There are dozens of companies that manufacture spinnerbaits
and virtually all of them catch fish. Most anglers will find their needs met by
(from left) 3/8, 1/4 (with plastic trailer), and 1/8 ounce sizes.
The spinnerbait is almost the
perfect lure for river bass in Georgia. First of all, bass absolutely love them,
despite the fact that spinnerbaits do not closely resemble anything in the food
chain. Spinnerbaits are also pretty tough to hang up, thanks to the safety-pin
design that protects the hook from would-be hassles. Finally, the spinnerbait is
probably the most versatile lure around. Anglers can cover any part of the water
column with a spinnerbait: buzzing the surface, slow-rolling near the bottom,
and anywhere in between.
Spinnerbaits can be found in an
unlimited array of styles, colors, sizes, and prices, and an angler could spend
the better part of a day deciding on the "perfect" one. The first
order of business when spinnerbait shopping is picking the proper size. If you
are fishing in rivers that primarily hold spots, redeyes, or shoal bass choose
no larger than a 1/4 ounce bait, and I normally use 1/8 or 1/4 ounce models.
Largemouth fishermen should choose spinnerbaits in 1/4, 3/8, or even 1/2 ounce
Spinnerbaits come in either
single or tandem blade models, and generally speaking, single blades work a
little better fished deep while tandem blades are better in shallow cover.
Blades can be found in the round, Colorado-type blades or in the thinner
willow-leaf style. Willow-leaf blades give off a little more flash, a little
less vibration, and sink a bit faster than Colorado blades. You can really feel
Colorado blades throbbing through the water, and the added water resistance
allows them to be fished a little slower than willow-leaf blades.
The bottom line is this: find
the right size spinnerbait for your quarry, pick a color that looks good to you
(more on color later), and go fishing. I know a GRF member who insists on
buying the premium $8 spinnerbaits and another who heads straight for the
"bargain bin" at his local tackle shop. Guess what? They both catch
lots of bass, though one of them is a little more poor than the other!
BEST SEASONS AND SITUATIONS
Due to the extreme versatility
of these lures, it is much easier to discuss when NOT to use a spinnerbait than
when to use one. As a rule, spinnerbaits are at their best in water temperatures
above 60 degrees. Bass tend to get less active in cooler water, and may not be
willing to hit even a slow-moving spinnerbait when inactive. Having said that, a
friend and I once used slow-rolled spinnerbaits to catch 14 largemouths from the
Apalachee River on a warm January day when the water temperature was below 50
degrees. Usually however, a jig or plastic worm is a better option for bass in
Ultra-clear water may not be
the best situation to use a spinnerbait in either. In many Georgia rivers, this
is not a problem, but the rivers and streams that come out of the mountains in
North Georgia often run crystal-clear, particularly in summer and fall.
Remember, the biggest advantage of a spinnerbait is that it can attract fish
that might not see or feel other baits. In gin-clear water, bass may see
spinnerbaits too clearly and get spooked.
Slow to moderate currents are
normally best for spinnerbait fishing, because it is often difficult to fish a
spinnerbait deeper than a foot or so in swift current. Shoal bass fishermen on
the Flint would probably differ with that opinion, however, as I have witnessed
many of these swift-water battlers succumb to big, bright spinnerbaits.
In a nutshell, spinnerbaits are
best when the water is not terribly cold, clear, or fast. For most Georgia river
anglers, this means that a spinnerbait is a good choice about 85-90% of the
time. With apologies to American Express, donít leave home without your
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Like most bass fishermen, I
would rather catch bass on topwaters than any other way. On most trips, I start
out using some type of surface lure, and if the bass are hitting, there is no
need to change. Unfortunately, these days are rare. More often than not, the
second lure in my bag of tricks is the spinnerbait. When the fish indicate that
they are not willing to hit the surface, use the spinnerbait to test the water
between the surface and the bottom.
The structure that most fish
relate to in Georgia rivers is wood, and there is no shortage of woody cover in
any of Georgiaís rivers and streams. Most often, the best way to fish a
spinnerbait is simply to cast tight to woody cover and bring the spinnerbait
back with a slow, steady retrieve. Buzzing a spinnerbait a few inches under the
surface works great for active fish, especially when you can buzz the lure over,
in, and around fishy cover. Slow-rolling is a great technique to use when the
fish are less active, like around noon in August. Slow-rolling works best in
water that is at least four or five feet deep and requires the angler to
retrieve the spinnerbait in a slow rise and fall pattern, often contacting the
bottom. Bass will almost always strike on the fall.
While all of these methods are
effective in and of themselves, the beauty of spinnerbait fishing is that the
angler can combine these techniques within a single cast. Try buzzing a
spinnerbait over a submerged log and then "killing" it, just as the
lure passes over, and slow-rolling back to the boat. The possibilities are
Many successful spinnerbait
fishermen use pork or plastic trailers to help entice finicky bass. These
additions add bulk to spinnerbaits, and may induce the fish to hang on to them a
bit longer. Slow-rollers especially love adding trailers because the added bulk
causes the lure to fall slower, keeping it in the strike zone longer. Trailers
can be made of pork or plastic and, like spinnerbaits, come in a wide assortment
of sizes and colors.
Another important feature on a
spinnerbait is the swivel. Fishermen who slow-roll spinnerbaits need a blade
that will spin well at slow retrieve speeds, therefore GRF recommends
ball-bearing type swivels to barrel swivels.
Spinnerbaits are great lures
for muddy or stained water. A good rule of thumb is to use big, bright
spinnerbaits in soupy water and get smaller and less gaudy as the water clears.
Most of my spinnerbaits are white/chartreuse, though I often use various shades
and combinations of brown, green, and gray in clearer water. One GRF
member swears by a 1/8 ounce black spinnerbait for redeyes in Georgiaís
mountain rivers and streams.
In Georgia rivers, it is tough
to go wrong with a spinnerbait. You can fish from top to bottom, often within
the same cast. The biggest largemouth GRF has witnessed being caught came
on a spinnerbait. If you ever cannot decide what to fish with, a spinnerbait is
never the worst choice!