Friday, July 15, 2011

My summertime love affair with spinnerbaits

As early season fades to summer the forage base changes along with it. The fish generally are keying on the prevalent baitfish and no longer looking for crawdads or other creature type baits. Sure a bass may take something in the moment of opportunity but smaller fish are typically on the main course in summer. This forces me to abandon my beloved senkos and jigs. My summertime affection shifts to the sexier skirted spinnerbait. I almost feel like I am cheating.

Elements that make the spinnerbait so irresistible start with the larger baitfish presentation that this lure provides. The skirt gives appetizing bulk to the lure along with fluid motion in the water. Skirting comes in many color types that resemble many different species of fish as well as other forage types. Matching the lure to the day’s hot conditions with the spinnerbait can make those old summer doldrums seem like a second honeymoon. The shiny blade adds even more action and even the illusion of multiple fish. They even come in different styles and sizes. Put all of these elements together in one lure and it almost doesn’t seem fair. A hungry fish doesn’t stand a chance when something like this swims by. Customization and assembly kits are also available in the spinnerbait section. Below is a great reference for purchasing and reviewing spinnerbait material.

Below are three basic spinnerbaits that accommodate only some of the forage selection on the largemouth bass menu. These are straight out of the tackle box and some have seen more use and love than others.

(Above: This is one of my baby bass presentations with the single blade. Dark and light greens with yellow and even white are great options when the bass are feeding on smaller bass. Green sunfish also falls into this category. The spinnerbait at the top photo is my favorite bass presentation.)

(Above: Here is decent sunfish pattern for mild stained water that shows what I consider a slight flaw in production that happens more so with knock off products. The skirting is upside down with the dark colors on the bottom and should be reversed. Adjust the skirt and she is ready to go dancing. This is a replacement and will see water soon.)

(Above: Booyah Counter Strike in shad pattern. The box may say shad but I consider this more of a crappie pattern. Better for clear water as opposed to stained. One of my better producers out of the harem.)

(Above: Spinnerbait bucket from the MKG Trade a Trip post. I was wallowing in dismal action that day while Don and MKG were lighting things up. Switching to the Counter Strike saved me from a long drive home with my tail between my legs.)

The best rod type for the spinnerbait is a medium strength rod with fast action on the tip for sensitivity preferably in the 6ft-6inch or 7ft length. The fast action helps present the spinnerbait through the water with the best performance. Too soft of a tip hampers the hookset and some fast action rods fall into that category. Brand names are not as important and I generally hand select my fast action rods to ensure the action is just right.

Not having the specific type of rod shouldn’t keep you away from the sexy skirt and shiny blade spinnerbait action. I use spinnerbaits on the same heavy action rods that I throw jigs and plastics with at times. You lose a little bit in the performance and you don’t quite feel the blade action but it still works.

Line choice is less important but still a factor in regards to the best spinnerbait performance. Experts say monofilament should be your first choice with braided lines for heavier cover. The best advice I can offer in regards to line choice is selecting a quality brand that covers the majority of all the fishing you do. Sure I may re-spool to accommodate some area conditions but for the most part use the same thing for 80% of my fishing. Experimentation is key and most anglers generally fall in love with one type of line or the other.

(Above: Beauty bucket and another spinnerbait bass from the MKG Run. Just trying to add some visual support as I struggle to put together another lure type write-up.)

Spinnerbaits typically come in 3/8 and 1/2oz with a hook size to match generally in the 3/0 range. I like to start most summer days with the 3/8oz to dial in the preferred color pattern and then switch up to the bigger sizes when I feel there is a consistent bite. This could be as little as 3 small fish within an hour but definitely more than just one fish. The bigger lure size tends to avoid smaller fish while attracting the larger bass that would swallow a Volkswagen if they could get their mouths around it. However I don’t completely discount the smaller size in July. Smaller baitfish are prevalent right now and a lot of predator fish will be exclusively targeting them. Fishing long periods of time with the larger bait may produce the big fish and it may not. In a perfect world, there would be two rods with the perfect color and blade pattern in both 3/8 and 1/2oz at my side constantly. Suffice to say the only time I go exclusively big pattern is when I only want the +18inch section of the bass population or being plagued by smaller fish. With so many other bass in the system a larger lure can avoid the annoyance of wasting too much time in “Dink City”.

Retrieve speed can mean everything. Most people like to “rip” spinnerbaits through the water but there are a lot more effective ways to throw a spinnerbait. Most spinnerbaits have more buoyancy than we realize and can tolerate slower retrieves. In fact I find better results by running the lure as slow as possible around and through structure points an weed edges. I started writing up more on this but then found a better web reference already typed up. The reason I don’t go all yackity smackity on the gear breakdowns is for two reasons: Nobody pays me for this stuff and someone has generally covered things far better than I can.

Another good web reference for spinnerbaits is listed below at one of my favorite websites for the basic breakdown on anything bass related. A few of reader submitted tips at the bottom of the page could be weighed with a grain of salt.

There is a lot more that could be covered in regards to my summertime fascination with spinnerbaits. Plastic trailers, trailer hooks as well as more of my favorite patterns. Unfoertunately I have rambled on about 7 pages and looking to head out the door to grab a quick cast before going into work. Hope this information helps a few anglers get more familiar with the fabulously sexy spinnerbait as well as explain my infidelity towards beloved plastic lures as we roll through summer and into fall.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


John said...

Some great info there Matt. They used to be my summer go to bait but now I opt for the simplicity of in line spinners. All the same... don't leave home without them!

Lureapike said...

nice article. I have the same love affair with spinnerbaits. Now that im in the Uk i make my own 2 and 2.5onz giant spinnerbaits for pike. When i lived in South Africa and fished for bass spinnerbaits was my "go to" lure...loved them then...still love them now. Pike love them and they catch me some great fish here in the UK.
Nice going

Coloradocasters said...

@John: Kind words indeed and great point! In-line spinners like the Mepps are a must have for this guy I fish with sometimes. Once upon a time that was all he threw. Real fur also has a texture that is more lip grabbing than a plastic skirt. But you have to admit the shiny blade and colorful skirt of the spinnerbait is downright sexy!

@Lurepike: Thanks, Roy. I have mix-matched the material in kits but never made them full blown from scratch. I keep telling myself that one day I will design the sexiest spinnerbait ever! But I typically find everything I need right off the shelf. Checked out your blog and now following. Those pike are #$%^ amazing.

Jon Freeman said...

Wow..Now this is a great article on spinner bait fishing Matt.Very enjoyable and most informative.
Great write up. I have joined up and look forward to many more post like this one. If you ever make it out to Georgia look me up and I will put you on some of our sacred Shoal bass.The scapiest river bass on the planet next to the small mouth.

Jon Freeman said...

Wow..Now this is a excellent post on the spinner bait..Very entertaining and informative. I joined up and hope to see many more post like this one..If you ever make it down to Georgia look me up and I will put you on some of our sacred shoal bass.The scapiest river bass next to the small mouth.

Coloradocasters said...

@Jon Freeman: Thank, Jon!!! I liked your comment so much I posted it twice. Stumbled across your blog and really dig those shoal bass. Great stuff.

Jon Freeman said...

Thanks Matt. Spinner baits are deadly for shoal bass here in GA especially in the early spring when the water tends to be high and stained.Its always one of my go to baits at that time. We use one around here called the Mini Me that is made by SOS baits. They work very well on the shoal bass.
I added your link to my blog so my freinds can check it out. You write some great stuff. Very enjoyable reading.

Anonymous said...

That "upside down" skirt on that (BPS Lazer Eye?) might fall into the category of "reverse countershading," as promoted by crankbait guru Tom Sewerd. His idea is that the fish looking down or the fish looking up both get maximum target acquisition due to the flip-flopped color scheme... or so goes the theory. I have painted some reverse cranks and in certain situations they have proven very effective for me, but who knows if the paint was the reason?