If you’ve never fished a spinnerbait you’re missing out on one of the most versatile lures out there. Spinnerbaits (aka “blades”) can be fished throughout the seasons in a large variety of situations. They are also fairly weedless and have the ability to easily go through trees, grass, and other cover without an issue. When bass are feeding heavily on baitfish or holding around structure, the spinnerbait is definitely the way to go. Few other lures produce as much flash and vibration as a blade does, and you’ll be surprised at how effective it is once you learn to work it properly. Time to learn how to throw these bad boys using spinnerbait fishing tips I’ve collected from putting hundreds of hours out on the water.
Different Types of Spinnerbaits
There are a variety of spinnerbaits on the market, and it’s important to understand the applications for each type. Different weights, colors, and blade types may seem complicated, but if you simplify things it will help you fish more efficiently and confidently.
Spinnerbait Blade Selection
This is the most important aspect of fishing a spinnerbait. Each blade applies to specific weather conditions, water clarity, and other natural factors. Here’s the breakdown:
The willow blade offers the most flash out of all blade types, making it perfect for imitating baitfish when bass are actively feeding in the summer and fall seasons. A thin profile allows you to slip through grass, timber, and other structure with ease. The thinner profile also creates less drag in the water, meaning you can fish your spinnerbait faster with less pull on the rod.
The Colorado blade allows you to fish conditions where a willow blade is not as effective. The rounder and wider profile of a Colorado blade emits more thump and vibration in the water, helping bass track the bait in murky water and night fishing situations. The increased vibration also allows you to fish in deeper water with better sensitivity throughout your rod.
The Indiana blade is the combination of both the Colorado and willow blades. The thinner yet round design allows it to emit more flash than a Colorado blade and more vibration than a willow blade, making it the perfect hybrid. If your Colorado blade has too much drag in the water, tie on a spinnerbait with an Indiana blade for the same thump but quicker retrieve. This blade is recommended for stained water or low-light situations.
Spinnerbait Blade Colors
There are hundreds of colors out there, but once again it’s important to simplify your choices. Once you understand the basic fundamentals of how blade colors work, you can expand into your own personal color combinations.
Chrome & Silver
When there is decent to great water clarity, definitely use a chrome willow blade. The chrome will reflect sunlight much better than gold and give off a bright flash that closely imitates the darting action of a small baitfish.
Gold & Copper
When the water is heavily stained or muddy, throw a gold or copper Colorado blade. These colors will enhance the filtered sunlight better than chrome and throw a bright yellow flash in the water.
You can use colored blades for clear water situations as well. Common colors include white, chartreuse, red, etc. When the fish aren’t biting chrome colored blades give these a try. Try to match the forage (baitfish, crawfish, etc.) and colored blades can prove to be very effective.
Spinnerbait Skirt Colors
As a general rule of thumb, natural colors in clear water work best. Shad and other baitfish colors work best in fall and summer when bass feed heavily on bait, and bluegill colors are great for summer and spring conditions when sunfish are plentiful.
You can either go very dark or very bright when fishing murky water. Dark colors include black, blue, purple and brighter colors include chartreuse, white, orange, etc. The darker colors will create a sharper contrast in stained water, and brighter colors will help maximize visibility. The choice is yours – both ranges of colors work well.
Adding Trailers To Your Spinnerbait
This is completely optional, however, many anglers swear by trailers. The possibilities are endless, as you can use paddle tail swimbaits, creature baits, and curly tail grubs. You can either keep the spinnerbait skirt on for a bulkier look or completely remove it and have the trailer by itself for a more sleek, finesse approach. I have a few personal choices but feel free to explore your options.
- Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper
- Gary Yamamoto Swim Senko
- Keitech Swing Impact FAT 3.8-4.8”
Using Spinnerbait Trailer Hooks
When you are getting a bunch of short strikes it’s time to throw on a trailer hook. This is simply a short-shank hook with a strip of rubber around the eyelet that prevents it slipping off the main hook. These will definitely increase your hooking ratio so they’re worth a shot!
- Gamakatsu Trailer Hook SP 1/0
Choosing The Right Spinnerbait Weight
Shallow to Medium Depth
If you are fishing fairly shallow (10 feet or less) use a lighter spinnerbait. Any bait around the ⅜ – ½oz. range is ideal so your bait doesn’t hit bottom too quickly.
Medium to Deep Depths
If you want to fish your spinnerbait deeper use a ½ – 1oz. bait. This will help it sink down to the proper depths and allows you to stay in contact with the bottom. There are plenty of spinnerbaits over an ounce on the market and it’s up to you to decide how fast you’d like your bait to fall.
Best Spinnerbaits for Bass Fishing
After a bunch of trial and error, I’ve definitely narrowed my choices down to a few trusty baits. Each one has its own specific time and place on the water and have produced many quality fish in all sorts of situations. It’s always important to find what works for you! Don’t let this list constrict you to holding out on the hundreds of brands out there that can potentially be your personal confidence lure.
Lucky Craft SKT Spinnerbait 5/8oz.
- These are absolutely amazing for fishing shallow-water conditions. The lighter 5/8oz. makes the SKT Spinnerbait perfect for fishing right up against the bank, and the thinner blades allow you to retrieve faster with much less drag through the water. In fact, most times I can barely even feel the blades turning but sure enough they’re always spinning perfectly. The smaller, compact profile and realistic head gives me confidence straight out of the package, and the way it flashes and works through cover is super effective.
Revenge Baits Spinnerbaits
- I look at the Revenge Spinnerbait as a bigger, bulkier version of the Lucky Craft SKT. This blade will definitely produce more vibration in the water and the Deep Runner series will allow you to fish depths that the SKT could never reach effectively. I appreciate the stout hooks and thicker wire as it helps the bait last much longer, and the color selection is perfect for every situation.
Booyah Moon Talker Spinnerbait
- Every night angler should have one of these in their tackle box. The Moon Talker enormous Colorado blade puts so much vibration in the water your whole rod will be thumping hard during the retrieve. The larger blade also allows you to work the bait much slower while still getting the desired vibration, perfect for any nighttime fishing.
The Proper Spinnerbait Setup
A good spinnerbait rod has a soft tip and decent backbone. The softer tip allows you to feel every thump of the blade, giving you the maximum sensitivity to detect bites. If you are fishing deeper water use a rod with a soft tip and slightly heavier backbone to hookset effectively. While spinning rods work, a baitcasting rod is highly recommended for better feel and action. Knowing how to cast a baitcaster reel will be helpful and allow you to accurately target structures.
- Powell Max 3D 713 Casting
- Powell Max 3D 714 Casting (Slightly stiffer backbone than 713)
I recommend a medium to high gear ratio casting reel when it comes to spinnerbait fishing. Any reel in the 6:1 and 7:1 gear ratio is ideal. I’d stay away from any 5:1 and lower speeds because you’ll have to reel too fast to get good action and pick up any slack line. If you are fishing deeper water I’d recommend the faster 7:1 gear ratio to help pick up slack line more effectively, but overall a 6:1 reel has perfect control for any spinnerbait.
- Shimano Curado I 201HG (7.2:1)
- Shimano Curado I 201 (6.3:1)
- Spooled with 12-15lb Seaguar InvisX Fluorocarbon Line
Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques
The key to fishing a spinnerbait is to fish it near structure. Submerged trees, brush, rocks, and vegetation are all prime areas. The beauty of throwing a spinnerbait is the fact that it is weedless, allowing you to target the middle or back of structure and come out without snagging issues. Toss your bait between tree limbs, weed edges, ledges, rocky points, etc. for the best chance of finding fish.
The Right Weather Conditions
Spinnerbaits can be fished in all types of weather conditions and water clarity situations, but there are a few specific conditions that help the bait achieve maximum effectiveness. Wind and overcast skies are the two perfect weather conditions, and if you can find a combination of both you are in luck. The flashy nature of your blade will reflect light while wind breaks up the surface of the water and hides the bulkiness of your bait.
A slow, steady retrieve is ideal when bass are holding in deeper water or when they are more sluggish in the colder months. Cast out, let your bait sink to the bottom and barely crank the handle just enough for you to feel the blades turning. A Colorado blade is preferred for this technique as it provides more drag in the water and allows you to achieve the slowest speed. Use a 6:1 gear ratio reel so you can turn the handle faster without speeding up the bait for a more comfortable retrieve.
This is my go-to retrieve and works for most situations. It’s up to you whether you want a 6:1 or 7:1 reel for this retrieve as the faster cranking will be comfortable for both. Simply cast, let your bait sink a few feet (or hit bottom) and begin a moderate, steady retrieve. Feel free to add a few hard twitches in between to cause the skirt and blades to flare, often adding that extra flash to entice a strike.
This is a popular retrieve when fishing in deeper water or through hard structure. Simply cast, let your bait hit the bottom, lift your rod tip and lower it quickly. This causes your bait to rise fast off the ground and fall slowly on slack line, closely mimicking a dying baitfish.