Cumberland Times-News

June 9, 2012

You get one lure

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— If, for some reason, I was told I could have just one lure/fly/bait with which to fish from here on out, my choice would be easy.

I would choose a Mepps spinner.

You might say, “Mepps has a lot of spinners, but you get one.”

To which I would say, “OK, then I’ll take a Mepps Aglia.”

Then you say, “What size and color?

“Silver blade, No. 2,” I reply.

The Mepps people brag that they make the “World’s #1 Lure.”

I can find no reason to disagree.

Monday evening I went to one of my fishing spots and was casting a silver-bladed Mepps Aglia, though this one was a size No. 1, slightly smaller than the one I would be allowed for all of my future fishing trips.

I caught a small rock bass, a medium-sized bluegill, a 15-inch fallfish and a 13-inch rainbow trout that fought like a northern pike.

I had several other strikes that didn’t hook up.

The Mepps Aglia has been around since “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released as an animated motion picture by Walt Disney. I said it that way to make you look it up.

The original Mepps Aglia was created in France, but it is extremely efficient at catching North American fish of all kinds, sizes and shapes.

One of the attributes of this spinner is that it is heavy enough to cast reasonable distances and heavy enough to sink to proper depths without the addition of split shot. Varying water conditions can affect that, of course.

The biggest advantage to the Mepps Aglia is that its blade spins very easily. For decades I have caught most of my trout on this lure by tossing it upstream — sometimes directly upstream — and cranking it at whatever speed is necessary to make the blade rotate as it races the river downstream. Spinners moving downstream are vulnerable prey in the minds of large fish. This is a deadly technique, although only deadly if you choose to keep the fish you catch.

Mepps lures catch everything: pike, muskies, pickerel, trout, bass, catfish, perch, walleye, panfish, rough fish, you name it.

Something very big followed my Mepps Monday evening. I think it may have been an otter.

I would choose the No. 2 size because it is just big enough to attract the larger version of game fish and still interest and hook a 10-inch rainbow or a 7-inch crappie.

My biggest brown trout from Utah rivers such as the Logan, Blacksmith Fork, Provo and Weber all struck the Mepps Aglia. Ditto for big rainbows and browns from Wyoming’s Green River or steelhead from Washington’s Touchet River.

I caught very nice Dolly Vardens on the lure in the headwaters of the Walla Walla River in northeast Oregon and hooked but then lost a monster fish in the Snake River’s Hell’s Canyon. Never did see that one. I was badly under-gunned with my equipment. Probably a steelhead although a behemoth smallmouth isn’t out of the question.

In Idaho’s Boise River below Arrowrock Dam, Iā€ˆlanded VERY big Dolly Vardens and relatively small mountain whitefish with my favorite lure.

When son Jake was little we would drive on Saturdays to the Snake River near Melba, Idaho, where he caught channel catfish, smallmouth and even squawfish on the Mepps.

The lure works just as well in Almost Maryland and surrounding aquatic environs. Flip it in one of the reservoirs such as the one on Savage River  or in Deep Creek Lake or Mount Storm.

Be ready for a whack at any time.

For a number of years I made my own “Mepps-style” spinners, ordering the parts from Herters and putting them together with just a pair of needle-nose pliers that also had a wire cutting edge. They worked, too, but not quite as well as the real thing.

One of the advantages of the Mepps Aglia, a lure for the ages, is that it is simple. It simply catches fish.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at