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Heavy Metal?

My reference to “heavy metal” here is not about that so-called “music” that I occasionally come across as I’m searching for something worth listening to on the radio. No, I’m actually referring to metal fishing lures, which at one time was a mainstay of the fishing lure business. While metal is still used in many lure types, other materials have taken over much of the market such as wood, plastic, and especially soft plastics.

Years ago, I started my fishing endeavors using wood and plastic lures like the Rapala type minnows, Jitterbugs and, of course, metal in-line spinners.

In-line spinners became a major part of my lure collection, and I used them extensively for trout and other species. Spinners are still commonly used today, especially for trout, and rightfully so since they can be very effective, and they are relatively easy to use. With the high, muddy or off-colored water conditions we are facing this past week, or so, a spinner might be a good choice for the lure fisherman in a trout stream.

Don’t relegate in-line spinners to trout fishing only though, since they can be an excellent choice for a number of other species. Over the years I’ve done a lot of fishing in Canada and on the St. Lawrence River for pike, bass, walleyes, and other species of fish, and a Mepps Spinner has proven to be a top producer.

One of my favorite pursuits are northern pike; a #5 Mepps Aglia Spinner accounted for a good many of them with catches of 50 or more, sometimes in a single day. The rotating metal blade around the metal shaft with some deer hair and an added black, soft plastic, three-inch worm to the treble hook was a deadly combination. The lure is easy to cast, and you can allow the metal lure to sink to whatever depth you wish to concentrate your efforts.

While a spinner can be a good choice for other species besides pike — bass, both smallmouth, and largemouth, can be taken on spinners and in the appropriate sizes rock bass, crappies, perch, and a number of other species of fish are susceptible.

Bear in mind too, that spinners come in different forms for different reasons. There is the standard in-line spinner, the weight-forward spinner, a spinnerbait (safety-pin look) and a buzzbait, which is a “surface” lure.

A weight-forward spinner is designed for deep-water use, and with an added trailer like a plastic worm or a real nightcrawler, it can be a good walleye producer. A buzzbait is designed for surface use; the unique metal blade creates a disturbance on the surface as the lure is retrieved — at times a good choice for bass, pickerel, pike, and muskies. The spinnerbait is designed to be relatively snag free; the safety pin design allows the lure to ride over wood snags and weeds while the blade still flashes attracting attention.

The spinnerbait has become a major item in my tackle boxes. When you are in a situation where your standard in-line spinner may become snagged on a wood structure the spinnerbait is a good choice. While fishing a stump infested bay in Canada one day, my buddy was constantly hung up on stumps; I was fishing a spinnerbait, and I was constantly hung up on northern pike. It didn’t take long for my buddy to make the switch.

In the days to come, we’ll take a look at some other “heavy metal” lures that can be very effective, but spinners certainly deserve a space in your tackle box.

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