A spinnerbait is one of the most widely used and versatile baits out there. But with a wide variety of colors, blade combinations and sizes to choose from, picking the right spinnerbait for a given set of conditions can be a bit challenging.
Today, we’re going to try to sort a little of that out for you and give you some basic guidelines to go by when choosing the right spinnerbait for a particular situation.
Double willow leaf
The easiest way to categorize spinnerbaits is by their blade combinations, so that’s the distinguishing characteristic we’ll use throughout the majority of this piece. A double willow leaf blade combo has the least thump, resistance and flash of the three main blade combinations we’ll discuss, so this spinnerbait is best suited for higher visibility, warmer water situations.
Because the blades offer less resistance, this bait can also be fished higher in the water column with greater ease, So for a situation where you’re fishing a clear lake with a light ripple on the water in the fall and you’re wanting to burn a spinnerbait just below the surface, the double willow leaf combo in a fairly natural looking skirt is the best option.
Moving towards more resistance and thump, we’ll start talking about the Colorado/willow leaf combo. For their size, Colorado blades have more thump than willow leaf blades. So, when moving towards slightly colder and more stained water, the Colorado/willow works well.
The added thump and resistance of the small Colorado blade means that you can reel the bait a little slower and the overall sound signature will help the bass find the bait a little better in lower visibility water as compared to the double willow leaf. All this makes a Colorado/willow combo the perfect selection for fishing around docks, grass or wood in the late fall for example, when the water is a little cooler and more stained.
A double Colorado blade combination is typically the best selection when fishing cold and muddy water. There are some Colorado/willow leaf spinnerbaits which use extra large willow leaf blades in the size 6 range to move a lot of water and slow the bait down. But most of the time, once you get below 60- degree water temps and into fairly muddy water, the double Colorado is hard to beat.
Because the blades offer a lot of resistance, you’re able to slow roll a double Colorado spinnerbait. This makes it an easier target to attack for a lethargic bass that’s less active and aggressive in the colder water. The heavy thump and large flash also helps the bass track the bait better in low visibility. So all three of these things come together to make a double Colorado spinnerbait the clear choice in cold, muddy water.
Spinnerbaits can also be categorized by size. Most spinnerbaits are in the 3/8- to 1/2- ounce range weight wise, and usually have fairly similar profiles across the board when looking back at the different blade combinations. But there are some compact spinnerbaits that have a smaller profile, and these baits work better for certain situations.
In the fall when the shad are plentiful and small, a compact 1/4- ounce spinnerbait can work really well in any of the three blade combinations. A compact spinnerbait also works well in high pressure situations where the bass are a little more finicky and smaller on average. So often times a compact spinnerbait is better in certain ponds, creeks and rivers where the bass are a little smaller or more pressured.
Almost exclusively, a large single Colorado blade or double Colorado spinnerbait is the best selection for night fishing. And as contrary to common sense as it may be, black shows up best for bass at night. So a black, Colorado spinnerbait is the one you should choose.
The single or double Colorado blade offers great resistance to help fish the bait slow and a lot of thump to help the fish find the bait. A slow, loud bait is much easier for a bass to track in low visibility than a fast moving one with a quieter sound signature. So a double willow leaf spinnerbait just doesn’t make sense at night for instance, and the Colorado blades win out.
Selecting the perfect spinnerbait can seem like a challenging task given all the options we have at our disposal. But if you keep a few basic things in mind, you can quickly narrow down the selection you have to choose from. If the water is fairly warm and clear, double willow leaf blades make the most sense. If it’s little cooler and/or dirtier, move to a Colorado/willow combo.
When the water is cold or there’s low visibility due to mud or darkness, Colorado blades work best. And in situations with high pressure or small bait present, try a compact spinnerbait.
As for color selection, solid and bright colors show up best in muddy water. Go with black at night and then natural more translucent colors in clearer water. These simple guidelines will hopefully make it far easier the next time you’re looking for the right spinnerbait on any given day.