Spinnerbaits for All Reasons
by Kenny Covington
Of all the lures used to catch bass, a spinnerbait is probably the most versatile but also the most misunderstood of them all. You can fish them shallow, deep and all depths in between. There isn’t a more effective tool in your tackle box for covering our local waters.
Before we start our spinnerbait assault, there are a few overlooked aspect of fishing this particular lure that are very vital to the baits’ effectiveness. Let’s start with the equipment we are going to be using. I like a 6’6” medium heavy rod for all of my spinnerbait fishing. I think a longer rod can be cumbersome and a shorter 6’ version doesn’t allow for good hook sets.
Once I have settled on the type of rod, I will team this up with a 6:3 gear ratio reel spooled with 15 to 20 lb line depending on the cover being fished. I would be more inclined to use 15 lb. line in more open water lakes like Claiborne or Caney and would go heavier for Darbonne or the Ouachita River and its tributaries. With the stain in our local waters, the color line used doesn’t really come into play but make sure you choose a line that can withstand the wear and tear of this technique.
Next we need to choose the lure itself. Spinnerbaits come in all varieties, colors, blade combination and sizes. The most common size, blade combination, and color will be a 3/8 once version with a Colorado/willow leaf version and the color is probably chartreuse and white. I have seen this particular lure tied on a rod more times than I care to count. The reason why this is a popular choice: it simply catches fish.
Other blade combinations can be just as effective when used properly. A ½ ounce single Colorado blade is “the” standard night bait for summer time bass fishing in our area no matter what body of water you are fishing. This same set up is very effective in extremely muddy water or when the water is cold. When the water warms up and the fish begin feeding on shad heavily, I like throwing a 3/8 ounce double willow leaf version. This combination is also extremely effective when fishing grass flats.
Probably one of the most overlooked spinnerbait combinations is the double Colorado set up. I have fished this on a 3/8 ounce version and a ½ ounce lure, I have found that I can catch numbers on the smaller version and bigger fish seem to hit the ½ ounce version better. This combination is really good when fishing areas with heavy wood cover and stained to muddy water conditions.
Color is always a great conversation piece when it comes to spinnerbait fishing. I try to keep my color schemes as simple as possible based on water color and cloud cover. In clear water with bright skies, I like white. In clear water with cloudy skies I like chartreuse/white. In stained or highly stained water with clear skies, I like white and under dark skies, I like chartreuse or chartreuse/blue. Chartreuse/white is a good starting point any time you are fishing water that isn’t clear. For night time bass fishing, I use a black skirt or a variation of black like red/black 100 percent of the time.
Spinnerbait fishing is all about vibration of the blades and the speed of the lure. Those two things are critical. You must pay close attention to what is going on with your retrieve that caused the fish to strike. A lot of this technique is trial and error but here are few standard rules that I go by that might help you put more fish in the boat:
• The clearer the water, the faster I move my bait. This is only effective in the spring through the fall.
• The muddier or dirtier the water, the slower I move my bait and the closer I can get it to cover the better.
• I always use a trailer hook on my spinnerbaits.
• Windy banks are great spinnerbait opportunities.
• Casting accuracy is often overlooked but can be very important.
• Experiment, Experiment, Experiment with blades, colors, retrieves and you will find out just how effective of a tool this can be for not just locating bass, but catching them as well.
In closing I would like to say that right now is a great time to try this versatile lure and technique. Many people believe that the newer wave of Alabama rig fishermen will make the spinnerbait become obsolete and that it may have lost its effectiveness. This simply isn’t so. Tie one on and give it a try, and I am sure you will agree with me.
Please be careful on the water, catch one for me, and I will see you next month.