How To Fishing: Spinnerbaits
Now I’m not saying the following is ALL there is to know about spinnerbait fishing, and if YOU have any further tips, techniques, or advice; OR if you flat out disagree with anything you read here, just let us all know via the comments in the section below.
What’s So Great About Spinnerbaits?
It’s no secret, I LOVE spinnerbaits. A lot of the bass I caught while living in San Francisco, California, were on spinnerbaits. The only bait I caught more bass on while there were on plastic worms.
Naturally, people ask me why I love a spinnerbait so much.
Here are a few reasons:
You can simply cast out a spinnerbait, crank it back, and catch fish. It’s a very easy lure to use.
However, there are some techniques you can employ to increase the spinnerbait’s effectiveness, which I’ll discuss below.
A spinnerbait can cover any part of the water column.
Crank it back fast, and the spinnerbait will stay up on top.
Crank it just a bit faster (“burn it”), and you can “wake” the spinnerbait, meaning the blades will spin just under the water, and create a “wake.”
Let the spinnerbait sink after you throw it out. Use a count so you can duplicate the depth once you start to have success (that is, you catch a bass!). Then retrieve slowly.
You can even let the spinnerbait sink all the way to the bottom. Watch your line as the spinnerbait falls. When the line stops moving and goes limp, it’s on the bottom.
Then slowly lift the rod tip up. When rod tip is vertical, lower the tip and let the spinnerbait fall, while you reel in the slack. This retrieve is very similar to how you would drag a Carolina Rig across the bottom.
And be ready at all time for:
I just love the hit on a spinnerbait! You’re reeling it in, and, SMACK! Fish on!
OK, I admit: the savage strike IS my favorite thing about the spinnerbait.
I believe it shows the real nature of a tough predator.
The speed you retrieve matters. So, if you throw a few times and get no strikes, feel free to slow down, or speed up, or
Selecting A Spinnerbait
There are many factors to consider in choosing the perfect spinnerbait.
For example, if you’re fishing in muddy water, a Colorado blade with a dark skirt would be a good choice. But if the water is “gin clear,” as it usually is here in New Hampshire, then a willow blade with a light skirt is a good pick.
Here are some elements to consider:
Use different sizes for different seasons and water clarity.
During spring, or in clear water, use smaller sizes, such as 1/8 ounce.
In the fall, or in muddy water, choose larger sizes, such as 1 ounce.
The 3/8 ounce size is considered an all purpose size; it’s in The Goldilocks Zone, meaning it’s just right for many types of conditions.
Like most bass lures, spinnerbaits come in a bewildering variety of colors. Some of the specialty colors may be perfect for your needs, depending on the conditions and what bait fish are in the waters you are fishing. For example, one of spinnerbait’s skirts has green, orange, yellow, and black, which is a great match for the perch where I fish.
Otherwise, here are some guidelines for choosing colors.
- Clear water or Sunny Days: White
White is always an awesome color! It’s my favorite, though I do like some specks of black and especially a splash of red as well.
- Dirty water or Cloudy Days: Black / Blue (darker)
Blade Type / Color
A spinnerbait is sometimes referred to (by us OLD BassHoles) as a “safety pin” due to their resemblance to a safety pin. A spinnerbait has a few extra parts:
- Head (weighted)
How To Fishing: Select the right spinnerbait
The blades come in a variety of shapes, most commonly:
Colorado (mostly round)
Lift: The Colorado blade offers the highest level of lift (more water being pushed), making it great for fishing in shallow water.
Vibration: It also generates greater vibration, which is sensed by the bass via its lateral line. So a Colorado blade is a good choice when fishing in muddy water.
Willow Leaf (long and thin)
The Willow blade is much narrower than Colorado, and offers different features.
Flash: The Willow blades length makes it produce much more flash, and less vibration, making it the spinnerbait of choice for clear water, where the bass is using sight as its primary sense (as opposed to its lateral line).
Depth: The Willow blade will also run deeper, as it has less lift. You can fish it higher up in the water column (even near the top) just by speeding up your retrieve.
Weedless: Those thin blades make it easier to drag the spinnerbait right through heavy vegetation. You’ll be amazed at how well a spinnerbait will run through weeds and grass!
TIP: If you do catch some weeds, stop and let the spinnerbait sink. Sometimes it will get off the grass. Then give it a “tug.” And sometimes THAT will persuade a bass to bite!
Indiana (in-between, sort of tear shaped)
Runs Deeper: The Indiana blade is more oblong than the Colorado, so it will run deeper with less vibration. However, it does offer MORE vibration than the Willow blade.
Flash: With its longer silhouette, the Indiana blade produces more flash than Colorado.
“Goldilocks”: The Indiana blade is another example of a medium between the 2 extremes. It offers some of the benefits of each of the other 2 types of blades.
Finally, you can get 2 blades on each spinnerbait, and so can “mix and match” the different shapes (and colors, see below). So you could have a Willow and a Colorado blade combo, as shown on the spinnerbait pictured at the top of this post.
Blades also come in a variety of colors.
- Painted (all colors!)
Again, you choose different colors for different conditions.
Silver: Clear water or sunny days
Copper or Painted: Dirty water or cloudy days
How To Fishing: How to fish a Spinnerbait
There are a variety of ways to fish your spinnerbait, including simply chucking it out and pulling it back.
In my video, I explain a couple of other ways to fish the spinnerbait, as well as how to “tune” the bait so it runs true (with the blades directly above the hook).
So please watch, listen, and fish!
Be sure and let me know how you do, come back and leave a comment about your spinnerbait success!
Roger, The Smiling BassHole