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Spinnerbaits can be deadly for bass

By Staff
Why a self-respecting largemouth bass would strike and attempt to swallow something as ugly as a spinnerbait is beyond me. It looks like nothing a bass is use to feeding on in the underwater world. True, a long willow leaf blade on a spinnerbait does resemble the flash of a baitfish. But, how many bait fish are swimming just above what looks like a giant eye with an octopus tail attached to it?
The spinnerbait undoubtedly originated when some stressed out fisherman tied a big jig to one end of a piece of piano wire and a spoon to the other end. He then made a kink in the middle of the wire and attached his fishing line. All this happened around a hundred years ago, and this contraption has been catching big bass ever since.
Spinnerbaits are made in many variations that allow fishermen to probe the depths of large impoundment to surface fishing on farm ponds with them. They are offered in a variety of weights and sizes, but the 1/4 to 1/2 oz. seems to be the most popular. The smaller ones, such as the Beatle Spin are also excellent for panfish.
Manufacturers offer spinnerbaits with three types of blades- Colorado, Indiana and willow leaf, or a combination of the three. Colorado spinner blades are more rounded; willow leaf blades are much longer and slender than the Colorado blade. The Indiana blade is a hybrid of the Colorado blade and the willow leaf and falls somewhere in the middle as far as length.
I'm not sure that a big bass who is suffering hunger pangs stops to evaluate the length of blade and weight of a spinnerbait before he hits, but manufacturers say there are enough differences between the three types that fishermen should educate themselves on which one is best for different fishing conditions.
The Colorado and Indiana blade sinks at a faster rate than willow leaf blade, offering a slight advantage when you want to get a spinnerbait down fast. The Colorado blade puts out more vibrations, giving it the edge when fishing in turbid water where fish are striking by sound rather than sight. Willow leaf blades offer the most "flash" thus presenting a good imitation of a baitfish and are better in clearer water when the fish are striking by sight. However, they don't produce the vibrations of the Colorado or Indiana spinner blades.
Another variation of the spinnerbait, the buzzbait, is used for surface fishing. Buzzbaits work better in shallow water or when bass are feeding near the surface. One advantage of the spinnerbait over other baits is that the wire connecting the blade to the head and hook acts as a guard to greatly reduce hang-ups.
Water clarity dictates what colors are best. Orange, orange/white, red, white and chartreuse are good in murky water. Up and down erratic retrieves of this "ugly bait" can drive big bass crazy.