Tone Down That Brass

Tutorial by "Brian"
Spinners are a great lures for summer steelhead! When fishing low clear river conditions in the summer time it is important to tone down your lures, especially when fishing in bright sunlight. I prefer small dark lures during these conditions. One of my favorite spinners is the McKenzie Medium that Jed Davis discusses in his legendary book on spinner fishing. This spinner is made up of tarnished brass components, which give a presence in the water without spooking the fish with a lot of flash. There are several ways to tarnish your shiny brass blades and bodies. One of the quickest and easiest ways to do this is by holding the blade or body with a pair of needle nose pliers over an open flame, I use a candle.

Hold it in the flame for as long as it takes for the shiny brass to give it a nice tarnished look. This may take 30 - 60 seconds or more depending on the size of the blade. If the blade starts to get black with soot, don't worry just wipe it clean with a damp paper towel when your finished.

You can see the difference between the shiny brass on the left and the tarnished one on the right.

Be sure to use plain brass blades for this process, not the laquer covered ones. A #2 tarnished brass spinner is one of my favorite lures to use for summer steelhead in the middle of a bright sunny summer day. Swing these spinners through the fast, shallow riffles, and hang on!