The spinnerbait is probably the single most versatile bait you can have in your tackle box. With 2 or 3 different sizes and several different pattern/color and blade combinations, you have a set of baits that you can fish fast, slow, deep, shallow, and in between to catch fish in all seasons, and in all weather, water, and cover conditions encountered.
I would be willing to bet that for the majority of bass fishermen, their largest fish was caught on a spinnerbait. Certainly not to say that soft plastics, crankbaits, and jigs don’t catch big ones too. Why is it that spinnerbaits are such great producers? I believe it is a combination of several factors that are listed in order of significance:
- It is a very natural looking, medium size bait fish imitation
- Spinnerbait blades produce very natural vibrations and pressure changes in the water as they spin
- The skirts mimic bait fish fin and gill movement as they pulsate and change shape slightly with very slight changes in retrieve speed
- The flash of the blades also serves to mimic contrasts of reflected light from bait fish movement
Don’t get stuck in the routine of cast-retrieve, cast-retrieve when fishing spinnerbaits. If the cover and bottom structure allows, try letting the spinnerbait fall all the way down to the bottom, just like you would with a jig. Then when you start the retrieve, give it a quick jump start initially; just like a jig, a bass may have seen the bait fall to the bottom and sit there, and the quick movement can trigger some smashing strikes as the fish sees the bait suddenly move. After all, a spinnerbait is basically a jig except it has some extra jewelry hanging around. Another benefit of starting from the bottom is that you will cover the entire water column as you retrieve the spinnerbait back.
Do vary the speed of your retrieve until you figure out just how it is they want things on the given day. If the bass are not active, a slower retrieve of the spinnerbait is usually the ticket to get some strikes. When they start feeding aggressively, speed things up for lots of fast and hard hitting action!
Spinnerbaits are a type of bait that work well in all seasons. But did you know that spinnerbaits are absolutely deadly for catching bass at night??? Try a dark colored skirt like Mud Minnow on a spinnerbait with a single Colorado blade. Give it a nice and steady thump-thump-thump retrieve and you will see what everyone is talking about!
Another technique that is productive for a single Colorado blade is to let the bait fall straight down and do the “helicopter” thing. A single Colorado blade spinnerbait falling straight down looks incredibly just like an injured bait fish falling to its demise.
Don’t get stuck in the routine of using only solid chartreuse or solid white spinnerbaits. With the availability of so many colors for spinnerbait skirts, why not be throwing something that looks like something? There are all manner of types of shad, perch, sunfish, etc. out there. Take a look around and see if there is any bait fish activity, and if there is, then decide what kind of spinnerbait color/pattern would best mimic the current food supply for Mr Bigmouth (or Mr. Smallmouth).
We each have our favorite type of blades for a spinnerbait. But again, with just two types of blades (Colorado and Willow), you can put together 5 different configurations of spinnerbaits. Single Colorado, Single Willow, Tandem (double) Colorado, Tandem Willow, and a Colorado/Willow tandem! And then mix in all the different blades finishes and we’ve got one super versatile bait!
Comparing Colorado and Willow blades:
Colorado blades produce more “thump” than willow blades. In stained and muddy water, and when bass are very tight to cover, the “thump” gets them interested long before the bait gets close enough to strike. Colorado blades also tend to “lift” the spinnerbait upwards to the surface more than do willow blades.
Willow blades produce more flash than do Colorado blades. Willow blades are more weedless than Colorado blades, and will be easier to pull through weeds, grass, and the like. Because willow blades lift the bait less, you can generally retrieve a willow blade spinnerbait faster than one with a Colorado blade.
A Colorado blade retrieved fairly fast will create an nice bulge in the water surface as it moves, and will occasionally sputter which can bring on some pretty exciting strikes. If you want to have the bulge without the sputter, try a tandem Willow blade bait.
As with any other bait you fish with, fish a spinnerbait with 100% confidence on each and every cast. You are throwing a very natural looking imitation of a bait fish from the sound and vibrations they naturally produce to the colors and patterns they present.
Rods for Spinnerbaits
Unless you are fishing some very nasty cover, a medium action rod will ensure that you hook and land many more fish than if you are using a stiffer, less responsive medium-heavy action rod.
Happy spinnerbait fishing