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Complete Guide to Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits have been one of the most successful bass lures of all time. Their success comes from their unique design. A spinnerbait looks similar to a jig with a wire leading to blades attached above.

These blades give the bait the flash and vibration that makes them so successful. One of the great things about spinnerbaits is you can easily swap the blades so you don’t need a lot of them. With a few variations of lures and blades, you are set for almost any condition.

Over the years I have tried many different spinnerbaits and have narrowed my selection down to just a few baits in each category. There is a time and place for both full size and finesse spinnerbait and below I break it all down.

Types of Spinnerbait Blades

There are three types of spinnerbait blades: willow leaf, colorado, and indiana. These three blades all spin and flutter to create flash and vibrations. The difference between the different types is the shape of the blade. For most of the country and in most situations willow leaf blades will be your best bet. However, each style does have its own unique function that we will break down further below.

1. Colorado Blades

Colorado blades are round and cause them to displace the most amount of water. All of the water displacement causes this blade to be the slowest and create a distinctive thumping vibration. The thumping vibration can be sensed by bass from greater distances making colorado blades a good choice when visibility is low. Another effect of the round blades is the lift that they create. As a result, these blades run shallower than their counterparts.

2. Indiana Blades

Indiana blades look like a combination of a willow leaf and colorado blade. They are long like a willow blade but wider and rounder like a colorado blade. This design displaces less water and allows the bait to run a little deeper than a colorado blade.

3. Willow Blades

Willow blades are long and skinnier than the other two blades. This design allows the willow blade to move through the water easier, creating less vibration but making more flash. This allows them to be fished deeper than the other two blades. This blade is very effective in clear water where bass rely on sight for their hunting.

Combination Blades for Custom Action

Combining different blade styles allows you to fine-tune your spinnerbaits performance. By experimenting with different combinations of blade styles you can find that perfect mix of flash and vibration for what works best for your body of water.

When to Fish a Spinnerbait

The early spring and fall are the prime timse to throw a spinnerbait. During these times giant bass are moving up shallow and are aggressively feeding and easy to trigger.

When the water is rising during the early spring you want to fish spinnerbaits as shallow as you can. Bass will cruise the water’s edge and hunt all the new ground that is flooding as it rises.

How to Fish a Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits are really user friendly and easy to fish. You can cast them out and start reeling them in on a straight consistent retrieve. This retrieve will catch fish but with a slight modification they can be even more effective.

For even more success, try adding very short pauses to your retrieve ever few seconds. The stop-go motion will cause the lure to have a jerking motion that resembles a bait fish trying to get away. Additionally, the stop and go motion will cause vibration of the blades to vary.

You can take this retrieve to the next level by giving your reel a quick extra crank when it is near any cover. You don’t need to stop or pause, just speed up one crank. This will make the blades speed up and flutter. Doing this by cover is a great way to get fish hiding in cover to commit and strike.

If you don’t see any cover then you can still do it periodically spacing it out every 10-15 feet.

For spinnerbait recommendations read our spinnerbait buyers guide.

Spinnerbait vs Chatterbait

There is a time and place for both. Spinnerbaits are perfect for shad spawn because they produce a ton of flash and mimic a school of bait fish. Chatterbaits are all about the vibration, which bass can sense so its perfect for stained water.

Spinnerbait Rod & Reel for Every Budget

Best Value: Shimano SLX 7’2″ Medium Heavy paired with a Shimano SLX 150 XT

High End: Shimano Zodias 7’2″ Medium Heavy paired with a Shimano Curado DC HG

Top of the Line: G Loomis GLX 844C MBR paired with a Shimano Chronarch MGL HG

Published on: 11/21/2019

Last Updated: 7/14/2021