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This week's Feature Blog

The Power of In-Line Spinners

By: Mark Romanack

Panfish like this whitebass are among the many species that readily attack in-line spinners such as the Yakima Bait Roostertail!

The world of fishing has no shortage of lures that catch fish consistently. One lure group I would describe as “old school” are in-line spinners such as the iconic Yakima Bait Roostertail Spinners. Not only are these fish catching spinners available in a host of different sizes and colors, Yakima Bait probably has the best distribution of any spinner manufacturer in America. Literally every tackle shop that sells spinners is likely to have a very large selection of Roostertails!


The majority of anglers who have faith in spinners have grown up casting these baits. Because spinners work so well on such a wide variety of fish species, the casting applications are almost without limit. Bass, panfish, pike, trout and just about anything else with fins is likely to bite a spinner presented close to cover such as submerged weeds, emergent vegetation such as cattails or reeds, sunken wood or rocks and boulders. Any cover that attracts baitfish is also likely to have game fish hiding nearby.

To get the most from in-line spinners, it’s important to cast these lures on relatively light line and tackle. A seven foot medium/light or light action spinning rod/reel loaded with four to six pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line is a good set up for casting small to medium sized spinners. This set up is ideal for panfish, bass and general trout fishing applications.

For larger fish such as trophy bass, trophy trout or pike, a long “steelhead style” spinning outfit in the Medium/Light to Medium action range makes it possible to cast further and also to handle large fish with ease. Steelhead rods in the 8’-6” to 10’-6” range loaded with eight to 10 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line make ideal spinner fishing set ups.

When fishing spinners around heavy cover, upgrading to a heavier action rod and line set up makes it possible to pitch spinners into open pockets of water and still wrestle bass or pike out of the heavy cover.

Because in-line spinners don’t dive on their own, they are commonly fished in combination with a downrigger that makes it easy to present these lures to any depth the fish might be using.


While most anglers who have a love affair with spinners prefer to cast them, there are a lot of trolling applications for in-line spinners as well. To avoid line twist, it’s a good idea to use a quality ball bearing swivel when trolling in-line spinners. A ball bearing snap swivel can be simply tied at the terminal end to help control line twist issues.

Another option is to tie a barrel swivel in-line about 12-18 inches in front of the spinner. Using an in-line barrel swivel also works to eliminate line twist and creates a stealthy presentation.

Because in-line spinners don’t dive on their own, most trolling applications require anglers to team up spinners with other trolling hardware such as Snap Weights, diving planers, sinking lines and or downriggers to get the spinner to depth.

Traditional style in-line spinners such as the Roostertail can be trolled, but there are also a host of other spinners designed especially for trolling. A few spinners that are designed for trolling include the Mulkey Guide Flash Spinner, the Flash Glo Trolling Spinner, the Flash Glo Squid Spinner, the Hildebrandt Spinner and the Hildebrandt Squid Spinner. All of these spinners can be fished clean or in combination with attractors such as the Fish Flash or paddle style rotators.

Trolling with spinners is popular among anglers who target land locked trout, kokanee and also salmon. Trout and kokanee anglers tend to use light line and rods, while salmon anglers are better equipped with heavier gear.

Both coho and chinook salmon such as pictured here are routinely caught trolling with special weight-less spinners. Yakima Bait Company is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of trolling style spinners designed for targeting trout and salmon. This nice box of fish came on the Hildebrandt Squid Spinner fished in combination with an eight inch Pro Troll paddle.


Casting or trolling, the in-line spinner is a powerful tool for catching a wide range of species. Every tackle box should be stocked with a few casting and trolling style spinners.


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