UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Revival of the Tail Spinner?

Revival of the Tail Spinner?
Collum Enterprises Whing Ding tail spinner

Bass fishing in the heat of summer necessitates a flexible approach. Sure, there are baits and patterns that almost always catch fish – frogs and buzzbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, big worms and jigs – but when the fish get extra finicky, what separates the good from the great is the ability to find bites with unconventional methods.

Thinking outside the box is what helped Alabama pro Justin Atkins lock down a third-place finish at the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. His weapon of choice for targeting suspended and schooling bass: a tail spinner.

“They [tail spinners] are something I just always used growing up,” Atkins says. “That’s a big Mississippi thing. Over on the reservoirs – Ross Barnett, Grenada, Sardis, all those places – those fish school a lot, and they school on really small bait. It’s a great bait to throw at them.”

Although a fairly uncommon bait by today’s tournament fishing standards, the tail spinner is still a highly effective lure with a ton of useful applications. And perhaps the biggest appeal of throwing one now is that so few fish have seen them before.

 

The rub on tail spinners

One jighead, one treble hook and one Colorado blade. Tail spinners are as simple as it gets. They’re heavy for their size and can be absolutely deadly when fish are feeding on small shad.

When long casts and retrieves are crucial for putting baits in the middle of a school or an offshore target in deep water, they’re a perfect fit.

“You can throw it a really long way,” Atkins adds. “You can throw it a lot farther than you can a topwater, and it’s really small so it mimics the bait. Plus, when they come up and aren’t up for very long, it’s something you can get out there quick.”

 

The setup

Because of the heft of the jighead on a tail spinner (usually 1/2 or 3/4 ounce), a casting setup is usually the best approach. Atkins’ favorite is a custom Collum Enterprises Whing Ding tail spinner. He throws it on a 7-foot, medium-action Abu Garcia Villain 2.0 casting rod. It’s a setup that landed him one or two limit fish per day and “20 or 30” fish in total at Ouachita.

“I like a rod that’s got a little bit of tip so you can really whip it out there, but at the same time, you’re still throwing a treble-hooked bait, and so you can’t throw it on too stiff a rod or you’ll lose every one of them,” he says.

Atkins rigs his custom tail spinner on 12- to 15-pound-test fluorocarbon depending on the size of fish he’s targeting, and in most cases fluorocarbon is the best option given that rate of fall and line visibility are keys to a good presentation.

 

How to fish it

The options for tail-spinner presentations are many, from a fast, steady retrieve for schooling bass to a jigging spoon-like approach lower in the water column. You can swim it, rip it, jig it – whatever the fish are after at any given time.

“With it also being heavy, you can fish it like a jigging spoon,” Atkins says. “If those fish come up and bust and go down, I might throw it out there and click my spool and let it fall. With a little bit of tension, I can tell if I get a bite. A lot of times they bite it when it’s sinking out there.”

While some tail spinners are built with fixed line ties and hook hangers, the one Atkins uses is a line-thru model. The line passes through the body and connects to a free-hanging treble hook. The body is able to slide free when fighting a fish for improved landing percentages.

When using the line-thru type, Atkins has one crucial tip for making the most of every cast.

“A lot of times when you cast it your hook will try to come up and catch your line,” he says. “And then you’ve wasted a whole cast. You’ve thrown it 80 yards out there, and your bait is fouled up.”

The secret, he says, is to use a bobber stop to position the treble hook so that it isn’t hanging down freely when casting and reeling, and he has a trick to hold it horizontal with the bait and “tucked under” the head.

“The deal is to put a bobber stop on it, run your line through the Whing Ding and then tie to the treble hook so your Whing Ding free-slides on the line,” Atkins says.

Atkins ties his knot to the side of the hook’s eye, which positions the hook shank perpendicular to the line and parallel to the lure’s body.

“You want to take your treble hook – you have two prongs that are parallel and one that’s kind of a solo – and put the solo one down,” he adds.

Once positioned correctly, he snugs everything in place by sliding the bobber stopper down against the top of the bait.

“That keeps your hook in a backward posture while you’re fishing with the bait.”

 

Poised for a revival?

Tail spinners aren’t new, nor is the idea of catching lots of big fish with them. For whatever reason, they simply fell out of style for many modern tournament anglers.

Atkins isn’t the only angler throwing a tail spinner, and he certainly won’t be the last. With his recent success leaning heavily on one at Ouachita, there’s a good chance we’ll see more pros digging through boxes of old tackle to make sure they have one or two with their tournament gear.

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  justin-onslow  article 

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

New Baits from ICAST 2019

Here’s a primer on some of the baits that we thought stood out at the show. It’s not a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s just a taste of what will probably make a splash on the market in the coming months.  READ MORE »

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

FLW Spain Championship Recap

FLW Spain Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Spain Championship took place June 1-2 in the waters of the Garcia Sola reservoir. The event, which was the qualifying route to the Costa FLW Series Championship, was hosted by the municipality of Herrera del Duque. The team of Mario Sánchez and Juan Luis Sánchez topped the field with a total weight of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with David Williams. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

In the burgeoning fishing kayak market, there’s still a pretty large gap, on the whole, between entry-level boats (think $500 or less) and the top end of the market. It’s hard to find a really good kayak that blends quality, stability and affordability for anything less than $1,000. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Every angler starts his season with the hope of being in contention for AOY by the final tournament. Mathematically, only a handful of anglers are still in it this year, but realistically, as the FLW Tour heads to its final stop of 2019 at Lake Champlain, it’s a two-angler race. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

The long-awaited premiere of Rapala Varsity Bass is here. In Episode 1, college fishing competitor Tyler Anderson takes on Lake Texoma. Along the way, Tyler offers an intimate portrait into his life as a YouTuber, tournament angler and senior at Texas A&M. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Josh Douglas

Check-in Time: Josh Douglas

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they've been up to, what they're listening to, who they're following and where they're heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Josh Douglas.  READ MORE »