Spinning is one of the most popular types of sea fishing across the British Isles, particularly in summer when species such as mackerel, bass and pollock can all be caught. There are a number of different types of spinners which are used in UK sea fishing, and the advantages of drawbacks of the various designs of spinners reviewed below.
Related Article: Spinning and Lure Fishing Methods and Techniques
Minnow Style Spinner – This is a generic term for any kind of spinner which is designed to mimic a small preyfish. Their design means that they do not move, wobble or spin to any great extent as they are pulled through the water, but instead rely on their appearance to attract predatory fish. They are a reflective (usually silvery) colour and are designed to resemble species such as sprats, herring and sandeel which predatory fish feed on. The solid design of these spinners mean that they cast well. Most minnow style spinners weigh up to 2oz, meaning that they are most commonly used with light spinning rods. This type of spinner is cheap, widely available and extremely popular around the whole of the UK, with mackerel, bass, coalfish and pollock all widely taken on this type of spinner, along with a range of other species. Purchase Silver Minnow Spinners in 1oz, 1½oz and 2oz sizes from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.
Mackerel Spinner – Traditional mackerel spinners are one of the oldest designs of fishing lure. They are based around a central wire section which has a revolving blade fitted to it. As they are pulled through the water the blade revolves, reflecting light and creating a disturbance which attracts larger predatory fish. They can come fitted with either a single hook or a treble hook. Traditional mackerel spinners have declined in popularity in recent years minnow style spinners (above) have become more common. One of the problems with traditional mackerel spinners is that they are very light, making them difficult to cast unless extra weight is added. Despite this drawback traditional mackerel spinners are still used as an inexpensive spinner to catch mackerel. Click here to buy traditional mackerel spinners at Sea Angling Shop for only 89p each, with multi-buy offers available.
Toby Spinners – Originally manufactured by Abu Garcia (although a wide range of other manufacturers now make this styles of lure) the Toby spinner is a classic design which has been used across the world for many decades. They have a wobbling retrieval action which imitates a small, wounded fish, meaning that predatory fish instinctively attack this type of spinner. In UK sea fishing Toby spinners are closely associated with mackerel fishing, with many manufacturers making Toby spinners in 1oz – 2oz sizes so that they can be used with spinning rods. Toby spinners are available in a wide range of colours, although silver is the most popular. View and purchase Toby spinners on Amazon by clicking here.
Wedges – Wedge shaped spinners/lures (often referred to as Dexter wedges after the original Dexter Wedge design) are extremely popular in sea fishing, especially amongst anglers targeting bass. The design of wedge lures means that they can be cast very far, and they are available in fairly heavy weights (over 4oz/112g) so that anglers looking for extra distance can use them with bass rods and even beachcasters. Wedge lures are designed to move with an erratic action as they are reeled in, meaning that they catch and reflect light and attract predatory fish. Wedge lures are often silver in colour, although they can also come in gold, red or various other colours, and sometimes have feathers attached to the treble hook. While larger wedge lures may be designed for bass fishing they are available in sizes down to ½oz or even smaller, and in these smaller sizes they are extremely effective for mackerel fishing. While wedge shaped spinners/lures are popular their shape and design means that they can be a little more expensive than other types of spinners used by anglers around the British Isles. Purchase Zenith Silver Blade Wedge Lures in a range of sizes by clicking here. Alternatively a set of four high quality Shakespeare 21g Wedge Lures can be viewed by clicking here.
Slim Spinners – There are a range of slim spinners on the market which are designed to imitate sandeels – a species which is prey many species of fish around the British Isles. These spinners can come in a range of different colours and are extremely effective for not only mackerel but also bass and pollock, and often have a spinning or twisting action which provokes larger fish into attacking. However, anglers should be aware that due to the slim nature of these spinners they can be very light, and anglers should ensure that any slim spinners which are purchased are of sufficient weight to cast. By slim spinners manufactured by WSB Tackle from by clicking here.
Mepps Spinners – Originally made by the French company Mepps, this type of spinner became popular in the USA in the 1950s and continue to be widely available today. Most Mepps spinners consist of a spoon-like blade which revolves around a central body. This creates both a visual attraction and also sends out vibrations which predatory fish pick up. There is a wide range of Mepps spinners available with a range of different colours and designs on sale. The Aglia™ (pictured) is the original Mepps spinner and still one of the most commonly used today. While Mepps spinners are often used by freshwater anglers many sea anglers find that they can be used to catch mackerel, coalfish and other smaller species, although the lightness of many Mepps spinners can sometimes make them difficult to cast. Mepps spinners can be viewed and purchased on Amazon by clicking here.
Mini Spinners – Today many anglers take part in LRF (Light Rock Fishing) and HRF (Hard Rock Fishing) and target small fish which were previously ignored by most anglers. This has led to very small spinners appearing on the market which can be as light as five grams (or even lighter). While some of these spinners are designed to be baited and slowly pulled along the seabed in a similar manner to a spoon, others are designed to be used as traditional spinners to catch a range of small species. Many mini spinners are so light they can only be used with specialist LRF rods which have a casting weight as low as 0.5 – 7 grams. Buy Cronus 7g Aral Silver Spinners (pictured above) by clicking here.
Hooks, Swivels and Split Rings for Spinners – Most spinners which are bought from fishing tackle shops or online retailers will come with hooks and a swivel already attached to the body of the spinner with split rings. The swivel is very important as it prevents the wobbling or spinning motion of the spinner from transferring to the line, which would cause the line to twist, weaken and eventually snap. Most spinners have treble hooks attached as these provide the best chance of providing a secure hook hold to any fish which attack the spinner. The most common size for treble hooks used with spinners is size 2 or 4 as this is small enough to catch species such as mackerel but also strong enough to handle larger fish such as bass or pollock which may also go for the spinner. When spinners have been used several times the hooks may become blunted through contact with rocks and the seabed, while swivels and split rings may become weakened through wear and tear and rust. For this reason most anglers take a small supply of swivels, split rings and spare treble hooks with them when they are fishing with spinners, allowing any damaged components of spinners to be easily replaced.