The spinnerbait creates the look and feel of one or more fleeing baitfish, a real strike trigger for bass whether they’re in a feeding mode or not. The safety-pin style lure features one or more blades on the top arm and a baitfish-looking head and skirt on the lower part. It’s the blades that do the lion’s share of the work. The blades spin on the retrieve, sending out bright flashes of light, like those produced by a swimming baitfish, as well as vibrations that bass feel with their lateral lines.
There are three basic types of spinnerbaits; In-line spinner (ie Worden’s Original Rooster Tail), Tail-spinner (ie Mann’s Little George), and the Safety-pin type. We will be concerned with the safety-pin type here.
The more you open a wire up or spread it apart from the blades and the head, the more you can slow the bait down and get it to vibrate. It gives the spinnerbait more lift so it will want to come up in the water column. Closing the wire gives you more speed, and it will be more apt to stay down and not rise to the surface.
The makeup of the blade and the size of it will have a great impact on how the spinnerbait fishes. A smooth blade has less resistance, whereas a hammered blade has more flash but more drag. A Colorado offers more vibration and is a good choice for dark or dirty water and colder water where you fish slower.
Willow blades have less drag so they can be fished faster and are a better choice for warmer and clearer water. A good all-around spinnerbait for spring and summer is a Colorado/willow with gold and silver blades. Try one with a No. 2 Colorado in front and a No. 5 willow in back. An Indiana blade is kind of a combination of a colorado and a willow – a Colorado that is elongated. The Indiana blade offers a lot of flash and still has a good thump. Most standard double willows are a No. 2 and No. 4 1/2 or No. 5 back blade. The bigger the front blade, the more vibration it takes off the back blade.
When selecting the size of the lure, you must consider the time of year and water clarity. In the spring or in clear water, it is possible to catch a giant bass on bait as small as 1/8-ounce. The opposite occurs in the fall and muddy water, where larger profile baits as big as 1-ounce are the ideal choice. Many anglers view the 3/8-ounce size as the all-purpose size. You would typically use a white skirt for clear water or sunny days.
On cloudy days or in dirty water, you should lean more towards chartreuse or yellow or even darker-colored baits like black and blue. When selecting blade colors, on sunny days or in clear water, use silver blades. Silver has a greater reflection level than copper blades. Copper and painted blades are practical choices for dirty water or cloudy skies. You can easily replace or change the skirt while fishing. They even make a super easy-to-use skirt-making kit so you can create your own color combinations.
Spinnerbaits are great in the weeds, grass, and tree branches, like a blowdown (fallen tree). If you are out in the open, a trailer hook can be added to try to catch those short bites (the ones that are just going for the skirt).
Spinnerbaits are versatile, they can be fished slow, fast, deep, or right under the surface of the water. They also can be fished year-round. Trailers give your presentation a much larger profile and entice larger fish. Big bass like big baits and are more willing to attack prey that will fill them up.
Popular ones are the split tail, minnow, curl tail grub, flat tail grub, thin minnow, fluke style, and the paddle-tail swimbait trailer. If you were only going to throw one bait, all the time, a spinnerbait would be a good choice.