Spinning for trout using a Mepps style spinner is one of the most exciting methods in fishing. Every cast is tense as you wait for that ferocious hit. Hanningfield Reservoir is where I got hooked to this type of method. Whether you’re spinning from the bank or a boat you can usually put a few fish in the bag.
A lot of trout are caught on spinners especially on rivers and streams all over the world but in the UK they are mainly used for Pike, Perch, Chub and Zander. But there are some great any method trout fisheries where you can give it a go.
One thing that I have learnt that has improved my catch rate on these type of waters is that spinner size and hook choice are of upmost importance. I learnt this when I went and visited the reservoir just as Covid restrictions were lifted back in May 2020. My son Jordan and I were busting a gut to get out fishing after being locked down for weeks on end and had booked some tickets for that first Saturday in May.
As I always preach, it is so beneficial to get as much information as possible on a new venue or method before you fish. So, I decided to drive the hour and half round trip see what was happening o the reservoir.
I got down at 4pm and the whole of the dam wall was heaving with people, nearly all of them ledgering with Berkley Powerbait but I noticed two eastern Europeans spinning and instinctively knew they knew what they were doing. Sitting behind them for half and hour I just watched and made some notes.
I watched the equipment they used and the rod action. The speed of the retrieve, the distance they cast, how long they waited before retrieving and what they caught. I had a good idea what they were doing but I couldn’t see what type of lures they were using.
quizzing reveals all
They caught four trout in that half hour and missed a few takes. They must have hit their eight fish limit as they climbed the bank towards me to pack up. I courteously ask them how they had got on and we got talking. He showed me his lures, which were Mepps Comet spinners and gave me a run down on what they had done. He was an absolutely smashing Eastern European guy who did not hold back any information. The one thing he did tell me was that they were hitting the lures but the fish were coming off. I asked him if I could hold the spinner and noticed a couple of things.
Firstly the Mepps they were using looked great but I couldn’t believe the size of the hook. It must have been a size 4 or 2 treble. Surely far too big for a stock trout’s mouth. On inspection of the trebles I notice that they were a little on the blunt side and looked like they had been on the spinner for years. He had also painted the blades white and put red spots on them and swore this was the killer colours. I believed we could maximise our hit rate if we had new ultra sharp hooks and smaller hook size that the fish could engulf. A quick paint down the shed wouldn’t be hard either to achieve that pattern.
We said our farewells then I spent the next forty minutes analysing what I had seen. On arriving home I downloaded my brain and came up with a plan. I dug out some Mepps spinners that looked similar and decided I needed to change the trebles. This was a feat in itself as they are manufactured in such a way that you can only cut the hook off. There is then the problem of connecting the wire eye on the spinner and the eye of the hook.
Doctoring the spinners
I dug deep into my hoard of bits and pieces and luckily had some small split rings and a selection of trebles I use for Pike and Zander fishing. I had to use my Fox Pike wire cutters to cut through the eye of the treble in two places to release it from the spinner.
It’s not until you take the original hook off that you realise just how big it is. These hooks are put on in the manufacturing process and are not meant to be changed or replaced. The only way you can re attach a hook is by adding a suitably sized split ring. I only had 5mm split rings. 4mm would have been better but that is all I had. I took the size 4 treble off and replaced some with smaller size 10’s and 12’s. It’s a fiddly job trying to get the split ring onto the spinner eye and then attaching the hook. It took me five minutes to do the first one but got faster with practice. I used a Stanley blade to open the ring then slide it on the spinner and hook at the same time. Like I said it is extremely fiddly but the challenge is worth it. Go the extra mile and catch the extra fish. It immediately looked better balanced and was confident my plan would work.
A quick rub down of the blades with emery cloth and a spray of white car paint done the trick. Red spots were applied with some acrylic paint and we were ready to go. You can see from the photo that the blade finish was a bit rough but the fish didn’t care.
Armed with our newly upgraded spinners Jordan and I got down to Hanningfield twenty minutes before the gates opened and made our way down the dam wall. To cut a long story short we both started on our new spinners. Smaller hooks and white painted blades with red spots and we had an absolutely great day.
To see how we got on just click here to read about our spinning adventure at Hanningfield with our doctored spinners.
Have a look at all the Mepps range at Mepps.com