Spring Spinnerbaits

By Rob Brewer

Spinnerbaits are great! They require no special skill, cover lots of water, are relatively weedless, and catch lots of bass, big bass.

In the lull between the close of deer season and the area lakes warming up, you'll find me pouring Spinnerbaits. The following is how I approach spinnerbaiting in the tidewater area from "ice-out" on into April.

I like to use a 5-1/2' casting rod spooled up with 14-17 lb mono. I've used many brands of spinnerbaits. I like my own the best, but Terminators, Strike King and Stanley will work just as well. I prefer to use a 1/2 oz to 3/8 oz lure with single #5 or 5.5 gold willow leaf blade. I find dark colors (black, blue, purple, root beer) work best in the spring. I always use a twin tail trailer too. I find the undulating action of the tails really bring the bait to life. I don't use trailer hooks but I do make certain that my hooks are razor sharp.

Identifying Key Fishing Areas

Ideal conditions are just after a warm spring rain. The runoff has washed in bait, raised the water level and made the water murky. These are all positive factors to make fish move shallow. Key areas of the lake to hit are points, flats and underwater humps. The key to identifying good areas are shallow (1-3') water with deep (8-12') adjacent to it. If it has cover on it, so much the better. Just be sure to keep the boat "out of the fish". By that I mean remain out in the deep water, casting up onto the flat. If you can cast your bait up onto the edge of the shore and slowly pull it into the water.

Sometimes bass will be sunning themselves in water less than a foot. It's quite exciting when a bass turns into a torpedo and almost beaches itself trying to inhale your bait. Be certain to work the deep water adjacent to the flat as well. Stealth is paramount. Any noise you make in the boat or sloppy casting will send "ol' mossback" scurrying into the depths quickly.

The retrieve should be very slow (AKA "slow rolling"). You should never see your lure during the retrieve. You should be able to feel the blade turning though. Learn to concentrate on that and be a line watcher. Often, you can feel a slight variation in the bait's vibration just milliseconds prior to a bite. Whenever there's a funny feeling, your line moves, or the blade stops, set the hook! I use a sweeping motion so as not to introduce any slack to the fish.

These methods have brought me several 4-6 pounders. You'll catch the "dinks" too, along with pickerel and bowfins. Give it a shot. Believe it or not, there was a time (1990) when I had absolutely no confidence in these lures. Now, I always have one tied on. Remember that fishing is life!