Spinnerbaits attract and catch bass in a more unique style than any other bass lure. At first glance they don’t appear like they would be an effective lure because theres really nothing natural looking about them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Spinnerbaits have been catching bass for decades using blades that flash and leverage the sensitivity of a basses lateral line through vibration.
They’re one of the most popular lures used in bass fishing, from weekend anglers to tournament fishermen. One reason for their popularity is how versatile these lures are. A single spinnerbait can effectively cover just about any area in a body of water. They’re semi-weedless too so they can be fished in and around cover in deep or shallow water.
Simply put, they’re jigs with a wire attached to the head thats bent at something around 90 degrees. The jig is typically dressed with a rubber skirt. On the other end of the wire, one or more spinner blades are attached with a rotating swivel that allow the blades to flutter and spin freely. The fishing line ties where the 90 bends.
Fishing a spinnerbait can be as easy as casting it out and reeling it straight in. Thats the beauty of a spinnerbait, they produce their own action. Of course theres much more to learn if you want to become an expert in all conditions with these lures. This spinnerbait guide is loaded with information on how to fish these magnificent lures, but first you need to select the appropriate style.
This page is all about spinnerbaits, including how to select them and how to fish them. But if your simply looking for the best spinnerbaits then we rated these as the top three:
The two most important factors you need to consider first when selecting a spinnerbait is the speed and depth your looking to fish it. The speed of retrieval is heavily based on the style and number of blades you choose. Naturally the heavier the weighted head is the faster it is going to sink down in the water column, but the blade style and/or combination of blades on the bait is going to play a major role in the running depth as well.
The blade/blades of a spinnerbait put out a ton of vibrations in the water, and these vibrations send a signal to bass that is very attractive. To a bass, it feels just like the vibrations of a distressed minnow. They detect these vibrations using their lateral line.
Bass have a line of modified scales that are sensitive to vibrations in the water. This is called the lateral line, and it starts just behind their eyes and goes all the way to the tail on both sides of their bodies. Not only does it transmit vibrations to the bass’s brain, it also measures distance and direction. It’s so sensitive that bass are able to sense vibrations from several dozen yards away.
Not only are the blades putting out vibrations but they are also controlling the speed and running depth of the bait. Some blades displace more water than others. The more water displacement there is the slower it is going to move through the water and the higher up in the water column it is going to run.
There are three styles of spinnerbait blades: the Willow blade, the Colorado blade, and the Indiana blade. They all work the same way in that they spin and create vibration in the water. What makes them different is their shape, which regulates how much vibration they put out and how quickly they travel through the water. Each style has their own strengths and weaknesses that either make them better or worse in certain conditions. Heres a breakdown of each one and when you should use them.
The Willow Blade
The Willow blade is long and skinny, designed to cut through the water much faster than any other blade. This makes them the best blade for targeting deeper water because they dive down in the water column faster. They will even continue to sink as they are retrieved.
These blades also put out the least amount of vibration, so bass won’t be able to detect them as easily from a long distance with their lateral line. They are best used in clear water where bass are mainly relying on their sight to detect prey. With that said, you don’t want a bass to get a good look at a spinnerbait because of how unnatural they appear. All you want them to see is flash and movement. That’s what makes these fast moving blades ideal for clear water conditions.
The Colorado Blade
The slowest moving spinnerbait blade is the Colorado blade. These blades are more rounded, displacing more water as they spin and slowing the bait down big time. They also give the bait some lift, keeping them up higher in the water column as they’re retrieved.
These are ideal blades for shallow water or when you want to keep the bait just below the surface. They put out more vibration than the other style blades. When the water is murky and visibility is low, bass rely more on their lateral line to detect prey, giving these blades the advantage over the others. You can’t beat the Colorado blade in shallow murky water.
The Indiana Blade
The Indiana blade falls somewhere in between the Colorado blade and the Willow blade. It’s a blend of the two combined in a single blade, in more of an oval shape. This is a good blade when your fishing different water depths and still zeroing in on where the bass are holding. It’s also perfect for when your looking for a more moderate speed, like when water is not completely clear or murky.
Combining blades can help you zero in on the exact depth your targeting and action your looking to put out. You may have heard anglers refer to a tandem spinnerbait, which means it has a main blade combined with a secondary blade. Some spinnerbaits are even designed to have three or more blades. The purpose of these multi blade designs is to create more vibration and combine the advantages of the different style blades in one spinnerbait.
Its a good idea to implement the use of trailer hooks on your spinnerbaits. Bass often come up short when attempting to bite these fast moving lures, which you will begin to see once you catch a few bass on your trailer hook.
Its basically just an additional hook attached to the back end of the lure. The eyelet of the trailer hook slides over the main hook and trails behind the lure as its retrieved. A little plastic stopper needs to be added to keep the trailer hook from slipping off.
Since spinnerbaits create their own action, the most common way to fish them is by simply casting them out and reeling them back in a straight retrieve. Fishing them this way will certainly catch fish, but it’s knowing where and when to use a spinnerbait that makes the difference. There are also more ways to entice bites than with a simple straight retrieve.
To increase and decrease the speed of retrieval, aside from adjusting reel speed and blade style, you can bend the wire frame wider or narrower than the original 90 degrees. Bending it open to a wider angle will slow the bait down and narrower will increase the speed.
The wire has a secondary benefit of functioning as a weed guard, making the lure somewhat weedless. Your not going to be able to get these baits through thick cover, but spinnerbaits work exceptionally well in light cover like through grass and timber.
The repetitive motion of a spinnerbait in a straight retrieve can be unappealing to bass when they’re inactive or when the conditions don’t call for it. Thats when different techniques should be implemented that better fit the conditions. Here are some very effective methods for fishing spinnerbaits.
A great way of triggering strikes when a straight retrieve isn’t doing the trick, is to every so often as your reeling give your rod a jerk to make the bait change up it’s repetitive action. The best time to jerk the rod is right when the lure is passing by some sort of cover like a rock or log. A lot of times this can be the different between a bass instantly attacking it or slowly investigating it.
Jerking the rod like this creates what is called a reaction bite. This is when a bass reacts to the sudden random movement of a lure by attacking it. If a bass sees a spinnerbait rolling by at a consistent speed, they know they have time to follow and investigate it. By randomly jerking the rod tip your making the bait’s behavior seem more unpredictable, making a curious bass more likely to attack it.
Running a spinnerbait just under the surface so that the blade disturbs the surface is a very effective tactic. You’ll have to keep the rod tip up high as you reel to keep the bait up close to the surface. This technique works best in warm shallow water, like in spring or summer. It will work in deeper water too, especially if you see baitfish swirling and run it through them.
This is a great tactic when bass are inactive and not chasing faster retrieves. It’s called the yoyo retrieve because you make the lure go up and down like a yoyo. Basically you let the spinnerbait sink to the bottom right off the cast. Then you lift the rod tip up and lower it while reeling in the slack. This will make the bait jump up and down off the bottom, spinning the blade as it rises and letting it flutter as it sinks. This is an excellent method for fishing a spinnerbait in cold water.