Reflecting on my beginnings as a young angler starting out at the age of 6, I used to stand on the shorelines of lakes and rivers, casting away spinners all summer long. Back then, not surprisingly, it worked. It's a simple concept. The fish saw a flashy object in the water, it irritated the heck out of them, so they went after it and bit out of anger.
Seems like once I got into steelhead fishing on the West Coast of British Columbia, I have tried to make things a lot more complicated, to align my thinking with the myth of steelhead being extremely difficult to catch for most anglers.
One day just a few years ago, I came to realize, it was time to get back to the basics. Really, all I was trying to do is catch a big trout.
Over the past three or four years I have experimented with various shapes and sizes of spinners and been able to incorporate them into majority of my steelhead outings on all types of rivers throughout British Columbia. Some of these rivers include the Thompson River, Vedder, Chehalis and Stave Rivers just to name a few.
Blades as I like to call them, have brought me good numbers of quality fish. In fact, my largest and best fighting steelhead had gotten a taste of a Gibbs (gold plated) Colorado blade. Many Coho and Chum salmon have also taken interest in my spinner presentations.
I fish blades in all types of different waters. They seem to work the best for me, in slow moving waters, and in tail outs. A little height and color help as well. It seems the slower the blade spins, the more attention it gets. My favorite technique is to "dead drift" the blade under a float. What I mean by dead drift is not restricting the speed in which the line peels off my real, which is of course determined by the speed of the current. The odd time I will on purpose stop the spinning of the spool by placing my thumb on it, for a second or two. This will make the blade flutter faster for just a bit. Often, this action is what generates the strike. This is what I call the horizontal presentation.
In tail outs, I restrict the speed in which the line peels off my reel quite a bit, allowing the blade to work its way from the far side to the near side of the river, across the whole tail out. This allows the blade to "get up" in the water, therefore not allowing it to snag up on the bottom. This is what I call the vertical presentation.
Spinners come in all different kinds of sizes, shapes and colors. My favorite ones are the gold and silver plated Gibbs Colorado Blades. I believe these spinners due to their quality finish provide a lot of reflection under water, causing more fish to chase them and bite, especially in murky water conditions. One other tip, in clearer waters, us brass, "brown" and "gray" colors of spinners, and in dirty/murky waters use high reflection colors such as gold and silver.
One last note, I have found blades to be very effective in steelhead waters that have already been fished by other anglers prior to me. I have experienced days, where a blade has at least matched and on few occasions beaten quality bait. These are now my one-two punch on the water. So if you can't bait them, blade them.
Article by Radek Hanus of Double Header Sport Fishing