Friday, November 8, 2013

Understanding SpinnerBaits Pt. 1 "SpinnerBait Breakdown"

Types of Spinnerbaits:
Many fishermen and women will tell you that spinnerbaits are probably the most versatile lures. Primarily because they can be effective under pretty much any conditions.  They'll work for you in every season; in cold, cool or hot water and no matter what the weather is like. (well except through the ice) As well they can be used and effective in fresh or saltwater for just about any species.
To start spinnerbaits fall into a two different categories with a few sub-categories beneath one of the two.
1. Inline spinners
The first category and probably the oldest of the two are the inline spinners.  Inlines are pretty simple they have a hook dressed with fur or feathers of some sort attached to stainless steel wire with a weighted body portion and a single or double spinner blade.  These baits are amazingly effective and amazingly under appreciated by many people, except maybe trout fishermen.  In fact many bass fishermen tend to think of inlines and more of a child's bait.  But despite being deemed an easy bait to fish plenty of largemouth, smallies and a plethora of other species has succumbed to the flutter of an inline spinnerbait. Inlines are simple to use: cast, reel and hold on tight when something grabs it.

2. Elbow, safety pin or bass spinnerbaits
These guys tend to be what most people think of when they think of spinnerbaits.  They're characterized by their elbow shaped wire connecting a weighted head and spinner blades. These spinnerbaits have a few sub-categories that fall beneath them.

     A. Single bladed baits which tend to allow for a slower retrieve and are great in deeper water.  Single bladed spinners are a great bait when the fish seem to be a bit stubborn about biting as well as a great bait in colder water.

     B. Tandem bladed baits work best in murky water as they produce more vibration and flash than their single bladed brothers.  They also are great baits to be retrieved over thick grass and cover.

     C. Twin spins are great to option when you want to retrieve your bait just above the bottom for fish that are hovering on the bottom.

The blades on spinnerbaits are the primary fish attractant.  They spin producing flash, sound and vibration, which sends signals to the majority of a fish's primary senses.  Obviously the blade's reflective surface appeals a fish's sense of sight.  As well the sound that the blades emit when spinning through the water appeal to fish's sense of hearing.  This is a great thing, since sound travels faster through water than air, a fish can hear your bait coming from a much further distance and can use sound to key in on your baits in murky water.  Finally the vibration created by the blades attracts fish by alerting the fish via their lateral lines.  Basically the lateral line is an extra-sensory organ that allows fish to use the vibration and in some cases electrical currents of a prey item in order to hone in on it especially in murky water.  It's kind of like fish's sonar system that reads vibration rather than sound.

The blades you choose will determine the depth at which your spinnerbait is best fished at.  As well the blades will dictate the amount of water resistance of your bait has which determines the speed at which it can successfully be retrieved.

Image Source: Learning How To Fish

Blade Styles:
As said before the blade styles affect the sound, flash, vibration and the depths of the different spinnerbaits.  For the most part colorado blades produce the most vibration while willow leaf blades produce the most flash.  While the French blades tend to be a good medium between the colorado and willow leaf blades.
As far as the depths each blade style tends to run at, colorado blades tend to run the highest in the water column due to increased water resistance they create as they spin which produces lift for the bait.  The medium range blades are the indiana, indiana fluted, turtle back and french blades because the spin a little tighter to he wire reducing resistance an causing less lift.  On the other end of the spectrum the inline and willow leaf blades spin the tightest to the wire naturally causing the baits to ride deeper depth than the other blade styles.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to spinner blades is the cover being fished.  Spinnerbaits, particularly elbow style, are created for fishing in and around all types of cover but willow leaf blades tend to work the best in heavy cover because of how tightly they spend.

Blade Colors:
Spinner blades come in just about any color you can think of ranging from silver to finishes painted to look realistically like a fish's eye and scale pattern. The color of the blades will determine how much light they reflect as well a what they color reflect within the water.  For fishing in murky water: gold, chartreuse, and white tend to be great colors as they are easier to see by predator fish.  Silver,white and the realistic patterns are great colors for clear water.  I personally chose will switch to white if I feel that the silver blades are putting off too much flash inadvertently spooking fish.
Surprisingly when fishing at night or very overcast days darker colored spinners tend to be a great choices as the darker colors will create a darker shape in the water than the night sky which fish can hone in on.

(Note: blades reflects light in the color that they are thus making them more visible in
murky water, to test this hold a piece of colored paper close to a white wall using the paper as a reflector and watch what color shows up on the wall)

Blade Sizes:
Blade size also affects the resistance, lift and vibration a blade produces as well as the amount of flash it generates.  Just as with blade color you may realize that switching to a smaller blade size in clear water will stimulate more strikes as well but let the fish tell you what they want.  Another thing to consider, specifically with inline spinners, is that if blade should be a little longer than the body portion of the bait if it is not you'll find that the blade will often not spin when retrieved or need to be retrieved at a faster pace in order to spin.

Skirts & dressings:
Just as the blades are attracters of fish so are the skirts and dressings that cover the hooks of your spinners.  The skirts and dressings also have a few other functions:
1. They create greater water resistance which allows the baits to be retrieved slower as well as causing lift.
2. They give the fish something to focus on to and grab.
3. Some say they aide in keeping the spinnerbaits snag free. (but I can't prove this one)
4. Depending on the dressing used they offer different types of movement.

Skirts and dressings range a lot in what can be used.  Many elbow style spinner baits will use silicone skirts, pork rinds, and twister tails.  While many in-line spinners and larger elbow style baits, primarily for pike other toothy critters, will use other materials like bucktail, marabou, squirrel tail and other synthetics.  As well depending on the circumstance, particularly with in-line spinners, some will have no skirt at all in order to get deeper.

Each part of the spinnerbait you use can be traded out and customized to fit the scenarios in which you fish. So don't be afraid to change out any parts of your spinnerbaits as the slightest change may be the difference between getting skunked or feeling your live well.

Thanks for reading and look out for part 2,

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