Spinnerbaits are special.
Not only do they offer nearly endless options for customization, but with the right know-how, they can also be the ultimate tool in a bass angler’s tacklebox.
But to new anglers and old-hands alike, they can be a high mystery, and from blade shapes to color combos, there’s a lot to learn before you know the right options for your situation.
Fortunately, we’re here to help, and below, you’ll find an in-depth guide as well as reviews of some of our favorite spinnerbaits:
Quick glance at the best spinnerbaits for bass:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Sizes: ⅜ and ½ oz.
As plenty of tournament anglers can attest, the Strike King Finesse KVD just might be the most effective spinnerbait you can find for clear water.
Typically equipped with two willow blades, several models come with a willow/Colorado combo instead, upping the ante on vibration to call bass in from a bit farther away. Available in silver/gold combinations, as well as a few silver/silver options, I like to keep a gold willow or two of the right size on hand when the bass are feeding aggressively on perch or bluegill.
The skirt on the Finesse KVD is well-executed. Available in a range of natural colors--as you’d expect for a clear-water spinner--you’ll usually find some combination of white, tiny specks, and a shade of green/brown to mimic baitfish.
You’ll also see a long trailing bit of skirt to increase action.
There’s a lot to like about this lure, and with a few extra blades on hand to size up or down or shift the color pattern, I don’t think I could pick a better clear water option.
Sizes: 3/16, ⅜, and ½ oz.
Strike King’s Bleeding Spinnerbait is a great choice in murky or stained water, as it pumps up the vibration and color to attract attention.
Mixing a small Colorado with a large willow, this spinner will thump and shine as you retrieve it. And while not as noisy as a Colorado/Colorado pairing, by placing the Colorado ahead of the willow, it maximizes the cavitation of the front blade, yielding plenty of vibration.
Available in either silver/silver or silver/gold, you’ll find deep red details on the skirt and frame.
The primary skirt colors are either white or chartreuse, and both work well in turbid, stained, or murky water.
When the water minimizes visibility, I’ll sometimes replace the willow with a second Colorado, but 99% of the time, the standard blade combo gets it done.
Size: 3/16 and ⅜ oz.
Booyah’s Shad Blade takes a spinner to the next level, offering four blades to entice bass into a strike.
Available with silver or gold blades--or a mixture of the two--and skirts to match the hatch, it’s an awesome choice whether shad, bluegill, crappie, or minnows are on the menu.
Four willows in ascending sizes are going to create a lot of flash, and in clear water, this spinnerbait can really get the bass interested. Nothing beats the flash on this fellow, and if the bass are primarily feeding by sight, this is a great lure to reach for.
With all that lift, it tends to ride pretty high in the water, so be careful to slow your retrieve.
If I have a criticism of this spinnerbait, it’s that it doesn’t know what it wants to be: a clear-water, natural spinner or a turbid water, bright-colored skirt design. Several of the options feature very bright skirt colors with willow blades, a combo that I’m not in love with, though your mileage may vary.
My favorite color combos reflect the advantages of willow blades, veering toward the natural hues: Purple Glimmer Shad and Chartreuse Glimmer (which is mostly white).
Given the relative lack of clear water color choices to match the willow blades, I like to dress my Booyah Shads with new skirts.
Size: ⅜, ½, and ¾ oz.
Booyah’s Moontalker is an excellent choice for anglers who chase bass at night, and unlike the Booyah Shad Blade, it knows exactly what it wants to be.
The Moontalker comes equipped with a large, black Colorado blade that thumps like an unbalanced washing machine. Expect to call hungry bass from far and wide with this blade working.
The skirt design is excellent, using lots of black, and mixing this with blue, red, and chartreuse on the models that offer a contrasting color. I like that a lot, and I find that this skirt design is pretty much ideal for night fishing.
Size: 3/16, ¼, 5/16, ⅜, ½, and ¾ oz.
War Eagle’s Nickel Frame offers more combinations than most, providing unrivaled versatility from the factory.
Do you like a Colorado/Illinois pairing? A willow/willow? How about Colorado/Illinois? Prefer your blades with a hammered texture?
War Eagle’s got you covered!
Indeed, pretty much any blade configuration and color you’d want is available, matched by a skirt that’s very similar to the Finesse KVD in that it sports a long central section to increase action.
Color options almost always include plenty of white--a good pick--matched with everything from realistic greens, browns, and blues to low-vis options like chartreuse.
If you’re looking for it, they probably have it.
For anglers who don’t want to mess with replacement skirts or blades, a wide range of War Eagles is probably the best bet.
Size: ⅜, ½, and ¾ oz.
While silver and gold blades are the “old reliable” for most anglers, colored and textured blades that match the hatch can be magic. And as savvy fishermen know, the Nichols Lures Pulsator is deadly when you know what the bass are eating.
As you’d expect, a lure that offers precise colored blades is designed for clear water, and you’ll find two willows on each of these spinnerbaits.
A rainbow of hues are available, and most are textured and speckled to better mimic real prey. I particularly like Tennessee Shad, Suwannee River Special Green, and Baby Bass, but there are a number of great options in this lineup.
Skirt colors match or complement blade colors really well, and if you’re looking to imitate craw-dads or perch, bluegill or shad, you really couldn’t do any better.
That said, there are a few very bright color options that I’d skip given the willow blades.
Three blade shapes are common for spinner baits: the Colorado, the willow, and the Indiana. Each has a place in your tacklebox, and it’s important to understand the differences.
The classic choice for many bass anglers is the silver-gold combo, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But matching the hatch is critical to success, and if the bass are feeding on silver-bodied shad, why throw a gold blade? Conversely, if perch are the primary prey, what are you doing by ripping something silver past their noses?
Yes, you may summon an instinctive strike, but by matching blade color to the current prey items, you’ll get a lot more hits.
And if your local bass have a favorite prey item, it’s worth considering a few painted blades to match. You’ll be surprised by just how effective this can be!
And finally, don’t be afraid to apply a bit of color yourself.
On a double-bladed bait, I sometimes paint the first blade red or bright orange, and this extra color can be magic when the bass are hunting by sight.
All other things being equal, the larger the blade, the more lift it will provide, causing your spinner bait to ride higher in the water.
That can be a good thing, but your depth needs to be precise. Too high or low, and many bass will give your spinner bait a pass.
I like to keep a number of different blade sizes on hand--or simply tune a spinner bait to my liking--swapping the size of the blades to get it to run as deep as I want it to with my chosen retrieve.
For instance, if the bass are biting on fast retrieves, I may downsize my blades to keep my lure lower in the water as I burn it past them.
I like to match the hatch in clear water, going for subdued, natural colors on my skirt.
But in murky or muddy water, I’ll select bright colors like chartreuse and white.
I recommend keeping a variety of skirts on hand so you can dress your favorite spinners to suit the conditions you find yourself fishing.
We hope that this article has de-mystified spinnerbaits, helping you pick the right blade and color combos for the conditions you fish the most.
If we’ve helped, let us know--we’d love to hear from you!
Please leave a comment below.