Spinning is one of the most popular types of sea fishing across the British Isles. It is mostly associated with fishing in the summer when species such as mackerel, bass and pollock are present around the UK, although fish can still be caught on spinners during the rest of the year. There is a huge range of different types of spinners that are used in UK sea fishing ranging from small and delicate spinners of just a few grams to those weighing over 100 grams which are designed to be cast long distances. The different of types of spinners and their advantages and drawbacks are considered 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 means 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, effective, widely available and extremely popular around the whole of the UK, with mackerel, bass, coalfish and pollock and many other species all regularly taken on this type of spinner. Sea Angling Shop sells minnow style spinners starting at just £1.09 for the 30 gram size. View them 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 rotating blade fitted to it. As they are pulled through the water the blade revolves, reflecting light and creating a disturbance that attracts larger predatory fish. They can come fitted with either a single hook or a treble hook. Traditional mackerel spinners have declined somewhat 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 from Sea Angling Shop for £2.49 for a packet of three.
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 since the 1950s. They have a wobbling retrieval action that imitates a small injured 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 ½oz – 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 and 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 are popular their shape and design means that they can be more expensive than other types of spinners used by anglers around the British Isles. Purchase WSB Wedge Lure Sets 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 for many 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.
Spoon Spinners – Spoons are a type of wide and flat spinner which are widely used in sea fishing. They date back to a design first created by J. T. Buel in the USA in the 1830s. Some spoon lures are simply cast out and left to flutter and move in the tide where they will attract fish to a baited hook, while other spoon shaped lures are designed to be cast out and then retrieved like any other type of spinner. Spoon spinners effective at catching a wide range of predatory fish and are a good all round choice for anglers fishing in UK waters. Zebco Classic Spoon spinners can be bought in three different colours from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.
Mepps Spinners – Originally made by the French company Mepps in the 1930s, 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 that 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.
Colour Spinners – There is much debate in sea angling over which is the most effective colour for fishing lures. Many people believe that silver is the best colour as this mimics the colour of the natural prey of predatory species. However, other anglers claim that brightly coloured lures are more effective as they are better at catching the attention of hunting fish. There is also the belief that dark colours work well as they will be silhouetted against the surface of the water as predatory fish attack from beneath. For these reasons some anglers choose to purchase spinners in a range of colours so they can experiment and see which spinners work best for the species they are targeting. Hengjia 30g colour spinners are available in a range of five different colours from Sea Angling Shop at £2.09 each. View and purchase these 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 weigh just a few grams. 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. Sea Angling Shop Glitterflash Spinners weigh 7 grams and are available for just 45p each 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 4 or 6, although spinners that are designed to fish for larger species such as bass or pollock may be fitted with size 2 treble hooks. While split rings and swivels are robust and usually last a long time, hooks will inevitably become blunted through contact with rocks and the seabed when a spinner is used. For this reason most anglers take replacement treble hooks with them when they are fishing with spinners so they can be replaced during a fishing session if necessary. Buy treble hooks in a range of sizes from Amazon by clicking here or purchase WSB Treble Hooks from £2.69 per box from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here. It is not necessary to use treble hooks with spinners. Many anglers who are fishing on a catch-and-release basis swap the treble hooks for standard J-hooks if they are planning on returning the fish they catch, and also crush the barbs of these hooks so that they can return the fish they catch more easily and with minimum damage to the fish.