Salmon Spinners, Lures, Baits and Plugs - Tackle Tips

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Spinners, Lures, Baits and Plugs



The choice is almost overwhelming. All are designed to catch fishermen and most will catch salmon. Your bait is probably the most important part of your tackle. You probably spend a great deal on rods, lines and reels, yet the business end id the most important and most frequently overlooked.


Salmon tend like a slow retrieve with a fast wiggle, so it pays to experiment.






Blades & Spoons

Plugs usually have a buoyant body. They rely on a lip or curved front to make them dive and wiggle. Avoid plugs that connect the line to a plastic lip, they are not strong enough.


Spoons as the name suggests came from kitchen spoons. Cut the bowl from the handle. Drill a hole at either end. Attach a split ring at one end and a split ring and a hook at the other and away to go!




The most famous is perhaps the Rapala. The original floating version in 4.3/8" in black and gold, blue and silver, and of course orange work well. The originals (made out of balsa wood) were much better. They floated better and if taken by a big fish had the ability to self destruct, leaving wires and hooks intact. New plastic versions are solid and just provide a lever for fish to shake themselves loose. The hooks used by Rapala are not the best. A french bend pattern has much more holding capacity in my view. The knot suggested by Rapala is also a non starter. Use a split ring and a swivel. If you intend to catch and release then 3 trebles are not conducive. Do not be afraid to change the hooks. Just make sure that when you do that the bait still swims right. It should wobble nicely at the chosen speed of retrieve. To correct warm the lip over a flame (lighter) till it runs right.


The Blair spoon has bumps along one side which cause turbulence which is so say attractive.

Canadian Wiggler


Next came the original "Toby". This is a long thin "spoon" with little fins at the back. There are now thousands of imitations. Some Tay anglers connect 2 together to give extra weight and a rattle, while others file off the fins which they claim improves hooking efficiency.

Another one that works is the Canadian Wiggler






Kynoch Killer or Tay Lure


Spinning Blades or "Mepps"

A very simple lure which dives deep and wiggles like mad. Great for harling. The line passes through the lure so that the fish can't work the bait free. Said to imitate a squid. Some Tay anglers attach a second trailing hook to improve hit rate. Many ghillies on the Tay swear by a magnolia colour for this lure. For harling and trolling avoid such lures that sink. A big bonus is their bouyancy and their ability to dive when retreved or towed. If you slow down they return to the surface, thus avoiding snags.





Mepps has now become a standard name in Europe for this type of lure. A blade rotates around the body of the lure. This style tends to cause the line to become twisted unless used with a weight or vane and must have swivel/s. As with all good things there are lots of imitations. Simple silver or gold in size 3 works well.

Devon Minnow


The Flying "C"


Flying "C"

Originally this was a wooden bait through which the line is passed and attached to a treble. The lure is fished with a weight which is bumped along the bottom. The buoyancy of the bait keeps it from the snags. Many are now made from plastic or have internal copper tubes and fancy wire fixings. Hence they sink and defeat the object. Nice if you are trolling or harling but no good from the bank.

The "yellow belly" is the best known colour combination with a dark green /black back and yellow underside.

Very effective, but can spin the line unless set up properly. Those familiar with the "Booby" fly will know the method.


Do not buy a "mount" just use a treble and a bead.
Make sure the devon floats!

Bottom Rig


A derivation of the Mepps, this has a rubber casing over the body and a rubber tail which adds to the movement. Came out of Ireland. The "C" stands for condom! Also very effective, but can spin the line.







Be careful when booking your beat that worm fishing is allowed. Worms can be very effective. You need to use a large clump of lob worms. Brandlings are not good enough.


Prawn and Shrimp fishing has now been banned on the Tay as a conservation measure and the bailiffs are enforcing the rule ferociously, so don't get caught red handed! Some rivers still allow prawn and shrimps.




Paul's Personal Choice


Paul's Personal Choice

Black and gold Rapala
Yellow Belly Devon.


Green and gold Toby.


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