Spinnerbaits 101: Session #1
By: Dennis Bryant "Fishing-Professor"
WHAT they are:
WHEN, WHERE, and HOW to use SPINNERBAITS.During
the next several installments, I'll try to give you a basic knowledge
on the uses of spinnerbaits. The WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW. I
hope you enjoy the text, and that just possibly you'll pick up
one or two things about spinnerbaits that you didn't know or hadn't
thought of before.
Many years ago, ( Back in "The good
old days" ! Remember them? When 12 to 16-foot tri-hull boats with
35 HP Johnson were real Bass-Boats! When "Fishing-Derbys" we now
refer to them as BASS-TOURNAMENTS weren't considered fair; unless
they were started by someone firing off a round from a shotgun
when it was time to go. And, Professional Bass Tournaments were
held for a "grand-Prize of $1,000". and most were won by people
who had never been heard of before; like some guy named Roland
Martin from down in Florida! WAY back in those "almost-prehistoric"
fishing days! Before the invention of: the 'Bionic-Minnow', Tubes,
'Jerk-Baits', the 'Frenzy' crank-baits, and yes, even before 'Spider
Wire' was invented! ) ten of the top-ranked touring-professionals
on the then, brand-new professional bass-fishing circuits, were
asked this question in a national magazine article:
If you were to be limited to using
one single lure on a body of water that you had never fished before,
what would it be and why?
Eight of the ten replied: A Spinnerbait.
One said a "jig & pig". And the last said a rubber worm.
Water coverage & success rates were given as the reason why, back
then Just last year, I asked the same question to 1,485 tournament
Bass-anglers (both professional & amateurs). 1,214 (over 80% of
those questioned) replied: Spinnerbaits. 2nd-place went to the
old 'jig & pig' again. And, a very-distant 3rd-place went to various
combined brands of lipless crank-baits, and jerk-baits. Exactly
the same reason as given above; was the dominant reason why they
would be used.
WHAT THEY ARE Spinnerbaits
originally began as a bent safety-pin spinner, with a rear-weighted
hook made more attractive by the addition of a skirting material
of some sort or the other (originally feathers or squirrel-hair).
The first spinnerbaits could be obtained
in your choice of size & color. As long as your choice was close
to 1/4 ounce, and the color you wanted was either; Black, Brown,
Chartreuse, or White.
Over the years Spinnerbaits have
evolved, and been improved on in every conceivable way. Changes
have been made in: action, balance, vibration, wire types & sizes
available, color-options, weight-options, blade-options, hook-options,
and skirting-color & material-options. It has been recently estimated;
that there are currently over 4.5 million possible Spinnerbait
combinations available for sale to the general public. Spinnerbaits
are definitely NOT a fad!
Basically, Spinnerbaits are purchased
by their weight, with color & blade-type being the determining
factor. They are generally available in weights ranging from a
small of approximately 1/16 ounce, with 1/32-ounce increments,
up to approximately 2 ounces in weight. Blade sizes run from a
small of size 00 to a large of a size 12. Spinnerbaits are available
in any number & style of blades imaginable (generally from 1 to
3). Blade colors, types, and styles (nearly 1,500 colors, styles
& types are currently in common use in the United States), as
well as Body colors (more than 300 options are now commonly available
in the U.S.) & Body styles (hundreds), are limited only to your
own imagination. Skirting materials differ nearly as much as the
color options for each style & type of material used.
They accomplish their intended fish-catching
task, in basically every part of the world today. While some 'gimmick-baits'
are designed more "to catch more fishermen, than fish"; most spinnerbaits
are still being made for the day-to-day task of putting fish in
the boat, PERIOD!
How any self-respecting fish would
mistake a spinnerbait as food, is beyond me! Impulse? Yes! Reflex
strikes? Yes! Territorial instinct? Yes! But, food? I don't think
so! It is totally without a doubt that Spinnerbaits DO catch a
lot of fish! The flash, vibration, colors, and action of a spinnerbait
(properly used) seems irresistible to a lot of different species
No tournament Bass-angler 'worth
his salt', or even an avid weekend angler, would ever consider
his lure arsenal complete; without at least a small selection
of spinnerbaits on hand. The style, color, and size of the lures
in your arsenal, are of course a strictly personal thing. Your
spinnerbait preferences will probably change over time, depending
more on your style of fishing, and the waters that you fish, more
than any other factor.
WHEN & WHERE TO USE THEM Spinnerbaits
can be fished throughout the water-column; from just below the
surface, to the structure at the very bottom of a lake or impoundment.
They can be equally effective in the springtime, summer, fall,
and even in the winter (if you're lucky enough to live where the
water doesn't get hard in the winter). They can be successfully
fished from the crack of dawn, through the longest night! Crystal-clear
water, or the muddiest floodwater you can imagine. They can be
'ripped' through the water at the surface, or so slowly, that
the blades barely turn. They are an excellent choice for eliminating
unproductive water, and also for locating productive sites with
aggressive fish present. They can be fished in the 'scummiest
backwaters', the thickest brush, rock piles, beaches, break-walls,
piers, docks, weed-beds, and even in open water. There's really
no place that a Spinnerbait cannot be fished effectively.
Best Bets: "Pick your own
Spinnerbaits are a "Bank-Beater's"
key lure. They can be effectively fished in that 0' to 5' deep
area that produces so many of the 'limit-filler' fish. Fished
at a medium retrieve rate through this type of an area, gives
an angler the opportunity to 'hit' every nook & cranny in the
shoreline. Fished parallel to the shore, they produce amazing
numbers of fish. Fished alongside and below docks, and the boats
tied up to the docks, they shine. Fishing the near-shore weed-beds,
and grassy areas; they are about the best bet for covering an
area thoroughly, and in the least amount of time. A fantastic
way to pick out the most aggressive fish in the neighborhood!
Spinnerbaits are a "Junk-Fisherman's"
key lure. The back end of that cove where all the flotsam builds
up on top of 3' of empty, weedless, water in the springtime is
a good spot for a spinnerbait. Through the top of, and alongside
that willow tree that just fell over at the side of a channel
is another great spot for a spinnerbait to work its' magic. What
about that weed-bed that has only one or two openings in it? Another
good spot! And, how about that weed-choked channel that you passed
on your way out of the last cut? That's right! Another good spot!
The list goes on & on!
Spinnerbaits are a "Structure-Fisherman's"
key lure. What better way to cover a stump-field, a rock-pile,
or old rotted-out dock pilings? How about fishing that old creek
channel, or submerged roadbed in that reservoir? 'Slow-Rolling'
a spinnerbait there, is a great idea! That 3' deep heavily weeded
area that runs between those docks over there is another good
bet. Don't forget about that break-wall at the mouth of the marina!
Did I miss any? Probably only about a hundred or so! But, you
get the idea.
Spinnerbaits are also an "Open-Water
Fisherman's" key lure. After working the shoreline for
a stretch; did you ever get the urge to turn around in your boat
and throw that spinnerbait as far as you could; just to straighten
out the line a bit? Think about it! When was the last time that
you eased your boat over that area and graphed it? Probably never
did! You might be pleasantly surprised when a 5 or 6 pounder tries
to take that rod out of your hands as you're straightening your
line! Maybe there's a dip, or hump, or isolated small weed patch
out there that you've never noticed. Maybe it's where the big
guys take their noon siesta waiting for the PWCs to quit buzzing
them. It's worked for me more that one time! Maybe it's worth
a shot or two for you too!
Look for Spinnerbaits 101: Session
#2 of 3 - HOW TO FISH SPINNERBAITS - Coming Next.