The flash of a revolving piece of metal has long been known to attract many kinds of fish. Some spinners come with artificial attachments that look like food, some are made with a bare hook to attach some kind of bait, some are straight, and some are different shapes. They all work better when moving so they can be cast, trolled, or drifted. Colors vary as do size and composition. Every tackle box should have a variety of spinners in it.
Inline spinners have a blade spinning around a straight shaft. At one end of the shaft is an eye to tie your line to, at the other is a hook. Some spinners have plastic or metal bodies attached to them that look like fish, and others have nondescript bodies that are added just for weight. Small inline spinners are good for panfish, and big ones will catch anything in fresh or salt water. Huge inline spinners called bucktails are made for muskie fishing and are bigger than most panfish you catch to eat.
An inline spinner.
The hooks on a small inline spinner are usually dressed with hair or feathers that give the bait more action. Big inline spinners for bass may have a single hook with nothing on it. You can add pork chunks or other plastic trailers for more attraction. Inline spinners turn at very slow speeds so they can be fished for inactive fish that don't chase a bait very far.
Inline spinners are known for their ability to twist line badly. Add a small ball-bearing swivel ahead of the inline spinner to avoid line twist. Also look for an inline spinner with a body that has a keel to keep it in one position so it won't twist your line as badly.
You can also buy Snelled hooks with a small spinner on the line above the hook. These rigs are excellent for fishing frozen or other dead bait. The small spinner gives flash and movement while the bait adds scent, flavor, and bulk. They work well when cast or drifted for fish like flounder.
Safety Pin Spinners
Safety pin spinners get their name because they look something like an open safety pin. They're V-shaped with a hook at one end of the V, a spinning blade at the other end, and a line tie in the middle. They're very popular for bass fishing but work well for different species from pike to perch in fresh water.
Most spinnerbaits come with a rubber skirt around the hook, and many people add a curly or straight-tailed plastic jig to give it more action. As the spinner is reeled along, the blade or blades revolve giving it flash and vibration. The body with the rubber skirt and the plastic jig trail just below the blades, offering the fish something to hit. Spinners of this type come in different sizes to cover any depth of water.
Tailspinners are usually small heavy lures with compact teardrop-shaped lead bodies. A little spinner is attached to the tail of the lure to give it flash and vibration to attract the fish; a line tie is on top and a treble hook trails off the bottom. These baits are great for jigging off the bottom. The heavy body gets them down deep fast where they're easy to work.
Another version of the tailspinner is a jig head with a small spinner on the opposite side from the line tie. These baits usually have a single hook dressed with hair or a plastic body and they can be fished near the bottom easily. They attract all kinds of fish looking for a meal of a small baitfish or minnow swimming near the bottom.