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Three Tricks With Spinnerbaits for Bass

You can do a lot more with this lure than just cast and reel it.

Author Chris Christian holds up a bass caught on the Sebile Pro-Shad Finesse spinnerbait, with fish-shaped blades.

The plastic worm is the most versatile bass lure made. Right behind it is the safety-pin spinnerbait. But, many anglers don’t realize the spinnerbait’s versatility. They just tie it on, cast it out and reel it in.

There are a lot of ways to use spinnerbaits for bass, and a number of different retrieves that can make these lures more effective. Here are three retrieve methods that can increase your catch.

1 – Buzz & Drop: A simple retrieve for shallow water. Look for bass-holding targets along the retrieve line, such as pockets in vegetation (eelgrass, hydrilla, coontail, bonnets) or the outer edge of a grass line, or even stumps, lay down logs or dock posts.

Line up as many targets as you can, and retrieve the spinnerbait quickly and near the surface. That creates vibration, and sound waves travel faster in water than they do in the air. If a bass is holding on a target spot, it will know something is coming. When the lure reaches the target, stop the retrieve and let it flutter down on a slack line, before resuming the retrieve.

The bass knows something noisy is heading its way. It’s alert. When that flashing spinnerbait drops in front of its face, it reacts and a strike occurs. This will work with any spinnerbait.

2 – Skipping: Deadly when schools of young shad move into vegetation. Bass follow those little baits, but in heavy vegetation they have trouble zeroing in on an individual target. They are primed to strike quickly, and a key strike trigger is a shad skipping on the surface to avoid a bass that just attacked it.

This “shad in grass” situation is common during the April through June period on many Florida lakes. It most often occurs on vegetation points (eelgrass, hydrilla just below the surface, sometimes bulrush or scattered maidencane). It can occur on any lake that has shad.

The bass are geared to strike any shad “flipping” on the surface. A spinnerbait can mimic that well with the skipping technique.

Choose a ¼- or 3⁄8-ounce model with twin willow leaf blades (silver blades) and a white skirt. If your bait has a Colorado front/willow leaf rear, it’ll work as well. Single-spin lures are not a good choice. Add a white plastic trailer on the hook under the skirt. This provides a bit of buoyant lift to the bait and adds more of a shad profile.

Colorado blades paired with willow leaf combo.

Cast the bait and crank it near the surface to make a wake. Retrieve it quickly, and every couple of feet, twitch the rod upward to make the blades break the surface. That’s a perfect mimic of a shad skipping on the surface and when bass and shad meet in heavy cover, the bass love it.

3 – Slow Rolling: This retrieve is nothing more than putting an obnoxious lure in front of the fish, and at their level, by simply allowing the bait to sink to the bottom and then slowly retrieving it while maintaining contact with the bottom, or cover object.

It can be deadly when bass are holding tight to hard cover (logs, manmade structure) or on channel drops, ledges or on the bottom in short grass.

The ideal spinnerbait is a ½-ounce with No. 4 or 5 Colorado blades. They create a lot of “thump,” even at low retrieve speeds, and the bass know it’s there. There is no real need for a trailer on the bait. Dark skirts (black/brown) are good, although an orange/chartreuse skirt works well.

The key is to get the bait in contact with the cover, retrieve it slowly, and let the big blades attract bass with the lure right in their face.  FS

First Published Florida Sportsman March 2012

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