Fishing spinners is a very popular way of catching steelhead, in this article I will try and explain the method many experienced anglers have found works extremely well and keeps you from losing spinners and keeps you fishing more.
First off I will explain the terminal set up.
This method can be done using any popular rod and reel style, but i prefer longer rods 9-11 ft in length with a fairly light tip, which helps you detect the spin of your blade.
As for reels, any will work, but level winds and centre pins are favoured due to their ability to pay out line in a smooth manner, a very important part of float fishing.
My typical set up, is a 10 ft Lamiglass rod with a centre pin reel, loaded with 15lb maxima ultra green line, and 10lb leader .I like to keep my leaders about 16- 22 inches long. For weight I either use 3-4 split shot, or a 3" piece of pencil lead, pushed thru a piece of rubber tubing, or sliding free on the mainline.
As for floats, I typically just use styrofoam dink floats from 4-6" long, and avoid spending $$ on the expensive fancy floats as they make no difference in my fish catching statistics.
Now the most important piece of the puzzle, the spinner blades. There are many types of blades available to the fisherman, but my experience tells me the Colorado blade is the most productive, followed closely by the Indiana blade, I use them in different types of water however. My choices of Colorados are #2, #4 and sometimes a #4.5, and my colour choices are copper, brass and silver and I use both hammered finish and smooth finish, with a hammered #4 in brass being my most productive year round blade. I also use the same blades as previous in the Indiana style, but typically I fish these in faster water, as they tend to spin a little slower than the Colorados in this situation. These spinners are very simple, I make them myself using bulk components, all you need is #8 barrel swivels, #3 split rings, your blade and some good quality hooks, I use # 2 Gammigatksu's. Simply attach a swivel to a split ring and then add another swivel to that ring followed by another ring, now attach the blade to the top split ring and the hook to the split ring at the bottom, now you have a float fishing blade.
There are countless ways to fish this set up and I will explain a few of them and in time you will develop your own style.
First off we have the dead drift, in this technique you fish the blade as if it were a piece of bait, cast slightly upstream and let your float and blade travel downstream at the same speed as the current, it will spin very slow, and let me tell you, fish love slow travelling blades, try to never touch bottom, fish look up and that is where your blade should be, we call this short floating, and it is deadly .