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Roll Your Own

Mark Romanack

One of the reasons the author likes to create his own
 spinner rigs is the ability to use premium blades,
 hooks, clevices and also leader materials that
 make for a better fish trap.
Like they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself. When it comes to creating spinner rigs suitable for walleye fishing, the factory tied versions on the market leave me cold much of the time. For better than 30 years I’ve taken pride in tying my own walleye spinners using premium hooks, lines, clevices and blades.
            The time spent making my own fishing rigs is enjoyable, but even better it’s a satisfying feeling reeling in a fish I caught on one of my own creations. I often tie spinners while watching a ball game to multi-task. My wife Mari even jumps into the act to make sure I’m color coordinating things as she sees fit!!
            Getting started tying your own spinner rigs starts by identifying the proper components. Most tackle shops and mail order houses sell spinner components including blades, beads, leader material, clevices and hooks. An investment of about $50.00 will set an angler up for producing as many quality spinner rigs.
            Walleye spinner rigs can be tied on a variety of leader materials. Ordinary monofilament line is an acceptable and affordable option. Select a hard surfaced line that has excellent abrasion resistance.
            Fluorocarbon is popular as a leader material for spinner fishing because this line type is nearly invisible in the water. Fluorocarbon also has great abrasion resistance qualities and it holds knots well.
            A few anglers use fused lines to tie spinner harnesses. The biggest problem with fused lines is they are soft and tangle easily. Should one of these rigs get tangled, there is little chance of salvaging the rig.
            Depending on the size of fish targeted leader material suitable for walleye fishing ranges from 10 to 15 pound test. Fluorocarbon can be purchased in leader wheels, saving money and making sure the line used for tying spinner rigs is fresh and in good shape.
            Tackle shops sell beads designed for tying rigs, but I prefer to buy my beads at a craft shop. Craft shops have a wider variety of beads and bead types and many more color options than routinely stocked at a tackle shop. Also, beads at a craft shop cost about one quarter of the price of the same ones sold at tackle stores!
            A clevice is the device that holds the blade on the leader allowing the blade to rotate. Some clevices are made from stamped metal, others folded metal and still others are formed from plastic. Metal clevices allow the blade to spin with the least amount of resistance and are superior for slow trolling and drifting applications.
            Plastic clevices are often configured to allow the blade to be removed without having to cut and re-tie the leader. This handy feature allows anglers to experiment with blade size, shape and color quickly. The leader in this category is a company called Quick Change Clevices and they are widely distributed at tackle shops everywhere.
            Plastic clevices come in two sizes, one for smaller blades and a second model for larger blades. Matching up the right size clevice to the proper blade is important to get good performance from these products.
            For walleye harnesses I favor a short shank style hook known as a “beak” or “octopus” hook. Similar in shape to an “egg” hook, but with a little longer shank, a No. 4 hook is a good all around choice. When targeting bigger walleye a larger No. 2 hook is the best option. For decades the Eagle Claw L1B has been the walleye rig hook all others are compared to. Other good choices include the Eagle Claw #226 and Lazer Sharp #L4.
            Ordinary bronze hooks are the standard for walleye spinner rigs, but red anodized hooks and also painted hooks are gaining in popularity. Many anglers feel that these brightly finished hooks help to attract fish.

The author loves to tie his own walleye spinner rigs and
 has been doing so for over 30 years. The satisfaction
 of catching fish on rigs you design yourself
 is part of what makes fishing such a rewarding hobby.
            The most popular blade type for walleye spinner fishing is hands down the Colorado blade. Colorado blades spin at slow speeds and give off a lot of flash and vibration. Sizes 2 and 3 are ideal for structure fishing applications and when fishing inland lakes. Larger No. 4 and 5 blades work better for targeting larger walleye or when fishing impoundments and the Great Lakes that produce bigger average sized fish.
            A good second option are Indiana style blades that are a little more oblong in shape. It takes a little more speed to get an Indiana blade spinning, but these blades work well in most walleye fishing situations for drifting and slow trolling.
            These days blades suitable for walleye spinner rigs come in every color and finish imaginable. When buying blades purchase them in groups of four to six blades per color. That way if a particular color starts producing you’ll have other blades of the same color to share.
            The best knot for tying walleye spinner rigs is known as the egg loop and anglers can quickly learn to tie this knot at a web page called The benefit of the egg loop knot is the hook can be placed precisely on the leader allowing the angler to space two or three hooks at exactly the desired distance from one another. Other snell  knots allow the hook to slide when the knot is tightened, making it tough to create uniform rigs.
            Tying spinner rigs is a lot of fun and these rigs are deadly when fishing walleye on bottom bouncer sinkers, slip sinker rigs, on three way swivel rigs or when trolling in open water using divers like the popular Off Shore Tackle Tadpole Diver.
            Once tied I like to store my spinner rigs in small plastic bags or wrap them up on a short chunk of foam made for insulating water pipes. One length of foam can be cut into about a dozen short leader wheels ideal for storing walleye spinner rigs.
            If tying your own spinner rigs isn’t an option, some of the best factory tied rigs are produced by Yakima Bait, known as the Hammer Time Walleye Spinner. The Fishing 411 team designed these spinners for Yakima based on the spinner rigs we have been tying for ourselves and catching fish on for decades.