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How to Tie a Spinner Bait: A Complete Guide with a Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Spinners are among the most popular style of lure for a reason. From bass to crappie, pike to walleye, a bladed crankbait that creates flash, vibration, and excitement can turn a bad day into a prized memory with just one cast.

We’re often asked about spinner baits, and we’d like to answer some of questions here, particularly how to tie a spinner bait.

Quick answer for how to tie a spinner bait:

Check out our video tutorial with step by step instructions for tying your spinner bait:


How Do You Tie a Spinner Bait?

Line Matters

While braid and fluorocarbon have eclipsed mono in many anglers’ minds, we’re not sure that they’re always the best choice. As we’ve discussed before, many of the touted advantages of braid and fluoro just don’t materialize under careful testing.

If you’d like to check out our detailed analysis, take a look at our “Myths Busted” article. There are some surprises there, not the least of which is just how good standard nylon monofilament really is.

For spinners, mono is almost certainly the best choice. Since you’ll be actively retrieving when a fish takes your lure, too much stretch on the hookset is not going to be a problem. You also don’t need to be concerned with too little sensitivity.

Instead, you need to worry about shock strength and a superb knot, both of which are virtues of nylon monofilament. When a big fish hits a spinner hard, your line needs to take that sudden force without popping--and your knot needs to hold fast. Simply put, that’s where mono excels.

It’s worth noting that our research revealed that plain, old Stren is the top choice in monofilament.

Fluorocarbon is also a good choice with spinner baits because, unlike the advertising hype, it stretches about as much as mono, providing just the cushion you need when a real bruiser pounds your lure. We particularly like Seaguar Invizx as it defies an almost unbreakable rule of knot vs. tensile strength, providing superior durability at the weakest point.

It’s more expensive than mono by a fair margin, and we don’t see the advantage with spinners.

Braided line is popular among jig and worm fishermen for its sensitivity and lack of stretch, but it’s a poor choice for spinner baits. That’s because it’s both weak at the knot and when placed under sudden strain. The result can be break-offs, a problem no one wants.

Save the braid for other applications--you’ll be glad you did!

The Best Spinner Bait Knots for Monofilament

Whatever spinner you’re throwing, mono ties easily, and most knots hold well under strain.

A basic clinch knot is the standard for spinners, and it’s as simple as following these steps:

  1. Pass the line through the eye of the lure.
  2. While holding the tag end, spin the lure seven times.
  3. Pass the tag end through the loop nearest the eye.
  4. Wet the knot!!!
  5. Carefully cinch the knot tight, trimming the tag end if necessary.

Check out our video tutorial with instructions on how to tie this knot:

The Best Spinner Bait Knots for Fluorocarbon and Braid

Fluorocarbon and braid don’t bind on themselves as well as mono does, and that often means that a knot that’s solid with Stren just won’t hold with even high-end braid or fluoro.

In fact, the simple clinch knot we recommend above will not hold with fluoro or braid! Instead, you need to use an “improved” knot if you choose to run fluorocarbon.

If you’re casting a rooster tail or other small lure, we like the Palomar knot. It’s basically as easy as an overhand knot, and it’s quick to tie. It’s also amazingly strong--perhaps the strongest fishing knot you can tie.

  1. Pass your line through the eye of the lure.
  2. Making a long loop, pass the line back through the eye.
  3. With the loop in one hand and the main and tag lines in the other, tie an overhand knot, leaving a long section of loop free.
  4. Pass that loop over the entire lure.
  5. Wet the knot!!!
  6. Carefully cinch the knot down.

Watch this video to see how it’s done - video starts at 1:23:

But for larger lures, it can be a real chore to pass the Palomar’s loop over the whole thing--and you can see that I had some trouble even with a Mepps #3. In that case, we recommend the San Diego Jam Knot. A modified clinch, it’s incredibly strong and will hold fluorocarbon really well.

  1. Pass your line through the eye of the lure.
  2. Pull the tag end to give you plenty of line.
  3. Hold the tag end and the main line together, and wrap the tag end around both the tag and main lines six times.
  4. Pass the tag end through the loop closest to the eye.
  5. Pass the tag end through the loop farthest from the eye.
  6. Wet your knot!!!
  7. Carefully cinch the knot down.

The San Diego Jam Knot tutorial -  video will start at 2:41

What is a Spinner Bait?

Spinner baits come in a variety of shapes, designs, and sizes, but what they share in common is a metal blade that flashes through the water as they move.

Check out our top picks for the best spinnerbaits

Two styles are most common: in-line and so-called “safety pin” designs. The Worden’s Original Rooster Tail is an excellent example of the in-line style. A must-have for every tackle box, if there’s a more productive lure to throw for everything from panfish to pike, I don’t know what it is!

The Booyah Pond Magic is a great example of the safety pin design. Rather than running everything in one long unit, a fixed, skirted jig head is attached via a long arm to a spinning blade. By varying the size and shape of the blade or blades, these can be made to run at different depth and create more or less flash and vibration.

With both styles, you get flash, color, an undulating skirt, and the sound of injured prey reaching out to predators’ lateral lines. That’s about as good as it gets for terminal tackle!

Especially in clear water with lots of prey items, these lures are murder on aggressive fish.

How Do You Fish a Spinner?

Just the right speed is key.

You want a hungry fish to get a look at the spinner, see that flash and color, but not get a chance to study it in enough detail to realize that it’s not the real thing. Retrieval speed is everything here, and it should be matched to your conditions.

Check out our article for buying a dedicated spinnerbait rod

The clearer the water, the faster the crank. Conversely, in murky, muddy, or stained water, you’ll want to slow your retrieve to give fish more chance to react.

Spinning baits are at their best when they’re higher in the water column, and in situations where you can run them parallel to long structures like a drop-off or the edges of a point. They’re also very effective when fished above a long weedbed, and you can work the water column above that vegetation to entice a strike from below.

Final Thoughts

Spinner baits are among the best lure choices for nearly every species. Easy to fish and easy to tie, they deserve a place in your tackle box.

Let us know if this knot tutorial helped you out, and please leave a comment below.

About The Author
John Baltes
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.