When to Fish a Spinnerbait

When to Fish a Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits catch monsterbass. Baits like the Mustad Arm Lock Spinnerbait, Strike King Red Eye Special and MONSTERBASS Blade Burner are big bite producers, and we love them for it. But, spinnerbaits don’t really work that well all the time. This fact understandably leads to the question, “Well, when should I fish a spinnerbait then?” And we’re to help with that!

 There are five things to consider when trying to determine whether or not a spinnerbait is an effective bait to fish with on a given day. The seasons, water temperatures, weather conditions, water clarity and forage present can all be used to clue you in on which days setup well for a spinnerbait bite, and which days you’re better off going with something else. Let’s dive in.


Seasons -

It’s important to point out from the jump that you can catch bass on a spinnerbaits in all four seasons. Winter, spring, summer and fall, bass will bite a blade in them all. But without a doubt, spinnerbaits are more effective day in and day out in the spring and fall than they are in the winter and summer.

We’ll talk more about why this is in the coming sections, but the important thing to note at the moment is that a spinnerbait should be rigged up every time you hit the water in the spring and fall. Some days will setup for it better than others during these two seasons, but you can almost always find a spinnerbait bite in these transitional seasons, if you know to look for one.


Water temperatures -

Since the spring and fall setup better for spinnerbaits, it makes sense that there would be an ideal water temperature to look for as well. Bass bite a spinnerbait really well in water temps from 55 degrees up to about 75 degrees. They will still bite a spinnerbait outside of this window, but when the water is colder than 55 degrees, bass tend to bite crankbaits and slower moving lures better, like Ned rigs, shakyheads and jigs.

When the water is warmer than 75 degrees, the bass like to key in more on topwaters like buzzbaits, Spooks and poppers, or they’ll push down deeper where they can be targeted better with baits like dropshots, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs. But when the water temps are in that sweet spot between 55 and 75 degrees, the bass are shallow and aggressive, more than willing to chomp down on a spinnerbait.

Weather conditions -

Since spinnerbaits are primarily used as power fishing baits, it’s a good idea to look to throw them when there’s a weather front passing through. During these times of low pressure, the bass become very aggressive. A spinnerbait is perfect in these situations because this lure type represents a big meal to the bass.

Spinnerbaits also work well during these fronts because of the overcast conditions and wind that usually accompany them. In the low visibility, the blades and the thump of a spinnerbait look and feel like the real thing to a bass, much more-so than they do in calm and sunny conditions. The wind also breaks up the surface of the water, making it harder for light to penetrate. For this reason, bass can be caught on a spinnerbait well even in clear water on a sunny day, as long as there is wind blowing.


Water clarity -

Though, as we just pointed out, spinnerbaits can be used to target bass in clear water as long as there is wind present, stained to muddy water is really ideal for a spinnerbait. In these lower visibility situations, the thump and flash generated by spinnerbait blades make these baits some of the most effective lures for targeting bass.

Stained to muddy water is really the key too to finding a good spinnerbait bite anytime you’re outside the spring and fall window, when those ideal water temperatures are not present. Even in the brutal heat of the summer and frigid cold of the winter, if you have muddy water available, you can likely slow down with a double Colorado blade spinnerbait and get a bite. Spinnerbaits that give off lots of vibration like this also work well for night fishing, for the same low visibly reasons. And one final note here, black skirts work best at night.


Forage present -

Another key factor to determining whether or not a spinnerbait is what you should be reaching for is the forage present. Spinnerbaits mimic shad and other baitfish really well. So, if you’re fishing along and you’re seeing shad, minnows, herring or other baitfish scooting along the surface, try tying on a shad color spinnerbait with silver blades and see if you can get a bite.

If the water is muddy, you’ll want to transition away from translucent shad patterns to more of a solid white or chartreuse skirt. And the willow leaf blades that work well in clear water will need to be swapped out for Colorado blades, which generate more vibration and flash. The key takeaway is to try a spinnerbait of some sort anytime you see fish targeting baitfish, and then tailor your color selection to "match the hatch" and to conform to the water clarity as best as you can.

If you take any day of the year and run it through these five criteria, you should be able to quickly determine whether or not a spinnerbait will be a productive choice. Keep in mind that all these things don’t have to come together at once for it to be a good day to throw a spinnerbait. A windy spring day with shad shallow and a little color to the water may be the perfect day, but a bass will bite a spinnerbait during a storm front in the summer as well. As long as some part of the puzzle looks right for a spinnerbait, try to plug a blade in and see if you can get a bite. It may just work and result in a big one!

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