I have always been a big fan of spinner baits. Maybe because my early bass fishing was in vegetation and timber filled lakes where spinner baits excelled, none the less I have been able to consistently catch fish with spinner baits no matter where I fish.
Although spinner baits can be classified as chunk and wind baits, and they will catch fish doing this during the right time of year, employing some basic techniques to your retrieves will help improve the amount of strikes you get with spinner baits.
Just like crank baits, bouncing spinner baits off of available cover will trigger a strike from some of the most lock-jawed bass out there. I like double willow leaf spinner baits for this because when the spinner bait hits the cover and you pause it, the blades of the bait will bang together as it falls giving it a completely different noise. So now you have two triggering affects, a deflection in direction and a noise change as well. When ever possible always bounce your spinner bait off of timber, dock pilings, or anything hard, and once you do pause a second and let it flutter.
Another great retrieve for spinner baits that most people don’t employ is ripping it, just like you would with jerk baits in the early spring. Make long parallel casts to bank lines or grass lines and with a medium to fast retrieve bring your bait back bouncing your rod tip causing your bait to jump forward and fall then jump and fall. This can be dynamite when bass are aggressively feeding on bait fish in the summer months. Just about any style spinner bait works well with this retrieve, from single or tandem blades in combinations of Colorado and willow leaf.
Waking! Waking spinner baits can be some of the most exciting action your heart can take. Take a half ounce to three quarter ounce spinner bait with a single or double colorado blade combination and retrieve it just under the surface so that the spinner bait is causing a wake on the surface. The slowest steady retrieve you can maintain and keep the bait on the surface is best. This technique is awesome in low light condition early and late in the day.
A technique that requires some patience but will put heat of the summer or dead of the winter bass in your boat is Yo-Yoing spinner baits. This is best done with single bladed spinner baits. I like to opt for a willow leaf in the summer months for more flash and a Colorado blade in the winter months for more thump. The retrieve is very simple, just like your basic worm retrieve. Cast your bait down your favorite point, along a favorite ridge, or it can be excellent on bluff walls. Simply let your bait hit the bottom, lift your rod to the 10 o’clock position and then let the bait fall again. I like to keep the bait on a taught line as many strikes occur on the fall. Also never lift your rod to the twelve o’clock position as you will get strikes at the top of the lift when the bait pauses before falling, and if your rod is all the way up you have no wear to go with a hook set.
The “slow rolling” technique has been around for years and we have all read about it and have probably employed it many times. However it does take a slightly specialized spinner bait to do it correctly, unless fishing shallow waters. Waters deeper than 10 feet you will need a bait that is half ounce or better and of a single blade variety. I have had my best luck with willow leaf blades because they spin at slower speeds and don’t lift the spinner bait as easily during the retrieve. Cast your bait out and count it down to the depth you feel your bass are holding at or let it hit the bottom. And then slowly retrieve your bait, remember by design spinner baits lift as you retrieve them so the slower you retrieve it the better. Just because you can’t feel the blades turning doesn’t mean they are not. At times during your retrieve it is wise to let your bait flutter and fall just to make sure you are staying in your correct depth range. When slow rolling if you can find your fish where you can keep your bait in contact with the bottom, this is best as you will always know your bait is in the strike zone. Just like with any other bait, suspended bass are hard to stay with.
Spinner baits are extremely versatile baits, I am constantly learning new ways myself that produce fish using them. These are just some of the basic retrieve that work well when using them. The blade combinations and color combinations are endless. You can add trailers such as grubs to slow the fall, add flash, or allow for a slower retrieve. The key to spinner baits is to keep and open mind and believe that they will catch fish year round!