Written by Andrew Schadegg
With the popularity of bladed jigs, swimbaits, swim jigs and techniques like the underspin and A-rig, the classic spinnerbait has been put on the back burner. All of those baits and techniques are fantastic and have their place, but when it comes to reaction baits in the spring, it’s hard to beat a spinnerbait.
During the spring, bass are moving around. They take their underwater highways from the depths to the shallows and they hunker down in areas that have a lot of good, healthy vegetation, maybe some wood or docks, anywhere that they can have cover and food. This is prime time to fish a bait that is versatile and attracts attention.
Here are a few things to remember when fishing a spinnerbait in the spring:
Throw it in Hard to Reach Places – Bass, especially the big ones, don’t like to hang out in open areas for too long. They find the nooks and crannies of the cover they are using as their home. In the spring, they really like protected areas that are safe and comfortable to find spots for the spawn. For example, when you pull up to a dock, most anglers might fire a shot down the right side, maybe a little flip under the end and then fire another shot down the left side. Get creative! Think about the weirdest angle, hardest to reach or the most protected spot on that dock or piece of cover. 99% of the time, it’s holding some fish.
Don’t Worry About Weeds – Alright, if it’s crazy, stringy, sloppy, thick weeds, you won’t get a spinnerbait through it. In that case, pick up a frog or punch rig. In most cases, however, spinnerbaits are a perfect bait to throw in areas with a lot of reeds, grass, lily pads and other vegetation. Because it goes through the water vertically, it slips right through narrow areas and can catch those spring bass way up in the cover. One tip, though. If you’re going to fish it in the weeds, make sure you start retrieving it as soon as it hits the water. Let it fall to the bottom and it’s going to get covered in weeds and ruin your cast.
Mix Up Your Retrieve – Little changes to how you present your baits can make a huge difference in the number of bites you get. A spinnerbait is one of those baits that are constantly being fished in a strictly “chunk-and-wind” style. You throw it out and bring it back in at the same steady pace every time. This is a BIG mistake. Sure, you might catch some fish. Some days, it might even be the best presentation. Most of the time, it’s only going to get you the bare minimum. Speed it up, slow it down, pop your rod tip to make the blades dance and most importantly, just like when you fish a crankbait, bang it into stuff! Knock it off of stumps, rocks or any structure in the water, let it fall for a second and kick it into gear. Deflection triggers bites.
Get out on the lake this spring and tie up a spinnerbait. You’ll be happy you did!