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How to Fish a Spinnerbait: A Complete Guide for New Anglers

Written by: Pete D
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Spinnerbaits are a popular choice for bass. Combining vibration, color, and flash, they offer a combo that’s very hard to beat.

For new anglers, spinnerbaits may be something of a mystery, and it’s certainly true that you don't fish them quite like you’d expect.

If you’re just beginning your fishing adventure, learning the basics of fishing a spinnerbait is critical, and we’ve got you covered.

Related:

What is a Spinnerbait?

BOOYAH Pond Magic Spinnerbait

A spinnerbait is essentially a skirted jig with a long, bent wire holding one or more blades.

When retrieved or falling, those blades spin, creating a thumping vibration and flash that mimics a fish’s scales. Add the color and movement of the skirt to the mix, and you’ve got one deadly lure.

Spinnerbaits come in a variety of sizes and colors, but the biggest distinguishing feature is their blade number and shape.

The fewer the blades, the less flash. But fewer (and smaller) blades also create less lift in the water, allowing the spinnerbait to run deeper. Of course, heavier spinnerbaits will also run deeper than lighter alternatives.

Three blade shapes are common: the willow, the Indiana, and the Colorado.

  1. Willow blades are long and narrow, creating less thump as they spin. They also create less drag, allowing for a faster retrieve.
    Willow Blades
  2. Indiana blades are rounded and long. They create plenty of flash and moderate drag.
    Indiana Blades
  3. Colorado blades are short and round, thumping like mad and slowing the spinner bait with lots of drag.
    Colorado Blades

Now, the interaction of different blade shapes on a spinnerbait is nothing short of high science, and pros will mix and match to create the desired vibration, running depth, and retrieve speed.

That’s a bit beyond where beginners need to focus, but keep in mind that bigger, shorter blades mean more vibration, deeper running, and slower speeds.

How to Rig a Spinnerbait

Tying a spinnerbait is easy; just follow these instructions (with nylon monofilament):

With any other line, I recommend a Uni knot. We’ve written a complete guide to that one, too, so check it out:

One Knot to Rule Them All - How to Tie the Uni Knot

How to Fish a Spinnerbait

The magic of the spinnerbait comes from proper technique, and the way to work one isn’t intuitively obvious. Make you sure have a suitable rod for this technique: Best Spinnerbait Rods

The first thing to understand is that the size and blade shape of your spinnerbait are going to affect how deep it runs, as will your retrieval speed:

  • Heavier spinnerbaits will run deeper
  • Bigger, fatter blades will run deeper
  • Slower retrieves will run deeper

The second point to note is that in clear water, especially when the water is warm but not hot enough to stress bass, a fast retrieve is better. Conversely, when the water is murky, stained, or muddy, or on cool days, slow is almost always the way to go.

Vary your retrieval speed until you hit the sweet spot.

But the third and most important thing about fishing spinnerbaits is to run them into cover: sticks, branches, rocks, pilings, stumps, grass - everything you can find!

Those impacts will cause an erratic redirection of your lure that drives bass wild.

If you’re fishing in open water where that’s just not possible, give your spinnerbait a jerk or two as you retrieve it, varying the cadence, and that will accomplish something similar. Those pulses will notify bass that something’s in distress, and they’ll come running for a closer look.

Spinnerbaits to Look For

For my money, Booyah makes some of the best spinnerbaits on the market, offering a wide array of blade styles, skirt colors, and sizes.

When shad and bluegill are the prime prey items for bass, I reach for color choices like “Gold Shiner” because the skirt color and gold blades really look like baitfish to bass. Those double willow blades are perfect for warm weather and clear water, and this spinnerbait will nail keepers all day!

BOOYAH Blade Spinner-Bait Bass Fishing Lure, Gold Shiner, Double Willow (1/2 oz)

Amazon 

In early spring, when the water’s getting up toward spawning temperature and the big females are feeding actively on crawfish, I’ll throw Booyah’s Pond Magic in “Fire Bug.” The blade combo slows it down a bit, keeping it in the strike zone longer, and the color matches crawfish to a tee.

BOOYAH Pond Magic Small-Water Spinner-Bait Bass Fishing Lure, Fire Bug, Pond Magic

Amazon 

In murky water where I want to slow things down a lot and increase visibility, one of my favorite choices is Booyah’s Pond Magic in “Alpine.” That fat Colorado blade thumps like mad and slows my spinnerbait down a lot, and of course, the color is very easy for sight-oriented bass to spot against a dark background.

Booyah BYMPM18-685 Micro Pond Magic Spinnerbait, 1/8-Ounce, Alpine, Model:BYMPM18685

Amazon 

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has been useful for you, and if you’ve been hesitant about picking up a few spinnerbaits - don’t be!

For largemouth bass, the spinnerbait is a very, very good choice, allowing you to vary color, vibration, and speed with ease.

As always, we’re here to answer any questions you might have, so please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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