The essential Guide to spinnerbaits for bass fishing

spinnerbait bass fishing

Spinnerbaits are a very effective bass fishing lure used by many anglers, both pros and weekend warriors. At first glance some may wonder how they are so effective being that they really don't look like anything you may see bass feeding on in your local lake. But all the components of this lure come together to make an irresistible opportunity for either hungry or territorial bass.

Jump To:

What are they and what do they look like?
All about the Blades.
How to use them.
Where can I get them?

Dual Blade Spinnerbait

What Is A Spinnerbait? - The Components:

The basic design of a spinnerbait consist of a thin wire bent between 90 and 45 degrees with a weighted head and hook somewhat resembling a jig head at one end and a blade or blades at the other end. A skirt is attached at the base of the head covering the hook which sits upright. This design makes them fairly weedless enabling you to chunk it into some thick cover with little chance of being snagged if fished properly.

The blades are what makes this lure a spinnerbait. Outfitted with one or two (tandem) blades that spin through the water as you reel in the lure. These come in a few basic shapes and even more colors allowing you to customize for the conditions at hand. More on the blades a little bit. First let's talk about the best way to fish these productive bass lures.


Spinnerbait Presentation and Techniques

Indiana Blade Spinnerbait

There are a few different ways you can fish a spinnerbait. They can be used shallow or deep, cold or warm water, fast or slow. It really all depends on the conditions and the area you are targeting.

More on that in a bit.

One simple but productive technique is simply varying the retrieval speed to adjust the running depth of your lure. But this isn't the only way to work different areas of the water column. There are 3 basic blade types used on spinnerbaits and each one gives the lure a unique characteristic and action all its own. This includes covering different depths using the same retrieval speed for those conditions in which you need to adjust due to the response of your target bass.

Spinnerbait Blades

colorado Blades

Colorado blades are round and offer maximum vibration and lift when being retrieved. They also give off less flash than Willow or Indiana blades. Using Colorado Blades will lift your bait higher in the water column than the others. This is great if you need a slow retrieval for lethargic bass in the cold fishing months.

willow blades

The Willow spinnerbait blade is the slimmer blade that is tapered at both ends, kind of the shape of a football. The Willow Blade offers less vibration but more flash. They also don't lift like Colorado blades do when you reel them in. This makes it ideal in situations where you need a fast retrieval so that you don't wind up breaking the surface of the water or just plain pulling it out when you reel in that spinnerbait. A note on tandem or dual blades, they actually cancel each other out making less vibration rather than more as some may think.

indiana blade

In the middle would be the Indiana blade which offers some flash but more vibration than the willow. These are more oval in shape than the Colorado with one round end and the other end tapered. 

These blades tend to fall right in the middle in vibration, flash and lift. They can offer that subtle change that may be needed when the bass aren't responding to one of the other blade types.


How Do I Use A Spinnerbait?

Spinnerbaits are most productive and work best when you bounce them off of hard cover. Don't be afraid to ram that stump, dock, rock or any other structure you may come across. Once you hit something let it drop for just a second, give it a quick and easy jerk, then reel it again if nothing has nailed it, looking for an area to repeat the ram, drop, jerk process.

Colorado blade spinnerbait

Warm waters generally mean active bass so a larger spinnerbait on a fast retrieve tends to work well. For this you'll want a willow blade so you don't break the surface of the water during your fast retrieve.

During colder months a slower bait will work great offering a bass that is conserving energy an easy meal. Since you'll be retrieving slow, you want the Colorado blades to give you that extra lift and keep your bait from falling so easy.

Skirts are another vital component on spinnerbaits. Most including me, keep it pretty basic. White has always been good to me. The only other colors I would suggest keeping around would be Chartreuse and possibly black.

So how do you "dress" your spinnerbait with blades and skirts for your particular fishing situation. Here are some basic guidelines.

  • Clear Water - You presentation will be more visible and in this case you'll be good to go with a white skirt or other natural looking color. This along with the flash of a willow blade to catch a bass' eye should be productive.
  • Stained Water - Due to lower visibility, here is where you'll want to add a little vibration using an Indiana blade and maybe add a little Chartreuse or red to that skirt.
  • Muddy Water - Here you'll want max vibration with a Colorado blade (remember that dual blades cancel each other out so for max vibration, you'll want a single blade) and some bright colors to help your lure stand out in this type of water.

You'll need to take a look at all the factors in you fishing situation to determine the best set up but using these guidelines should help you get started and help you catch more bass using spinnerbaits.


Check out what other bass fishing lures are available to add to your arsenal.

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