Pennsylvania's trout season has been underway for several weeks and by this time many anglers are thinking – the fish are all caught out. Follow my spinner-fishing advice and you can catch many trout after the easy ones have been creeled.
In my last blog post I touched on the importance of fishing upstream, lure size and setting the hook. This time I'll discuss the retrieve, as well as providing more detail about spinners and casting upstream.
I am often asked which retrieve I prefer for spinners – a steady retrieve or one where you stop-and-start or use a twitching motion. The answer is easy. While twitching or a stop-start motion will attract strikes, I always use a steady retrieve – here is why.
Anytime that you use a start/stop motion, there is a "tight-line" period and also a brief time (right after you pause or twitch the retrieve) when you have a slack line. If a trout strikes during the brief slack-line period, you cannot feel a strike. This takes us back to the importance of setting the hook. If you can't feel the strike, the trout will likely release its grip on the lure before you can set the hook.
I always use a steady retrieve – casting upstream, and adjusting my retrieve speed to the water velocity and channel depth. The best position for your spinner is usually just off the bottom. I caught many trout near the bottom of deep pools this morning. A shallower retrieve did not produce.
Some people suggest casting upstream at a 45-degree angle and swinging the spinner around behind you. There is no doubt that this method will yield trout – particularly if the water is a little cloudy, but the method will not produce the most trout. For small (under 20 feet wide) streams, the trout will often see you before they see your spinner. Only on the larger streams can you cast at that angle and regularly be successful. Even then, I rarely let the lure swing below me. Why? Because that creates a bow in your line and makes the hook set much more difficult.
In Part 1, I suggested not using a light weight, size 0 lure, because it reduces casting distance. The most important thing about a spinner is using one with a free-spinning blade and keeping the hooks sharp. Spinners weighting about 1/8 ounce work well in most stream conditions. I never add lead weight to my line or the lure.
Good luck on the streams.