The Spinnerbait is a terrific all-around bass fishing bait. They have been used by some of the best pro anglers in the world. Guys like Rick Clunn, Tommy Martin, and Ken Cook have won major tournaments using the spinnerbait. It’s even at the top of Kevin VanDam’s go-to arsenal.
In this article, I will attempt to go through some of the best ways you can use a spinnerbait. Blades, of the spinnerbait, are a major part of this bait. Mike Cork has already written a great article about them here: Spinnerbait blade sizes. I won’t be going into a lot of detail about blades and more how to fish with a spinnerbait.
To get us started on the fast track, let’s begin with burning the spinnerbait through the water. You can do this by throwing the spinnerbait past your target area and performing a fast retrieve. Raising your rod’s tip will help keep the spinnerbait up near the surface. When done correctly this should leave a wake behind your spinnerbait. Some refer to this as ‘waking’. This technique usually works well over some type of cover, like a patch of grass or brush pile.
Another popular technique is slow-rolling. Slow-rolling means retrieving the bait slowly over and through cover objects. This technique can be performed in shallow water, as well as deep water. Heavier spinnerbait sizes like 1/2 ounce and above will make it easier to get the lure to touch the bottom. It is a good idea to keep bumping the bottom on the retrieve. You could also follow the contour of whatever you are rolling the bait over and have it tick objects below it.
William Davis, owner of Davis Baits, who works with top pros like Aaron Martens, had this to say about his techniques. “I fish a Spinner Bait year round. The two times of the year I like best is the hot Summer and Fall. When the water temps start to rise, 80 to 90 plus degrees, bass move off shore. I will use a 1 1/2 oz XWIRE and smoke the big ones. I will throw this bait in the same places that most throw a crank bait. This time of the year, fall, when the bass are in the upper water column feeding on bait fish, I fish a Davis Series XWIRE low profile burning it right under the surface. This technique even works in gin clear water. They will come out of no-where and just kill the bait.”
One key element to remember on your retrieves is to vary the speed. Don’t just do a steady retrieve. You may want to pause for second on a fast retrieve or twitch the bait on a slow retrieve by moving your rod tip down in a quick motion.
There is a technique called ‘ripping it’. Make a long cast letting the bait sink to the bottom and then point your rod tip at the lure and reel as fast as you can for several revolutions then stopping the bait letting it drop to the bottom again. Bites may come on the drop, so be ready.
The ‘helicopter’ is another technique that has become popular with anglers. Find a wall, rock pile, or edge of cover and cast your spinnerbait next to it. Let the bait float down to the bottom, let out some line if you need too, so it falls into the area it landed. Once it reaches the bottom, slowly pull up on the rod, but do not reel. Then lower your rod letting the spinnerbait helicopter back down to the bottom again.
You can also use a spinnerbait like a jig. Sometimes you can get the spinnerbait up out of places you wouldn’t be able to get your jig out of. Drop the spinnerbait down where you might throw a jig and lift it up a few feet letting it drop down again. This is not the same as the helicopter because you don’t lift it as high and you use this in different cover situations.
Another important technique to perform with a spinnerbait is to bump it into objects. Cast your spinnerbait past a stump, and while reeling it back let it hit the stump. When it hits, stop reeling and let the bait drift for a second and then continue to reel again. Even if you are reeling by an object and don’t actually hit it with the spinnerbait, move your rod a bit to the side to simulate hitting something and let it drift for a second and continue reeling again.
Some other tips you should keep in mind when looking to spinnerbaits to catch bass.
You can use these techniques at night too. The spinnerbait is an excellent lure to use in the dark. The thumping the blades give in the water is an easy way to attract bass.
You can try different trailers on your spinnerbaits, like a ring tail worm or split tail worm.
A trailer hook is sometimes used to hook fish that short strike your spinnerbait.
Using smaller types of spinnerbaits can be very successful when the fish aren’t wanting a big meal, when the bait fish are small.
There are so many techniques and variations you can perform with the spinnerbait, it is hard to cover it all in one article. I hope some of these techniques help you become a better angler and to see how versatile the spinnerbait can be.