Jig it deep. Retrieve it slowly along the bottom. Bird dog open water with long casts and stop and go action. Or burn it over shallow weeds. Bass, walleyes, pike, stripers, even trout and salmon they catch nearly everything.
Tail spinners have been around since the 1960's when Tom Mann introduced the now famous Little George sported a simple tear drop shape and is still available today in it's original shape.
Since then, others have improved and embellished on the original design but keeping the original fish catching design. The principal is still the same. A compact lead or tin body with a blade spinning on a wire shaft protruding from the rear of the lure. The line tie is located on the top of the lure and a single treble hangs from the lures belly.
What has changed with many of these lures is detail. As with most lures today, the improved production methods have allowed lure makers to add detail. So much detail in fact that you'd swear that the lure was about to flip itself in the water and swim away.
In previous months, I have featured Do-Its new ultra minnow jigs and spinner bait bodies. The life-like details on these molds are incredible, featuring realistic scales, gills, mouths and eye sockets.
Right now, Do-It does not produce a ultra tail spinner mold. But I am going to show you how to make your own ultra tail spinners from their ultra jig mold.
All Do-It's molds are made from aluminum making them very easy to modify with normal shop tools. Straight slots are easily created with hacksaw blades or tiny needle files. But more complicated operations are more easily accomplished with a hand held high-speed rotary tool like a Dremel tool. Although, most of the operations can be painstakingly done with mini-files, a rotary tool is well worth the investment if you plan on tinkering with molds. I have invested in a flexible shaft attachment for mine and I find that I have much greater control of the tool point. Two small ball shaped metal removing burrs are all you need. One about one-sixteenth inch for making small groves and one about one-eighth inch for removing larger areas of aluminum.
The mold I really like for making tail spinners is the SHR-4-M ultra minnow jig mold. This mold will make tail spinners from one-half to one and one-half ounce in lead and about sixty percent of that in tin. The one-half size is perfect for most bass and walleye situations. The big one and a half ounce is perfect for the big boys like largemouths, stripers, pike and even saltwater species. I'll tell you about my favorite a little later.
The wire form for a tail spinner is shaped like the letter "T" The top of the "T" is formed with two loops. One forms the line tie and other forms the hook connector. The tail of the "T" runs back through the body of the spinner and out through the rear. On this mold, the tail of the "T" will run out the rear of the cavity where the hook shank would normally be. For the top section of the "T" you will have to create a groove opening in the mold.
I have done some extensive testing to find the right position for the wire. On top, the front of the loop exits slightly to the rear of enter of the eye socket. On the bottom, the front of the loop exits directly below where the base of the pectoral fin is on the mold. This is very hard to describe, but please study the photo. If you would like additional assistance, contact me through the magazine and I will send you a "Tech Sheet" that will help you with location.
The easiest way to get started is to bend yourself a wire form that you are happy with. Position it on the form exactly where you want it to lay, tape it down and carefully mark it with pencil or marker. Now, carefully cut a groove with your files or rotary tool until it fits perfectly on one side of the mold. Now remove the wire and get if full of ink by using a stamp pad or watercolor marker. Quickly, place it back in the mold and close the mold firmly so you transfer the ink onto the other side. Now groove that side. You now have a tail spinner mold made from a jig mold. And you haven't ruined it as a jig mold either.
When you cast these lures you will have a collar on the tail of the lure. Remove this by cutting through the metal, but not through the wire with a gate shear or side cutter. When it's cut through all around, it will slide off the end of the wire. There will also be a loop cast into the top of the lure where the jig hook eye would be. This too can be easily removed with a knife or side cutter.
The lure can now be finished in the normal fashion. Lead lures should be painted and tin lures can be painted or left in their shiny state.
The size 2.5 stick on eyes fit on all four sizes, but slightly larger eyes fit into the larger size lures.
Size #2 Colorado blades match up well with the one-half or three-quarter ounce lures and #3 Colorado's finish off the two larger sizes.
After over a year of using these baits, my favorite is a heavy duty model made from the one and one-half ounce cavity, but paired with pure tin. It turns out to be about seven-eighths of an ounce. I then add a size 3 in-line blade and a couple one-eighth inch hollow beads.
It's a slightly larger tail spinner but still fishes well for bass, walleye, and Great Lakes trout and salmon. Although I like .035 wire for most of my tail spins, this one is made using .041 wire and will handle the biggest King Salmon.
As far as hooks go, I like open-eye trebles like the Mustad 35517 in a size 6 for the larger lures and size 8 for the smaller baits. This hook is 3x stronger and will handle most any game fish. I prefer these because trebles added with rings tend to tangle on the cast.
Although the standard tear-drop tail spinners will still catch fish, add a little detail and you'll be surprised how much more effective they are. And as always, it's always more fun to catch a fish on a lure you made yourself.