Fishing with Spinnerbaits – Tips and Techniques
This article will thoroughly cover fishing with spinnerbaits. Spinnerbaits are very effective fishing lures. While they really don’t resemble any type of natural forage, they put out flash, vibration, and action. Spinnerbaits consist of a wire arm that is shaped a bit like a safety pin. On the upper arm is a spinner blade or blades. On the lower arm is a hook, usually adorned with a rubber skirt or soft plastic bait. The line is tied in the center. There are several reasons why spinnerbaits are effective fishing lures.
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Spinnerbaits are productive fishing lures for anglers for several reasons. Due to their design, spinnerbaits are quite weedless. The wire frame allows them to walk over structure and through weeds and grass. Spinnerbaits have a lot of built in action and are very easy to use. Spinnerbaits will catch just about every freshwater game fish species.
Spinnerbaits are mostly used by freshwater anglers. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and colors. The tiniest versions will catch bluegill and panfish. The largest spinner baits will fool a trophy pike or musky. Saltwater anglers do use spinnerbaits occasionally as well, mostly for fishing for redfish in shallow water.
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Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing charter captain in Sarasota, Florida. While he mostly runs saltwater charters, he grew up in Maryland fishing rivers and tributaries on Chesapeake Bay. He also does quite a bit of freshwater fishing in Florida. He shares some tips and his favorite spinnerbaits in this article.
Rods and reels for fishing with spinnerbaits
Anglers fishing with spinnerbaits use both spinning and bait casting tackle. The primary consideration is the size of the spinnerbait being used. Anglers casting small baits in search of panfish, small bass, and other species usually rely on spinning tackle. This is simply because it is not practical trying to cast a very light lure with bait casting equipment.
Anglers should match the rod and reel to the size of the spinnerbait being cast as well as the fish being targeted. An ultralight outfit with 4 pound or 6 pound line is excellent for panfish, crappie, bluegill, and small bass. 10 to 12 pounds spinning tackle works well for medium-size fish such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, small pike, and other species. Anglers casting the largest of spinner baits for big bass, pike, and musky can either use bait casting equipment or heavy spinning outfits. Zebco Quantum outfits are available in many sizes at a reasonable price.
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Fishing with spinnerbaits; tips and techniques
One of the primary advantages of fishing with spinnerbaits is that they are so easy to use. The action is basically built in, anglers really only need to vary the retrieve speed and depth at which it is allowed to fall through the water column. They can be used in a variety of depths. However, in most instances they are most effective when fished in reasonably shallow water. Also, in many types of fishing, especially using soft plastic baits, bites can be difficult to detect. This is not the case with spinnerbaits!
Spinnerbaits really shine when fished around cover. The design of the bait makes them relatively weedless. Spinner baits tend to walk over fallen trees as well as rocks and other submerged cover. They will also worked our way through weeds. However, just like most baits, spinner baits will load up on heavy moss.
Spinnerbaits are best when fished near cover
The most effective way to fish a spinnerbait is generally to work shoreline cover. The boat is placed at an angle, 45° or less, to the shoreline. This results in the spinner baits staying in the strike zone longer. The angler then casts the lure out past likely looking structure and then works the spinner bait back to it. If the bait can be bounced off a tree limb or rock, so much the better. This is often when a strike occurs.
As with all fishing, anglers should vary the cover, location, depth, and speed to determine what the fish want that day. In most cases, a fairly brisk and steady retrieve works best. However this is not always the case. Sometimes burning it just under the surface will produce. Other days slow rolling close to the bottom works best. Anglers can even combine the two and reel fast for a bit and then let the spinnerbait flutter to the bottom. Spinnerbaits are very effective when worked just over the top of submerged weed beds.
Spinnerbaits can also be used to work deeper structure such as points and rock piles in water between 10 and 15 feet deep. However, this is a bit more technical. It is a technique that produces when the water is on the cold side and fish have schooled up in these traditional winter locations.
Spinnerbait color and size considerations
As in all fishing, anglers who match the spinner bait to the locally available forage as well as the current conditions will almost always be more successful. Spinnerbaits come in a wide variety of sizes and just about every color pattern imaginable. The species of fish being targeted is also another factor to take into account. Obviously, anglers pursuing pan fish will use tiny spinner baits while those chasing pike will use the largest versions.
While color combinations are endless, there are a few patterns that have proven themselves to be productive over time. White is an outstanding color in many fishing situations. Lakes with clear water and those with a lot of shad are natural spots to cast a white spinnerbait. In fact, many forage species tend to be light colored or silvery. This makes white with a silver blade or blades an excellent choice for a variety of species.
Conversely, darker colors along with gold blades work very well in stained water conditions and in low light conditions such as morning, evening, and on cloudy days. Tannin stained water and gold just go together very well. Chartreuse spinnerbaits with either silver or gold blades will catch fish in just about any situation.
Spinnerbait blade options
The blades that are used on a spinner bait definitely have an effect on the action of the lure. The three types of spinnerbait blades that are commonly used are willow leaf, Indiana, and Colorado. Willow leaf blades are long and slender. They are an excellent choice in very clear water or and conditions when fish want more of a finesse presentation. Often times they are used in combination with a Colorado or Indiana blade.
Colorado blades are large and round and put out a ton of vibration. They are the best choice in dirty or stained water when used with a slow steady retrieve. The vibration and flash will draw fish into the bait. They are effective in clear water as well. Indiana blades are similar to Colorado blades, but they are just a little bit smaller.
Trailers and trailer hooks
Anglers can tweak their spinnerbaits a bit more if they desire. Most spinner baits come with a skirt with rubber legs. These undulate seductively in the water and look very realistic. However, many anglers enhance this action while adding some bulk to the lure with the addition of a soft plastic trailer.
Basically any paddle or curly tail grub can be added to the hook of a spinnerbait. This adds both bulk in action to the lure. Even larger soft plastic baits such as frogs can be used. Back in the day, anglers used a chunk of pork with undulating legs on. Soft plastic baits have pretty much replaced that now.
Some spinnerbaits come with a trailer or stinger hook. Anglers can add them to the lure as well. This is another hook that slides over the point and then down to the bend of the spinner bait hook. There are many times when bass and other species will short strike a spinner bait. On these days, the stinger hook can make all the difference in the world.
Fishing with spinnerbaits; top lure choices!
There are many different spinnerbaits on the market for anglers to choose from. There really is no right or wrong lure and all of them will produce fish when used correctly in locations were fish are present. Here are some of the best spinnerbaits that Capt. Jim has found to be productive. The list will be given from the smallest spinnerbaits for panfish up to the largest for pike and musky.
Mister Twister spinnerbait
Strike King Mini spinnerbait
Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait
Full sized spinnerbaits
Redfish Magic Spinnerbait