A strategy used by anglers to catch every type of game fish that swims is to combine lure-and-bait. Consider, for example, how walleye anglers often tip their plug or spinner with a worm or leech, those jigging for bass add a scent-filled worm to their jig head, and how trout anglers plunk PowerBait in combination with a Lil Corky single-egg imitation to help attract fish and insure their lure-and-bait offering floats above bottom where cruising fish can quickly find it.

Combining lure-and-bait was the inspiration behind an all new pull-apart lure designed by veteran Oregon angler Ray Norman. What emerged from several ideas Ray tried out on real fish was a pull-apart trolling plug design that could be filled with any bait or scent and easily pushed back together. In addition to providing a steady scent stream SpinFish produces a vibrating, spinning, wounded baitfish action fish quickly respond to.

It was in 2013 that I first met Ray, a time when we successfully fished his new pull-apart lure on the Columbia River. And while Ray did produce product and develop a growing dealer list of his own, he decided to sell his creation to Yakima Bait in late 2018.

Yakima Bait began delivering the SpinFish in the 3 and 4 inch sizes last fall and will be introducing two additional sizes for the 2021 season; all-new 2.0 and 2.5 inch versions.

In turn, Yakima Bait developed a new package, color line up, name and introduced SpinFish as a new-for-2020 product at last summer’s ICAST show in Orlando, Florida. Yakima Bait now owning Ray’s lure allowed me to fish it more and send samples for others to try.    

When trolling for salmon on the Columbia River last fall I noticed a better hook-to-land ratio if I let salmon pull the rod down a couple times before setting the hook – just like when fishing real bait. In addition, I discovered that the lure had more lifelike/aggressive action if I didn’t over stuff the bait chamber. Chunks of bait cut from anchovy are what we used in the pull-apart bait chamber. 

Washington fishing pro John Keizer filled the bait chamber of his SpinFish with canned tuna to catch salmon from the saltwater of Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean. John rigged his SpinFish 25-to-40 inches behind a Fish Flash or 35-to-45 inches behind rotating flashers. “Unlike other bait holding lures, SpinFish needs no rubber bands to keep it together,” John commented. Check out John’s YouTube video:

Mark and Jake Romanack, of Fishing 411 TV fame, caught salmon while trolling SpinFish in Lake Ontario last summer and can’t wait to give them a try for walleye. Their plan when targeting walleye is to troll SpinFish in combination with a bottom walker after filling the bait chamber with sections of worm, leech and/or minnow. 

Even though you pull this lure apart to fill with bait, both lure halves are secure because your leader is threaded through holes in each lure end. There is just no way (bar a line break) you can lose or misplace the lure halves. 

Like any trolling lure SpinFish can be rigged 36-to-60 inches behind a conventional sinker, diver, or bottom walker, which might include a flasher (like Fish Flash) to draw fish in. If you use a downrigger to get to the depth fish are holding, try running your SpinFish at least ten feet behind your line release. 

This Columbia River salmon, which was released, went for the scent of anchovy used in combination with a SpinFish in the 3.0 size.

To reduce/eliminate line or leader twist SpinFish should be rigged in conjunction with a swivel, positioned half way down your leader or a few feet up the line from this plug. In addition, it’s important to remove baits and clean your SpinFish after use – just rinse it clean.  

The SpinFish was introduced to the market last fall in two sizes, a 3.0 three-inch and 4.0 four-inch, rigged and ready to fish. But two new sizes, a 2.0 and 2.5 inch version, are being introduced this summer and will first appear on store shelves in time for the 2021 fishing season.

When I asked Ray what fish besides salmon and steelhead he or others had caught while using this new lure he listed flounder, ling cod, halibut, mackerel, cutthroat, trout, mackinaw (lake trout), smallmouth bass, and walleye.

The introduction of two new smaller sizes will likely add to the above list of fish taken while trolling SpinFish, an all-new concept of combining lure-and-bait.