Step 4: Final Loop to Finish It Off

Now your just about done, with only the final loop to go.

Make sure you leave enough room to make the loop and wraps around the main wire without everything tightening up and jamming the lure. Another easy mistake to make when trying to be really neat and close, and another mistake I’ve never made, cough, ever, cough….If you do happen to do this, just crush off one of the unimportant beads to loosen things up (as in, any bead but the one under the clevis).

So, just like the front loop you start with a 45 degree bend, put the pliers so the loop will go around the rounded arm of the pliers, and come all the way around.

At this point, you can choose to run split ring and hook, in which case you go ahead, and make the full loop, or you can throw your hook on now and have it permanently on there. When/if you need to change it, you just cut the hook loop and then replace with a split ring and hook leaving the loop on the lure. Its freshwater, so isn’t harsh on hooks, and I find I normally lose the lures before the hook is trashed, so I often do it both ways depending on my mood, moon phase, or whatever other hair brained idea I have running through my head at the time.

The only thing I find with the loop at this end is I have to force the tag end up to 90 degrees to the main wire before I start wrapping. Takes a bit of finger pressure, but will reward you with nice wraps that lay exactly next to each other, looking schmick and professional.

You then go ahead and do the little handle winding jiggity to break the tag off. You can see in the last photo that I had one of those mentioned earlier that didn’t break off exactly close, I just crushed it in with pliers and it looks perfect now.

If your doing the split ring and hook thing, then go ahead and add your hook of choice. I often use singles, and I find a no.4 sits well on these with a 0-1 size blade. Some like to add some colour to the hook, and I don’t think it hurts. Red wool works as well as any fancy fly stuff for these, so that’s often what I’ll use.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Finished Lures

Now its time to go fishing……unless your me, and your stuck at home making lures cause its better than doing nothing fishing related!

I would guess that most readers would know how to fish these, but in case you don’t I find that these work well with a reasonably slow, steady retrieve. I prefer fishing creeks and rivers to dams for our trout here in Aus, and depending on time of day and time of year I don’t think there is any part of the river I haven’t seen trout in. From obvious slow deep pools to full blown rapids, where the rapids run into a pool is a key spot, and I’ve even seen them in tiny little shallow parts on the edges of pools and rapids. So find your river, and start working all of it until you start seeing fish.

If you cast up into a rapid, you have to be quick to get winding and wind really fast to keep the lure working as the water rushes towards you. Takes a bit of practice, but I find if I have a few casts in a pool and get a feel for the tension the lure puts on the rod and line, I can then work it through the fast water and know that the lure is working. You can work it across the rapids as well with good success.

The first picture is of a bass I caught on one of these home made spinners in Bracebridge, Canada while visiting some of my wifes relatives last year. Awesome place. The other photo is of a brown trout caught at a stream I visit regularly, caught right in front of camp in a fast flowing rapid on a weekend when I couldn’t keep the hooks in any other fish! Dropped so many fish that weekend, but that’s fishing.

I really hope I’ve been able to help some people out there make their own spinners. Its really quite easy and I find I save a lot of money, as well as being able to customize the weight to what I prefer, with other colours etc. Not to mention the pride of catching a fish on something you made yourself. Any questions or comments I would love to hear from you. Be nice to see any fish caught on these as well.

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