Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Tom Nixon Spinner

Originator: Tom Nixon

Version by: Tom Nixon

Species: bass, sunfish, crappie, white bass, pickeral


In his landmark book, "Fly Tying and Fly Fishing for Bass and Panfish", warmwater fly fishing legend Tom Nixon of Lake Charles, LA, details numerous patterns that utilize spinners, and goes into great detail about the different types of blades and their action. Purists may be offended, but spinners on flies is part of the warmwater tradition. "They catch fish", Nixon says, "because of how much action they give with little or no forward motion. The oscillation transmits flashing 'here i am' signals to any and all nearby creatures".

There are two types of spinner flies: inline and offset. The inline flies are easier to cast with light rods and tied on sizes 6-8 can catch a wide variety of fish. While his Mickey Brim and Feather Duster are classics of their own, this particular pattern emerged in recent years, and has been an absolute killer on bass and crappie. Whatever name Tom gave it has been obsoleted, such a great fly deserves the name of the master who created it!


- 6 gauge stainless steel or bright music wire
- #14 brass barrel swivels
- light weight beads 1/8" in diameter in various colors
- #3 or #4 Indiana spinner blade
- size 6 or 8 Mustad #3366 hook or equal
- chartreuse, white, or black yarn for body
- copper wire for ribbing
- calf tail or soft hackle in color coordinated to yarn


1) Cut a section of wire about 3 inches, you need only about half of that, the rest makes it easier to work with.
2) Tie the feather or calf tail on the hook as normal.
3) Fasten the hook to the wire shaft by forming an eye on the wire. Cinch off the eye with three turns of wire, then trim.
4) Tie in thread on the harness wire, tie in the copper wire. Tie in yarn or begin dubbing at the end of the wire near the hook.
5) Bring the yarn or dubbing forward up about an inch, then spiral the copper wire forward to that point. Tie off the yarn and copper wire, and secure with knot.
6) slide 3 beads down the wire, then the spinner, then a single bead.
7) Create an eye on the last segment of the harness wire, by doubling back and wrapping around the shaft 3 times, then trimming. Make sure you leave enough room on the shaft for the beads to slide a little.
8) Go fishing.


Tom Nixon's book has been out of print for over a decade. However a copy occasionally pops up on eBay. It's not just instructional on tying and fishing, the book is chocked full of great stories you'll want to read over and over again!