Squarebill versus Spinnerbait

Squarebill versus Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits and squarebills are two of the powerhouse bait categories for shallow water spring time fishing. And, while these two baits can be used in a lot of the same areas and situations, there are times too when one outdoes the other. 

Spinnerbaits, for instance, come through submerged vegetation better than squarebills. But squarebills typically perform better around riprap. Knowing these subtleties will help you decide on which of these baits you should have in hand when, and thus make you a better, more efficient angler in the spring. Let’s look more into this now. 

Why both work well in the spring - 

Spinnerbaits (like the Castaic Atlas Spinnerbait) and squarebills (like the MONSTERBASS SquareBanger) are perfect for springtime fishing because the bass are shallow and they are hungry. Bass are looking to feed up in the spring, whether they are moving up to spawn or coming off the beds. In the pre-spawn, the bass know they’ll need to bulk up for the bedding process that lies ahead. So they are aggressive and willing to jump on power-fishing baits like squarebills and spinnerbaits. 

And, while some bass can be a little finicky after they spawn, the immediate bass post-spawn period is usually accompanied by simultaneous bait spawns on many fisheries. During this time, shad, herring and other baitfish spawn by the thousands along vegetation, rocks, wood, seawalls and other cover. Throwing a squarebill or spinnerbait into the middle of this feeding frenzy is a great way to catch them. 

When to use the spinnerbait - 

Spinnerbaits work really well in the spring from clear water to muddy and from shallow to fairly deep. You can fish a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait in a foot of water, or slow roll one that weighs an ounce or more in 20 feet. This versatility far outpaces that of most squarebills, which are really meant to be fished in less than five feet of water. This being said, there are some magnum squarebills that can be fished deeper. But, it’s more typical for a spinnerbait to have the ability to go deeper. 

Spinnerbaits also come through vegetation better than squarebills. Though you can fish a squarebill through submerged vegetation, ripping it out of the grass to generate strikes, you’ll have much better luck going with a spinnerbait in emergent vegetation like water willow and lily pads. 

While spinnerbaits and squarebills both work in a wide range of water clarities, it’s likely that spinnerbaits win out here too in overall versatility. Since you’re able to change the blade size and styles from small willow leaf blades to giant Colorados, and pair those blades with either translucent, natural skirts or solid, bright ones, you can usually catch fish in extreme clear or extreme muddy water better with a spinnerbait than you can a squarebill. 

Wind is typically your friend with a spinnerbait too, especially in clear water situations. Whether you have a little bit of a ripple on the water or are up against an all out gust, spinnerbaits are the ticket most of the time. 

When to use a squarebill - 

Squarebills are surprisingly snag resistant, in spite of the six hook points hanging beneath them. This has to do with how the bait comes through the water. A squarebill’s lip digs in and makes the bait dive, while also coming into contact with the bottom and passing cover first. Since the bait is pitched forward by the bill, the hooks actually trail up and behind the bait, away from obstructions. 

As mentioned before, this doesn’t really stop the hooks from grabbing onto vegetation. But it does do a pretty good job of keeping them from hanging hard cover like wood and rock. This makes a squarebill great for fishing around riprap. 

And, not only do the baits do a good job of navigating the terrain, but squarebills also bounce and deflect off cover in an erratic way, which generates strikes. For these reasons, a squarebill is usually the better choice around shallow rock, even though a spinnerbait would catch some fish of these same fish too. 


Spinnerbaits tend to come through brushy types of woody cover like bushes and Christmas trees better than squarebills, but laydowns are kind of a dealer’s choice when it comes to selecting between the two baits. If the laydown primarily consists one log with a few scattered limbs that are mostly underwater, you can usually worm a squarebill through it. If there are lots of little limbs though (especially if they’re sticking out of the water some), it’s easier to fish a spinnerbait through a laydown. 

The takeaway, it’s a good idea to have both a spinnerbait and a squarebill on deck in the spring. These baits both draw strikes and catch big ones. They are tailor-made to fish shallow, while the spinnerbait does have the capacity to go a little deeper. Both baits work in the wind, but the spinnerbait is better. Both baits work in the rocks, but the squarebill wins out. And, while both catch fish in wood and vegetation, the spinnerbait is a little more capable of navigating the thicker stuff. 

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