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Classic spinnerbait is simple, yet effective

May 25, 2008|By BILL ANDERSON

A good friend recently completed a dream bass fishing trip to Texas. He and his sons pulled their bass boat down and spent two weeks fishing some of the classic bass lakes like Toledo Bend and Lake Fork. These lakes have a reputation for really big bass and lots of them.

He said that they used a large number of lures ranging from crank baits to plastic worms, but it was spinnerbaits that caught the majority of the fish and some of the biggest bass.

The spinnerbait is a great example of how a simple lure design can become a classic. There is really not much to the design, but it has survived decades of use all over the country. The lure of today is still pretty much the same as lures that were being used in the 1970s. Modern metals like titanium are now being used to make the lures stronger and more flexible, and the blades are more reflective, but the basic design is the same.

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One of the key attributes of spinnerbaits is that you can pull one through heavy cover and it will usually work its way through and not get hung up. When the fish are holding tight in heavy cover, this is a key to getting strikes.

But the biggest attribute is that this lure can be fished from top of the water column to the bottom by varying the angle and speed of the retrieve. One great retrieve when fish are holding tight in brush is called "killing" the spinnerbait. This presentation is made by making a quick retrieve to keep the spinnerbait just below the surface, and when you get to the cover, such as a bush or tree trunk, you stop the retrieve abruptly. The spinnerbait will then flutter down beside the cover, and you are often rewarded with a strike.

Spinnerbaits are primarily used for largemouth and smallmouth bass, but they also work well for pike, pickerel and muskies. In fact, they will probably take just about any gamefish in the right situation.

Some years back, a friend and I were casting flies and bucktails to the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Virginia Beach, Va., in hopes of catching a striped bass or two. Another boat was working a little ahead of us, for about an hour, we saw them taking one fish after another. When we got nearer to them, we noticed that they were catching grey trout, and the lures they were throwing were white spinnerbaits like the ones we would use for bass.

I had never used nor seen anyone use spinnerbaits in saltwater before then, but they obviously worked really well that day.

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