Practical tackle


When spinnerbaits first came to prominence in the U.K. (in the mid-eighties) they created quite a stir, partly because they looked like miniature coat-hangers with hooks, and partly because the anglers using them were catching a lot of pike. It has to be said that a few lure anglers had been using spinnerbaits, or off-set spinners as they were sometimes called, for many years. Most notable of these anglers being the well travelled Fred J. Taylor, a long time promoter of lure fishing in Great Britain. Why spinnerbaits suddenly took off in the way they did is hard to say. No doubt it was due to an upsurge in interest in lure fishing, and also the emergence of the first major lure importer for many years - the now defunct T.G. Lure Co.

Since the early days when they were 'discovered' spinnerbaits have settled into a niche of their own. There are times and places when spinnerbaits are called for, although a few anglers pin too much faith on them. The problem is that spinnerbaits are so good at catching pike it is easy to get drawn into using them just to save a blank, for while they do catch big pike the smaller ones are superb for attracting jacks. I have to say that I have all to often fallen into the opposite camp, and haven't give spinnerbaits the attention they deserve. I now try to carry one or two with me at all times, and I would suggest that you should do the same.

The biggest thing that spinnerbaits have going for them is the fact that they offer the fish-attracting flash and vibration of a spinning blade, without the line twist associated with in-line spinners. An added attraction is the skirt that adorns the hook behind the weighted head. Why pike, and other fish, hit the skirt and not the blades of a spinnerbait is difficult to imagine. After all, they hit the blades of straight spinners, don't they? Perhaps. But then again that's all there is to most spinners. Whatever the reason, it is enough that they do hit spinnerbait skirts more often than not. When people say that big pike engulf the entire spinnerbait they are missing the point that the pike is still (in all likelihood) aiming for the skirt. It's just that having a larger mouth than a small pike the big ones get the whole lure in their gobs. Large musky sized spinnerbaits have much bigger frames. The reason for this is to increase the gap between the hook and the line tie, giving long snouted fish like musky and pike a better chance of getting the skirt/hook alone in their mouth. It is small framed baits that are going to be engulfed, and therefore might be flattened in the pike's mouth, and demand a treble hook somewhere on them to help hook the fish.

Spinnerbait frames come with three different styles of eye, or line tie loop. First there is the rolled loop, rather like that of a safety pin. These are fine for pike fishing as the loop is closed and they collect little weed. The other closed type is the twisted kind. These, too, are O.K. but do collect a little more weed. The final loop type is the open 'R' loop. Intended for bass where no wire trace is needed, the line is tied directly to the loop and so the lure will not slip around. Clip a trace to this kind of loop and half the time the bait will not fish correctly, the snap link slipping down to the lead-head or the blade. For pike fishing 'R' loops must be closed. A quick and easy solution can be effected by putting a section of silicone tubing over the loop to sit in the crook of the loop. A permanent closure is easily made by wrapping a few turns of copper wire around the loop and soldering it in place.

I don't mention specific makes and models spinnerbaits very often for one simple reason, they are almost all the same. The variations in weight, frame size, skirt type and blade configuration mean that spinnerbaits from many sources can be successful. Most of mine have been made to my own specifications over the years by people like Simon Pearce and Dave Scarff. Even then I tinker with them. The few commercial examples I have usually been modified too. Replacement blades are easily obtainable, as are skirts, so I chop and change to what takes my fancy, and the pike's, at any particular time. I have even been known to cut off the small secondary blade on tandem baits to create a single spin when I hadn't got one in the right colour and weight. There are a few larger U.S. spinnerbaits worth getting hold of like the Stanley Muskie Boss, Northland Bionic Bucktail and the M/G range.

The majority of spinnerbaits have the lead head moulded around the wire frame. Various shapes are available, all with different claims made for them. In theory they all sound very good, but in practice most behave in the same way. Slim heads should go through weed more cleanly, but there is always a blade to catch up! Flattened heads are intended to plane the lure upwards, which they may well do. In the smaller sizes it is possible to buy lures known as jig spinners. These are spinnerbait shaped lures that have a detachable jig head as the weight. By no means as weed free as true spinnerbaits, owing to the clips bent into the wire frame. They do have the advantage that only a few frames need to be carried in conjunction with a box of dressed jig heads in various sizes. Some people prefer this type of lure as they feel that the direction of pull when you set the hook is in a more direct line to the hook as the lure collapses when you strike. This is perfectly true, but these jig-spinners are too small for most purposes. I have seen one musky sized example listed in an American catalogue, which looked interesting but lacked the interchangeable head. Maybe there are developments to be made in this area in the next few years.

Articulated spinnerbaits helicopter well in my limited experience and they also have the advantage that you are unlikely to distort the frame when applying a lot of pressure. After a hard scrap with a spinnerbaited pike the frame is quite often bent out of shape, and even twisted out of alignment by being clamped in the pike's jaws. This has happened to me with quite small fish. If the wire does get distorted make sure that you bend it back into shape before fishing on, as a twisted spinnerbait will not track true. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that spinnerbaits can be tuned, to some extent, to alter their running depth. By closing the angle of the frame they will run a little deeper, and by opening it out shallower and with more throb to the blade. A small point, but one that is worth remembering if a bait suddenly stops catching. Maybe the last fish you caught opened the frame out a bit and altered the lure's running depth. Check, also, that the frame is in line with the hook to keep the lure running true.

Along with a lot of people I used to have the view that the spinnerbait's large single hook would be poor at hooking pike. I took a lot of convincing otherwise and fitted almost all my spinnerbaits with treble hooks as stingers. The reason that spinnerbaits have a reputation for being poor hookers is that people think they get flattened in the pike's mouth and the hook, being designed to be weedless is also masked on the strike. This is theoretically true, but it doesn't require a treble hook as a stinger to improve your hooking success. A stinger hook, for those who don't know, is a hook that is added to a lure to trail behind the original hook. In the case of a spinnerbait this is done by passing the point of the hook through the eye of the stinger, which is sleeved in some form of tubing to prevent the hook coming loose. Adding trebles in this way does improve your hook up ratio, but it also makes them far less good at avoiding weed - which is partly what they were originally intended for. Some of the larger musky-size spinnerbaits come ready fitted with a treble wired into the lead-head. This treble, which hangs behind the main single hook, is often dressed with hair or rubber, and occasionally fitted with weed guards. If you insist on using a treble as a stinger I suggest that you don't add it directly to the spinnerbait hook, but fit it to a split ring along with a swivel. Pass the point of the spinnerbait hook through the eye of the swivel, after slipping a piece of your chosen retaining tubing over the eye. Adding the treble in this way places it a little further back from the integral single hook. This should make the treble more effective in its purpose.

Another pike hooked on a spinnerbait without a stinger hook. This one is a tandem-spin with a large willow leaf main blade.

Two good ways of increasing hook-ups with spinnerbaits are to cut the skirt down until it only just extends beyond the bend of the lure's hook, and to add a single hook as a stinger. Both these methods work, but obviously cutting skirts is more drastic and can affect the bait's performance. One or two musky spinnerbaits come ready rigged with a dressed single. A third hook can be added to this as a stinger. If weed is not a problem, slightly off-setting the hook points of the singles might improve hook-ups. Or try adding the stinger so that the hook point is down below that of the main hook. However, even when using a spinnerbait fitted with a single stinger I find the majority of pike are hooked on the integral hook.

Smaller skirted spinnerbaits have less lift, and the skirt will pulse less as it moves through the water. Having sharp hooks helps too. I may seem to be labouring this point, but no matter what kind of lure you are using sharp hooks increase your success. With single hooked lures there is less need to remove the barb altogether, from a pike welfare point of view, as there will only be the one hook hold to deal with. Even so, large barbs can do a lot of damage and a little work filing the barb down does no harm. I have caught pike on completely de-barbed spinnerbaits, so they don't all fall off these lures either.

Top centre; Poc'it Hopper on a jig-spinner frame.
Left to right and top to bottom: Single Magnum Willow blade with hair skirt and grub. Single Colorado blade, single hook stinger fitted. Fluted/Colorado tandem-spin with living rubber skirt plus grub. Willow leaf/Colorado tandem-spin with hair skirt. Stanley Musky Boss. Large single willow leaf.

I no longer add trebles to my spinnerbaits, finding that these two methods work for me, provided the hooks are sharpened properly. Purpose made stinger hooks are available, but I find most to be too small and too fine in the wire for my taste. Shop around until you find an O'Shaughnessy hook with an eye that will fit over the barb on your spinnerbait's hook. Usually a number 1 or 1/0 will do, except on the largest spinnerbaits when a 4/0 or even larger might be called for. O'Shaughnessys the same size as that of the bait's hook are usually about right for making stingers. Sometimes the stinger will be a tight fit, even crushing the barb slightly on the lure's hook. Don't worry about this, so long as the hook isn't weakened. Surgical rubber tubing is the best for pushing over the eye of your stingers, but thick walled silicone is good as are some kinds of PVC tubing. Try aquarium air line tubing. Stingers can sometimes spin round and face the wrong way, rather defeating both objects of the exercise. Tight gripping tube helps prevent this happening, as can a drop of superglue on the tube.

If you do cut a skirt down and find that you have ruined the bait, don't despair. Spinnerbaits can be revitalised by adding trailers to the hooks, most usually in the form of a twister tail grub on the main hook. As this increases the length of the lure a stinger can be added too. Because single hook stingers effectively lengthen the lure, they improve its effectiveness at hooking pike that nip at the bait. I have had pike apparently nipping at the tail of spinnerbaits rigged with trailer grubs. When this happens, if you have enough space, keep the retrieve going - maybe even speeding it up a little - and a pike which is interested enough to nip at the lure will often take it. I have experienced this with standard skirted baits too, and I take it to be a feature of the way pike approach spinnerbaits fished at a steady speed. Being relatively soft, pike are not too perturbed by grabbing and releasing these lures, and will have a second, third or fourth go at them. Many of my spinnerbaits are rigged with grubs and some have trailers added to the stinger hook fitted to lures with un-trimmed skirts. Large and bulky lures can be created in this way. I am (almost) convinced that the rippling tail of the trailer grub helps focus a pikes attention on the skirt of the spinnerbait. I know other anglers who add a 'teaser blade' to the back of their spinnerbaits. This is a small spinner blade attached to a snap-link swivel which is slipped over the point of, or is wired on to, the rearmost hook on the bait where it then twinkles and flashes just behind the skirt as an extra attractor. The permutations open to you are infinite with spinnerbaits, and I haven't started to look at blade styles and combinations yet!

While spinnerbaits were originally intended for bass fishing in heavy cover, they are by no means totally snag resistant. Soft weed will foul the swivels and clevises stopping the blades from spinning. If you try bumping spinnerbaits along rock bottoms they will wedge between a couple of stones sooner or later. However, it is possible to fish spinnerbaits through fairly dense reed stalks, lily pads and the branches of sunken trees. Expect to hang up in this kind of situation from time to time. Being relatively inexpensive, you can afford to lose the odd spinnerbait without it hurting too much. There are two main types of spinnerbait. Single and tandem bladed ones. There are others, but they are difficult to find, such as twin bladed spinner baits. If you are looking for the best quality spinnerbaits check out the kind of swivel used on the main blade. Top quality models have ultra-free rotating ball bearing swivels, and the difference between these and spinnerbaits fitted with a plain barrel swivel is clear when you come to fish them. Blades spin much more freely, and this can be felt through the rod. The distinction between tandem and double bladed spinnerbaits is simple. Tandem lures have two blades on one wire frame, one turning on a clevis on the wire itself, and the second spinning on a swivel attached to the end of the wire. Twin-spin baits have two wire arms coming up from the lure's head. These latter spinnerbaits have more lift making them good for bulging. Doubtless the lack of these lures on the market is due to their complex design. One wire-form is easier, and cheaper, to manufacture. However, twin bladed buzzbaits are fairly common, although usually quite lightweight jobs. With a bit of ingenuity you should be able to turn one of these buzzers into a twin-spin spinnerbait. Despite the endless permutations of blade numbers and configuration possible with spinnerbaits, I stick with the single and tandem models - mostly the singles.

The construction of a tandem spinnerbait should give you a clue to the way spinnerbaits come through the water. A common misconception is that the lure fishes with the blade directly above the head of the lure. If this was the case, then the blade on the clevis would not spin. For this blade to spin the wire it rotates around must be nearly horizontal, and this is indeed so. The drag of the blades ensures that this is so with all but the heaviest lures. Heavy tandem spinnerbaits that are fitted with small blades will fish at an angle, causing the smaller blade on the clevis to flip, rather than spin. This raises the point that there are critical blade sizes and combinations for the various weights of spinnerbait. Use too large a blade and the risk of the lure rolling on its side or 'bursting' (flipping right over) is increased. Too small a blade will give a poor running angle and make the lure somewhat less weedless.

The same basic rules apply to spinnerbait blades as they do to straightforward spinners. An additional difference is that tandem spinnerbaits have more lift than single bladed models, they also have slightly less vibration from the blades. A single large Colorado blade on a long upper shaft will give off the strongest vibrations. Putting another blade on the wire deadens this. Tandem blades can be used in many combinations. The most common one is to have a small blade on the clevis, and a blade a size or two larger on the swivel. These can both be the same style of blade, or as is often the case, the clevis fitted blade is a Colorado and the one on the swivel a willow leaf or fluted blade. Tandem willow blades are not quite so common, but give the appearance of an extra long blade as they come through the water increasing the bulk of the lure. They also have the least lifting effect of all tandem blade permutations. Willow leaves are the best choice for fishing through reeds, marestails and so on as they have the tightest spin of all, and slip between reed stems with ease. Similarly for fishing rapidly to search for active pike the willow leaf is the best choice. Recently I have been having quite a bit of success fishing spinnerbaits with very large willow leaf blades (no. 7 or 8). These blades have all the advantages of a smaller willow leaf, but have added lift and throb. I find that this gives a large profile blade which can be fished relatively slowly, with a lower frequency vibration compared to the more usual sized willow leaves. At the moment these are my top blade choice, although large Colorado blades are preferred in very cloudy water as they have maximum vibration.

Colorado blades work in a different way to willow leaves, but are good for fishing slowly and for bulging the bait. Bulging involves running a spinnerbait just below the surface, so as to create a hump in the water. Try to keep the blade from breaking the surface as this will cause it to stall and drop, requiring a burst of speed to get it turning again. Should you find a Colorado blade difficult to keep running at just the right speed, try swapping it for a magnum willow leaf. This will have a lessened inclination to break the surface film as it spins in tighter turns, but still makes a considerable wake. If you have never had a pike come up behind a lure snapping its jaws through the wake of a spinnerbait, take my word for it, your legs turn to jelly - especially if it happens on three consecutive casts! Bulging is a minor tactic in my experience, but if you need to use a fast moving surface/subsurface lure but have none with you, try bulging a spinnerbait.

An early morning autumn pike caught on a tandem-spin spinnerbait.

Spinnerbaits can, obviously, be used to fish for pike in or near cover. They can be run over the top of weeds and dropped into the clear pockets. You an even fish them through some kinds of sparse weed without too many problems. A single willow leaf model will work best, without a stinger hook, too keep as much weed off the lure as possible. Another feature of spinnerbaits, one that they share with weight forward spinners, is that the blades spin on the drop. This can be used to 'helicopter' the bait. Basically, letting it drop while keeping the line tight enough to feel the lure working. You can do this when casting to the front of reedbeds, bridge supports or other vertical structure where pike might be holding up. Takes will either be the usual thumps on the rod tip, or the lure will seem to disappear when it stops falling as the pike grabs it. This latter kind of take should be dealt with by winding into the fish first of all. Striking on a slack line is so much wasted effort. If you find yourself frequently having to helicopter your spinnerbaits to get action, it might be worth modifying one or two to improve them for this method. They will work better if the blade arm is short enough to put the blade above the head of the lure, rather than behind it. Not a technique that I use regularly, I have to admit, but one always worth bearing in mind as it can provide bonus fish at times. Now and then helicoptering has been the method, but not often. Single bladed baits work best for helicoptering, and Colorado blades, the bigger the better, will give a slower drop than other blade styles. Jigging spinnerbaits directly under the rod end might also catch pike, as I am sure it does, but I would never go as far as to suggest it as a technique to try on a regular basis. It seems to me far more to be something to do just to prove that it works. It is beyond me why some lure anglers in the U.K. seem so intent on trying to catch pike on lures fished in the wrong way. But I digress.

I suppose that the way I most frequently fish my spinnerbaits is on a steady retrieve, broken by occasional bursts of speed. For some reason this works best for me. Really pumping the lure, sink-and-draw style, does me no good at all, whereas it catches me fish when used with other lures. Other anglers swear by a sink-and-draw retrieve. So it goes. True, I get a lot of followers fishing spinnerbaits on a constant retrieve, but they can be covered again with another lure. At least I have found a fish, which I always think is more than half the battle. The general rule that I apply is to work the lures faster the warmer the water. It has to be said that followers are most common on slower retrieves, quickly cranked spinnerbaits seem to provoke more strikes. The pike don't have time to think, this thing is zipping past and they either grab it or they ignore it completely. As open water search lures I rate spinnerbaits very highly indeed. The fact that many of the larger American spinnerbaits intended for musky and pike are fitted with treble hooks as standard suggests that they are intended to be used in open water, rather than heavy cover. Maybe the yanks rate them as search lures too!

Depth control is pretty much as for standard spinners. Either use a heavier bait to fish deeper, or one with less lift, or simply slow the retrieve down depending on the amount of vibration or flash you want the lure to give off. Finding the right combination of fishing speed and depth on the day is what all lure fishing success is about. If fishing a drain, or river with deeper water in the middle, then by varying the speed of your lure and altering the angle of the line you can carefully make the spinnerbait follow the contours of the bottom. If the far margin is shallow begin retrieving as soon as the lure hits the water with the rod tip fairly high, when you think it has reached the drop off lower the rod tip and/or slow the retrieve. As the spinnerbait approaches the nearside shelf raise the rod tip again and maybe reel a little faster too. Speeding the lure up may well trigger a strike from a follower as well as lifting the lure onto the shallows. If the water is deep where your spinnerbait lands let it sink on a tight line, helicoptering down, before starting to wind it back. Spinnerbaits are excellent countdown lures, allowing you to explore various depth bands in much the same way as you can with spoons, and indeed spinners. Dave Scarff even uses them to feel out the bottom of a swim much as a carp angler does by dragging a bomb along it. Using a spinnerbait in this way will tell you if it is hard or soft, weedy or whatever. And all the while you are fishing too. You are also finding snags. If I want to feel out the bed of a lake I prefer to use a buoyant, steeply diving crankbait as these will float out of most hang-ups. Gravel, larger stones, silt and clay can all be detected by a big lipped crankbait. They do limit you to searching out swims under fifteen feet or so in this way though. There is no such limit to using a spinnerbait for this purpose. Remove any stinger hooks first!

As with all lures there can be many colour combinations to choose from with spinnerbaits. Blade colours can be varied, as can skirt colours and types. I have never come to any hard and fast conclusions about what colour spinnerbait to go for under any particular set of conditions. There never seem to be any rules when it comes to lure colours in general, so I don't expect there to be for spinnerbaits either. All I can offer are a few guidelines that work as starting points for me. Skirt colours follow the selections I would use for any other kind of lure under the same conditions. Dark skirts in low light, lighter ones in cloudy water and maybe intermediate ones in clear water/bright light. These are not hard and fast rules, and other options might be just as good. I have sometimes found white lures to work well at dusk, and in clear water with bright sunlight, which rather goes against the previous statement! A pike's preferences can change from day to day.

For those of you who are interested my favourite skirt colours are white, yellow or chartreuse, and a mix of black and red. The bulk of my spinnerbaits are made up in these colours which fall into my light/mid/dark tone categories. I have also had a few takes on hot pink skirts, and this is a colour that I think is often overlooked by lure fishers. It is certainly one that I am putting more time in with at the moment. Perch pattern or Fire Tiger skirts look good, and catch me pike, but I am uncertain as to the reason for their success. It might be down to there being a mixture of colours, which softens the appearance of the lure giving it a more 'natural' look, or simply the fact that the skirt will have an overall mid-tone similar to a plain yellow or chartreuse one.

What the skirt is made from is of little importance. Rubber, plastic or natural fur or feather. It is true that some materials have more 'life' than others, I have one with a white goat hair skirt that flows and pulses in a beautifully sinuous manner as the lure speeds up and slows down. Whether it catches me any more fish than rubber skirted lures is hard to tell - especially on a straight retrieve when most skirts do nothing at all. Rubber skirts can have an annoying tendency to clog up as they dry out, and eventually either get cut to shreds by the teeth of pike, or they perish and fall apart. Dusting with talcum powder before putting the lures away is supposed to cure this, but I always forget, and some of my rubber skirted spinnerbaits are a mess as a result. They still catch pike though. Hair skirts are a little more resilient as the fibres slip between the pike's teeth. Other materials have been used, tinsels for one. Skirts made entirely from tinsel always seem over the top to me, and I prefer to have tinsel incorporated in a skirt of hair or similar. I have a feeling that sparse skirts are better than thick ones. They certainly cast further and fish more deeply. They also have a little more 'life' than thickly dressed ones. Thick skirts are probably designed to catch the anglers eyes rather than the fish's. It is not always necessary to have a skirt at all, merely putting a twister grub on the hook can be enough. Which goes to show that a thick, bulky skirt is not always best. A grub alone will make a spinnerbaits run deepest of all and provides extra attractive movement. I admit that this is not an arrangement that I use a great deal, but I have seen it used to good effect. Most notably on a very cold winter's day when Dave Scarff caught a seventeen pounder on just such a spinnerbait.

Blade colours, I do find make a big difference. No matter where I fish, and under what conditions, copper blades are a waste of time. Now, I know that this is just one of those things and that other anglers have been very successful using this colour of blade on their spinnerbaits - some on the same waters that I fish. I can only put my failure down to a lack of confidence, and the fact that I never use copper bladed spinnerbaits these days! Brass blades catch me a few fish although I use them infrequently. Given a choice I prefer gold plated blades over plain brass ones - but don't ask me why! Not surprisingly, most of the pike I catch on spinnerbaits fall to nickel bladed models, then fluorescent yellow, and finally fluorescent orange as I use these three colours most, and in that order. As with all colours on lures I am not convinced that the exact colour is ever critical, but more the tone. For me, then, orange blades have taken the place of copper ones, and yellow ones the place of brass or gold ones. That said, these three colours are very effective when applied to many other lures, too. Maybe there is something about them after all!

Despite the great variety possible in spinnerbait designs and colour permutations I am sure that all you really need are three skirt colours, with matching blade colours, in both tandem and single spin models. Given that the main blade can be attached via a snap link of some kind, only six heads/frames are required (three singles and three tandems) - blades being fitted of a style to suit your requirements. Of course, various head weights may be required, but if you are anything like me you will soon discover a favourite head weight which suits your style of fishing, and so these can be rationalised too. A total of a dozen heads/frames rigged with the three colours of skirt should cover most eventualities. This is my thinking. But it doesn't stop me experimenting! Which is why I have far more spinnerbaits than I will ever need.

Fishing spinnerbaits requires little special in the form of tackle. Lures up to half an ounce or just a little more can be worked on the traditional spinning rod and reel. Even so, a baitcasting outfit is a much better proposition as I would always opt for spinnerbaits of at least «oz and preferably between one and two ounces. Partly this preference is because spinnerbaits of this order cast more easily, and accurately, than smaller models, but also because they offer a bigger image to the pike. More than most lures, spinnerbaits appear much larger in the water than they actually are. Lots of flash and vibration, plus a skirt makes quite a target for a pike, appealing to both its senses of sight and hearing. I like rods between six and a half and seven and a half feet in length for fishing spinnerbaits. A tippy sort of action is preferable, but not too soft in the tip. Plenty of stiffness is required to pull home forged, thick wire hooks. Line strength should, as always, be dictated by the conditions you are faced with. Because spinnerbaits can be fished in amongst weeds a line of at least 15lb test is advisable, and don't be put off from stepping up to 20lb or more. The size of reel to go for is, therefore, something comparable to the Abu 5501, which will also cope with braids of a similar diameter. A 30 or even 50lb test braid is not too much for fishing in heavy cover as this will give you an added safety margin. Braids, by dint of their low stretch, are a good choice for spinnerbait fishing as they transmit every throb of the blade to your hand. Knowing when your bait has gone dead is crucial. If the spinnerbait 'disappears' it has either collected weed or a fish has hit it and come towards you. Either way you should wind down quickly until you feel something and then strike. If it is weed there is a good chance that you will burst it off the lure, especially if using a braided line, or if it is a fish you might just connect with it.

My traces for spinnerbait fishing are between 30 and 60lb test braided wire, fitted with a small Cross-Lok or Duolock snap at one end and the usual Berkley swivel at the other. Somehow, spinnerbaits manage to flip round in flight and the trace ends up coming around from the inside of the frame, rather than straight off the eye. There is no one hundred percent fail-safe answer. Stiff traces and traces entirely sleeved in stiff tube have been suggested. These two methods avoid the kinking associated with multistrand wire, but don't solve the problem. I find them aesthetically unpleasant too. Locking the snap in line with the trace with a short piece of clear shrink tube (about ¾") goes some way to preventing the kinks that occur when the bait fouls the trace, and the heavier traces help too. A smooth casting style, as always, is the best way to reduce tangles with all lures. It has to be said that spinnerbaits are not the most accurate baits to cast with, having a lot of air resistance, and they do tumble in flight. Neither are they much good for long casting. Heavier lures are less troublesome in both these respects, as are those with smaller blades and thinly dressed skirts.