A spinnerbait is a fishing lure best suited to catching fish that tend to stay at a certain fixed depth, like bass. Spinnerbaits don't really look like anything in nature (I don't recall ever seeing an fish with rapidly spinning blades), but I think they look like a school of minnows to the fish. Spinnerbaits consist of these sections:

  • Hooks
  • Heads
  • Wires
  • Skirts
  • Blades
  • Trailers

The following is a guide to what to look for if you want to try fishing with a spinnerbait.

Hooks are a simple choice. Just buy a strong and wide gap hook. Be especially sure to keep the hook very sharp when using the lure.

Heads are the little lead weights at the front of the lure that play a big part in the speed and depth of the spinnerbait. Heavy equals deep and/or fast. Light equals shallow and/or slow. A point to remember is that fish are exothermic; in cold over very warm water, the bait the lure represents would be slow moving, and in more temperate conditions, they would be quick moving. Also look out for weed beds. A fish usually just skims over the top of the plants, so select a weight that will allow the lure to cruise right on top of the weeds too.

Wires make up the central part of the spinnerbait. Look for one that is stout and can stand up to abuse. There's no special recommendations here.

Skirts provide the body and bulk of the bait. Of all of the materials available, the new silicon rubber skirts give you the best chance to imitate your bait fish school. Silicon also allows to the flair the bait easily to imitate a spooked school, providing a trigger for an attack. Choose the colors best suited to your water. A translucent or silvery skirt gives you that subtle look in clear water. A bolder yellow or green works in stained or dark water. In really dirty water, a black or red skirt shows through the murk. You can mix and match colors to work in that in between water, or pull through different clarity of water such as at the mouth of your favorite creek.

Blades are what really present the spinnerbait to the fish. There are four things to consider; number, style, size, and finish. First, cover and speed of the lure will determine your number. If you're fishing in heavy cover or reeling the spinnerbait in slowly, use a single blade; if you're going for a quick speed in clear water, use a tandem (two-bladed) lure. After you've got the number of blades nailed down, you need to select your style. The three styles available are round, slender, or Indiana blade. Use a round blade if you want to go in murky water, since its shape produces the most vibration. Use a slender blade for speed or probing weeds. If your situation doesn't really meet these criteria, use an Indiana blade, which is an in-between style. Next, in the size department, big is good for dark water, small is nice for clear bodies of water. Finally, the finish is dictated by what size of fish you're hunting. A diamond cut finish will reflect a flash of light into various small flashes, creating the illusion of many small flashes, which will attract a smaller fish. A smooth finish will create one big flash, which will attract a bigger fish.

Trailers are the tail of the spinnerbait. They provide a final presentation for the fish. A curly tail will add a lot to the movement of the spinnerbait, especially if you pick a bright color for low light conditions. Also, a larger trailer can boost buoyancy, so you can replace a tail to quickly effect the depth at which the lure travels. This is easier than messing with the head of the spinnerbait.

After you've gone shopping and found the particular lure for your water and fishing style, the process of actually fishing with a spinnerbait is the same for all the variations you can find. Work the area slowly and methodically, exploring every nook and angle to give the hidden bass a good look. As you reel in the lure, try to visualize what a school of bait would look like. In most conditions, the school the lure should represent would move a few feet, scatter slightly to prevent an attack, then move a few more feet in the same general direction. You can imitate this natural movement with a combination of rod tip movements. A slight flick upwards while pausing the retrieve will cause the bait to flair upwards and the blades to flutter momentarily. Moving the rod to the other side of your body will cause a slight change in direction of the bait after the flair. Keep your rod tip up for direction control if the depth will allow it. For deep structure, a small jerk forward while your rod points down will provide a slight flair for the bait. Try to make the bait look nervous and wary. After all, if something 100 times your size was about to make you it's next meal, you'd be pretty wary yourself. When a fish finally decides to take the bait, you'll know it. Bass especially attack the bait with all their might; there's no subtle nibble in most cases. Consider trying a spinnerbait sometime if you're interested in fishing. They can produce tremendous results.