A discussion on winter spinnerbaits

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I’m kinda wondering if writing about winter bass fishing is, well, pointless since winter seems to have skipped us this year. But you never know what March will bring so here goes.

We’ve looked at jerkbaits, crankbaits, and today we will end up talking about spinnerbaits. Spinnerbaits are a good choice for winter bass because of the versatility of a spinnerbait. Depending on the weight and blade combinations, they can be fished, slow, fast, deep, shallow, and in and through cover.

Most people fish spinnerbaits within two feet of the surface, but that is not unlocking the bait’s full potential. If you have the patience, deep slow rolling a spinnerbait can be very effective for cold-water bass, and can catch quality, too.

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Most spinnerbaits are in the 3/8 to 1/2 ounce sizes, and while these are by far the best all around weights, they require an extra dose of patience to fish deep. Spinnerbaits weighing 3/4 to 1 ounce are good for deep-water applications.

The key to catching deep spinnerbait fish is more than just depth; bottom contact, speed, and contacting cover are what make the difference. The best bait to accomplish this is a large single Colorado or Willow blade spinnerbait. There are pros and cons to both, but both are good choices.

The single Colorado provides a distinct thump, is very good to be slow crawled along the bottom, or raised and dropped or “fluttered” down steep bluff walls, but the extra resistance makes it want to ride up, so patience is a key. It doesn’t give off as much flash as a willow leaf blade, but the “thump” is its calling card.

The single Willow provides good flash so it’s better suited for clear water, it also doesn’t ride up like the Colorado so it’s easier to fish deep, and it comes through cover like lay downs and brush better so it doesn’t snag as much. But, the lack of blade thump hurts the setup a bit.

If you are fishing the bait up in the water column, multiple blades are a good choice. A double Colorado or a combination Colorado/Willow blade are good choices. The 3/8 to 1/2 ounce I like to fish trailers on my hooks, but the bigger and more active the trailer, the more the bait will ride up in the water column so keep that in mind.

I try to keep colors simple, and based on water color. The tried and true white/chartreuse is hard to beat in most situations. You may lean toward white or grey in really clear water, or more chartreuse in muddy water.

Most of the time I like gold or copper colored blades in cold water, but in a clear lake on a windy day, the silver blades seem to be better.

I think the wire diameter is important as well. Some of the more popular spinnerbait brands look great, but they have stiff wires, which kills the vibration and pulsing of the skirt. A narrow gauge wire makes a spinnerbait come alive with action.

While this isn’t always a guarantee, most of the time a slow retrieve is better than a fast one. The best rule is to fish it as slow as you can, then slow it down that much more.