Facing Tough Bass Fishing Conditions? Try Inline Spinners

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Mepps Aglia In-line SpinnerThinking back to those early days when just starting to fish, I clearly remember the first two lures added to my fledgling bait collection in my single tray: a red and white Daredevil spoon and #2 Mepps in-line spinner.  Though both lures are fairly versatile, it was the in-line spinner that has remained a staple part of my angling repertoire ever since!

A Bass Fishing Standard Through the Years …

Dating back to the early part of the 20th Century, the Mepps version of the in-line spinner really grew into favor shortly after the end of World War II here in the U.S.

Comprised of a single French or willow-shaped blade that is attached by a clevis to a straight wire shaft with weighted brass bodies and plain or dressed treble, the in-line spinner comes in a variety of sizes and styles enhancing its versatility.

The four Mepps varieties typically found in my tackle box today include:

  • Aglia with plain and dressed trebles in sizes #1 through #4;
  • Aglia Long Minnow in sizes #1 through #3;
  • Comet Minnow in sizes #2 and #3; and
  • Black Fury in sizes #1 through #4.

My personal choice for rod, reel and line combination when fishing inline spinners include either 6 or 6.5 foot, medium-light action, spinning rod with a 2000/2500 series reel and fairly light monofilament line ranging from 4 to 8 pound test.

Bass, particularly leaping smallmouth bass, have a tendency to throw in-line spinners so be sure to sharpen the hooks frequently when using them.

In-line Spinner’s Extreme Versatility Often Saved the Day!

Even though I may not fish them on every trip, I always keep a small plastic tackle tray in the storage locker of my boat with an assortment of in-line spinners (mostly Mepps but several Blue Fox spinners as well).


Simple … on those days when things are particularly tough, I can almost always catch several fish (not always limited to bass) with those nearly magical lures.

Cast the spinners along the edge of emergent weed beds or over the top of submerged weeds where the weeds do not breach the surface. Make sure there is sufficient water between the water’s surface and the top of the weed bed to avoid hang-ups.

As bass and other game fish watch the open water above the bed, they suddenly see a shiny spinner overhead rising up to attack it before it escapes.

On many occasions, I have had to vary retrieval speeds and change lure size to determine the combination that best triggers strikes. Examples would be to slow down a rapid retrieve, bring the spinner in rapidly after starting it out slow or suddenly killing the retrieve when it reaches an edge along the weed line.

One problem with inline spinners is line twist.  In order to avoid line twist, simply use a quality ball-bearing swivel to attach the spinner rather than tying it directly to the line.

Since inline spinners have exposed hooks, be sure to clear the spinner of any weeds after each cast so that the blades can turn without interruption and the lure better imitates small baitfish.

Want to learn more?

Following is video prepared by the folks at “Angling Edge” demonstrating the effectiveness of inline spinners (though not Mepps in this case) for catching smallmouth bass with a few other cool inline spinner fishing tips …. Enjoy …

Tight lines and full live-wells ….

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