How to Select the Best Spinnerbait for Bass Fishing

A spinnerbait is probably one of the least eye appealing baits in your tackle box, however they can be the deadliest baits in your arsenal.

As the water temperature continues to climb, I have found that the bass are beginning their transition towards deeper water. In Florida where most of our lakes are shallow sand bowls or salad bowls, deeper is a relative term. It can be a difference in water depth of as little as a foot. It can also be a shallow flat covered with grass outside a shallower area where the bass have been spawning.

Over the years one of the most difficult problems facing all bass fisherman and me is that Florida Bass don't read the textbooks. Florida lakes as I said earlier are shallow sand bowls full of grass and this means the bass can be about anywhere. I have fished areas in some of our bigger lakes with acres and acres of grass 3 feet deep only to find the bass piled up in a 50-yard stretch. From the surface the whole area looks the same. Did the bait stop there last or is that just the last place the bass stopped? Finding these bass can be impossible with electronics, even with the advanced side structure imaging available today. The only way to locate these honey holes is to fish and cover water.

Choosing the Weight

One of the most effective baits to find bass in these shallow water jungles is a spinnerbait. A spinnerbait is probably one of the least eye appealing baits in your tackle box, however under the conditions I described they can be the deadliest baits in your arsenal. When I select a spinnerbait I take several factors into consideration; they are water depth, wind conditions, water clarity, forage available and type of cover I am fishing. Spinnerbaits come in a variety of weights from less then 1/4 ounce to over 1 ounce. When fishing shallow from one to three feet of water I prefer a spinnerbait between 1/4 and 3/8 ounce. This size bait can be pulled through the grass or cover without burying in the cover your trying to draw the fish from. As I move to deeper water 4-6 feet I will move up to a 1/2-ounce bait. The key is to effectively work the cover without constantly burying or getting stuck in it. Wind conditions will also play into this so determining the most effective weight is trial and error.

Blade Configuration

Spinnerbaits also come in a variety of blade configurations and water clarity is how I choose the one I am going to use. In clear water a bass will depend on sight to feed and a double willow blade gives off a good amount of flash and will attract bass from a distance. In stained water a bass will depend not just on sight but on vibration felt by its lateral line. A combination willow and Colorado blade will give off flash and vibration making this a good choice under these conditions. In dirty water a bass will depend heavily on vibration and noise to feed. A double Colorado blade will give off the most vibration.

Blade and Skirt Color

When choosing color of blade and skirt I consider what the bass are feeding on. When bass are feeding on shad I match the color of the bait. A white skirt and silver blades match them the best. When bass are feeding on Bluegills or bream purple and or green skirts work the best. When bass are feeding on shiners Gold works the best. This is just a guideline for where to start. To figure out what the most effective bait will be you will have to experiment. Trial and error and sometimes persistence is the key to finding the right piece to the bass puzzle. When fishing a spinnerbait I use a 6' 6" medium to medium heavy action rod with 12- 15 pound Fluorocarbon line on a Lew’s 6:1 conventional reel I prefer the Fluorocarbon line because its sensitive has little stretch and gets bit.


When fishing a spinnerbait don't just cast and retrieve, pay attention and fish the bait with confidence. Often a bite is just the blade stopping and if your not paying attention the bass will inhale and exhale the bait before you set the hook. It is also very important to vary your retrieve speed until you find the pace the bass want. Try burning the bait (reeling it fast) slow rolling it making contact with the cover and even yo yoing it. What I enjoy most about bass fishing is figuring it out, putting the pieces together and when it comes together catching bass and feeling the sense of accomplishment.

Good Luck, Good Fishing and please practice Catch and Release.

Capt. Lenny Crispino

The Online Fisherman

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