Fishing With Inline Spinners: Should You Be Adding Weight?

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Fishing using spinners is one of the more effective ways to cover water and catch fish. One of the common questions I hear is whether or not you should be adding weight to your Rooster Tail, Panther Martin, or Mepps spinner. That’s what we’ll be covering in this post.

In our opinion, the only time you’d need to add weight to your spinner is when you’re trolling or jigging deep. Adding weight will help your spinner sink to the right depth since spinners are normally pretty light. If you’re casting and retrieving and you’re using the right gear, there’s no reason to add weight to your Rooster Tail, Panther Martin, or Mepps spinner.

If you’re using a heavier rod and have a tough time casting your spinner, you can add a small split shot weight 18 inches above your spinner. It won’t impact the presentation of your spinner that much and it shouldn’t scare fish away, but it could give you a few tangles every now and then.

The Right Gear To Use

If you’re using the right gear for the job you should have no issues at all casting a spinner. If you’re using heavier equipment then you can always use a heavier spinner but that’ll probably catch you fewer fish.

The first thing you need to do is use the right rod. Anytime I’m casting with a Rooster Tail, Panther Martin, or Mepps, I’ll use an ultralight or light action spinning rod. These should easily let you cast a 1/16 oz spinner.

I’ve been able to catch trout, salmon, crappie, and some smaller bass on these rods. Obviously, if you’re going after some bigger salmon or bass then you’d have to use at least a medium action rod. If that’s the case, use a bigger spinner.

Fishing with spinners

If you’re going to be trolling or jigging then you don’t have to use a light action rod either. You don’t need to cast and that’s why the rod isn’t really a big deal. If you’re fishing shallow water, you could probably just use a spinner with no weight. If you’re fishing deep, you’ll want to add some weight to your line (I’ll show you how to do this below).

The final thing you need to do is pick the right fishing line. You might not think it makes a difference but I was really surprised by how much further I could cast by changing my line. If you’re fishing with heavier stuff you’ll probably have a really tough time casting lighter lures.

For 90% of the rods and reels, I’ll use braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. I like using braid because it’s thinner and I can use heavier stuff (10 lb braid is the same size as 4 lb mono). Since I’m using a thinner line, I’ll be able to get more distance on my casts. Also, I’m not going to break off as easily if I do get snagged.

I like using a fluorocarbon leader because it sinks (braid floats) and it’s invisible in the water. If you’re fishing really shallow water (creeks and streams) then you could use a monofilament leader instead.

If I’m fishing for smaller fish (kokanee, rainbow, crappie, etc) I’ll normally use 10 lb braid. My go-to is Sufix 832 but there are a bunch of good ones out there. I’ll then use 6 lb fluoro for those smaller fish and my leader length will be 4-5 feet long. I normally use Seaguar Red Label.

If you’re going to be fishing for bigger fish then you can always use 20 lb braid and 12 lb fluoro. 20 lb braid is the same thickness as 6 lb mono so you’ll still be able to get good casting distance out of it.

How To Add Weight For Trolling/Jigging

If you’re fishing deep or there’s a lot of currents and you need to get your spinner down, you’ll want to add some weight. You don’t need a lot and you probably shouldn’t use a lot because it’ll mess with the action of the spinner.

I’ve seen some people put a little split shot weight right above the spinner but that’s probably not going to be enough to get you the depth you need. What you’ll want to do is attach a larger weight a few feet away from the spinner.

What you’ll want to do is take your main fishing line and attach it to the 3-way swivel. On one of the other sides, you’ll put 12-24 inches of line and attach your weight (the kind really doesn’t matter). The amount of weight you use will depend on how deep you want to go and how much current there is.

On the third side of the swivel, you want to attach some line that’ll lead to your flasher. I normally use heavier fluorocarbon or monofilament for this and have the length around 3 feet. You can then attach your favorite flasher.

You can then attach your leader to the other end of the flasher. You’ll want to use as light of line as you can get away with and the length should be somewhere around 24 inches. You can then attach your favorite spinner.

All you have to do now is experiment with how much weight you need and how fast you should be going. I like to keep my speed constant and then the only thing I have to worry about is how much line to let out and how much weight to put on.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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