Advanced Spinnerbait Strategies

In compartments or trays of every bass anglers tackle totes lies the spinnerbait. Old school, not as sexy as the newest swim bait, or custom painted crankbait but a bass catcher regardless of season or location. A quick trip on the internet or the aisles of any outdoor retail store and there is sits, a double bladed, white skirted 3/8ths ounce safety pin style spinner. On the next peg, a willow / Colorado blade ½ ounce spinner sporting a chartreuse skirt. The drill; choose one from your inventory, a quick Palomar knot and sling it out and crank it back in. Throw it enough times you’re sure to get a bass bite. When conditions get tough you could end up getting a lot of casting practice. You say to yourself, “they always bite this bait”. Therein lies the problem, bass are bombarded with baits including the whirling, flashing spinners. The cure is in your creativity and a more intense understanding of the bait and the bass.


The bass and its environment are important fishing factors when choosing any bait. Seeing, sensing and striking baits are all based off the appeal of the lure and the current conditions. During the 2017 windy, wet Tennessee spring I was faced with a tough scenario, murky water, gusty winds, off any major moon phase and unstable water temperatures. Difficult for sure. My game plan started the night before. Anticipating what I would be facing I selected a few jigs, couple of crankbaits and after a minute of staring at my spinnerbaits decided to make a few alterations. Poking through my “blade box” I took a standard Strike King spinnerbait the “burner” model, a ½ ounce model to facilitate casting in the wind, stability in the current as well as the ability to retain feel contact with the bait, and went to work. My thought process included this bait would track the best as I worked against the wind, a blade that would be more visible but not too garish, a skirt that complimented the look produced by the blades and was visible in the highly stained water, and a trailer hook (standard on some baits) removal. The head on the Burner bait is made to accommodate a high speed retrieve, no twisting or rolling as the bait is brought back in. My preference is to remove the trailer hook to ensure I don’t deeply hook a fish ending eventually in mortality. To compensate for short striking fish you can always trim the skirt down and or slow your retrieve or do both. The biggest alteration, the back blade replacement. This is easier with the use of a split ring pliers to open the “O” ring securing the back blade. Start the ring open and begin the slide of the original blade, right in line with that start the new blade in, as you work the blades around the original blade will come off and the replacement will be locked in. I purposely attached a larger, copper colored, hammered finish willow leaf model. This blade is rarely seen, adds a larger flash as it revolves and is most weedless. This all adds up to a win for working the weed beds I imagined that the bass would be staged on. Bingo!
Component Conclusions- Least appreciated, likely one of the most important parts of a spinner is the swivel holding the back blade. Without a high quality swivel the blade doesn’t feely rotate, throwing the bait off and adding an awkward wobble to a lure guaranteed NOT to run true. The weight of the bait will help in the casting and controlling the lure, normal for me is the 3/8ths ounce which matches my jigs, buzzers and Texas rig weights, this allows for a consistent feel in the hands of the caster and makes accurate casting more likely. Blades combine for flash and the vibration running through the wire arm. Skirts are a matter of opinion, my belief the skirt is more for the basser than the bass. My viewpoint, bait colors and skirt colors are like ordering chicken in a restaurant, “Do you want light or dark”? The hook should be “sticky” sharp.


Current Conditions, Wind, Water and Sky Colors – Choosing colors and baits is just a matter of accessing the weather and water conditions. In the wind, I immediately pick up a spinnerbait. Jigs and soft plastics are a challenge in a stiff breeze. Crankbaits can be used but the spinners are most effective. Bright sky, light wind, clear water means smaller bait, in a lighter shade or white skirt with Colorado or Indiana blades. Dark skies, breezy and discolored water, go bigger blade, preferably a willow with a black or bright skirt. No wind, ultra-clear water, a quarter ounce mini spinner, at night or muddy water consider a black blade or multiple willow blades for high visibility. If the shy is cloudy expect bass to roam more freely, if there is full sun look for fish to hang tight to cover. Either change in condition may call for a bait switch. For a quick retie the Line Cutterz ring is handy and efficient. www.LineCutterz.com
Wake Em’ Up – Bass nailed closely to cover? Run the bait just under the surface creating a wake. Bass will attack the intruder. Possible targets, aquatic weed beds, submerged wood, dock pilings, rock and any object or obstructions. A great rule of thumb is retrieve the spinnerbait so you can see the blades turning. Thus in clear water the bait will be running deep, in dirty water the lure higher on the water column.


Bump and Wind – Much like crankbaits, the deflection bite is made for the “blade”. A spinnerbait bounced off any object is likely to draw a strike from a bass hugging weeds, wood or any object. Be ready, many times the strike is vicious and instantaneous.


Killin’ It – A modified or fresh from the package short arm spinner has a unique capability. Run the bait close to cover, once it’s clear of cover, stop (kill) it and let it drop. This is a deadly technique around solid larger objects especially logs, boat docks and similarly sized things. The short arm and either the Colorado or Indiana blade helicopters down perfectly as the lure falls, this simulates the look of a dying baitfish which predatory bass find hard to resist. A white bladed /skirted bait in the fall is hard to beat.
Learn to think outside the spinnerbait box. A different twist to the bladed baits can produce some awesome kayak bass catches.

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