Spinners or revolving blade type lures are very effective on a fairly wide range of both fresh and salt water fish just as they are straight out of the pack. There are however ways to make them even more attractive to fish especially timid hard to fool fish in gin clear fresh water. How you ask? Well that’s easy, just as in life, if you want to make an impression you need to Dress for Success. Fortunately when it comes to spinners, dressing for success is fairly easy and relatively cheap, pity we can’t say the same about ourselves.
So what is a dressed spinner? Basically it’s just a regular spinner with some fur or feather tied to the hook. The idea is to add to the attractiveness of the lures flash and vibration with a natural wavy tail in the case of feathers and to hide the hook a little in the case of fur (see examples in the picture below). The natural feel of both the feather and the fur also encourage the fish to hold onto the lure a little longer before deciding its not food and spitting it out. This little moment of hesitation on behalf of the fish should see you set the hook more often than not.
So how do you dress a spinner? Well the first thing you’ll need is a ‘spinner’ type lure (e.g. Celta); in general any type will do, just make sure it’s a good quality example. Next you’ll need some fly tying material; I generally use Marabou feather and Deer hair in a range of colours and cotton thread to match the chosen colour. Lastly you need some super glue or equivalent product, just make sure it dries clear. All of these products can easily be found at any good tackle store that stocks a decent range of fly gear or from similar stores on the net.
Now you don’t need to be some legend fly tying guru to dress your spinners, all you need is some patience, perseverance, good lighting sharp scissors and a small vice or other such method for holding the spinner while you tie some fur/feather onto it. A fly tying vice is ideal but if you don’t have one and good ones are fairly expensive, virtually any vice will do, just remember the smaller the better (see pic below).
I tie the fur/feather directly onto the shank of the hook, how much you use is really up to you but don’t go over board, half a dozen trimmed feathers or a couple of pinches of deer hair should suffice in most cases. Now space the fur/feathers evenly around the hook shank, this is pretty easy if your using a treble hook as the hackle will sit nicely between the hook turns. As with fly tying, you put on a little bit, secure it with cotton thread then add the next bit and secure that until you’ve built up the amount of fur/feather that you want. I then generally put half a dozen or so loops of cotton thread around the whole lot and tie it off, any knot will do but if you know how to do fly tying knots then use them. Finally add a drop of super glue to the knot, this will add to its security and generally make up for any less than perfect knots.
Now I like to tie a few in a row and well seeing that you’ve gone to all the trouble of getting all this kit together I reckon you may as well do the same. Try and make a few different colours, I generally match the colour of the fur/feather to the colour of the lure, no not silver and gold rather the accent colour on the blade (e.g. Red, Green, and Black etc). You’ll only need a couple of each colour to compliment your tackle box and don’t be afraid to try new colours or new materials, who knows some gold and silver might just work particularly in the salt water, blue might be another idea as well. Come to think of it I might go and try a few of those ideas out right now.
Happy spinner dressing and remember, Dream it, See it, Catch it.
Words and Pictures by Brendan Keogh Copyright Brendan Keogh 2013