Spinnerbaits, with their unique flash and vibration, are a broad family of lures well loved by bass anglers all over the world. Different to their jerkbait and swimbait counterparts, which strongly mimic typical bass prey, spinnerbaits hardly look “natural” but that doesn’t mean they’re any less effective. Tournament pros swear by them.
Buying the best spinnerbait for bass possible requires some groundwork understanding the components and uses. Here we’ll break down exactly what they are, the types available, and when’s best to use them.
Spinnerbait Buying Guide
Spinnerbaits, given their multiform use in different conditions and waters, come in varying shapes and sizes. Buying the best one, especially for the unaccustomed, can prove a little intimidating. Breaking them down by their key features can help you better distinguish them from other popular bass fishing lures.
What Is a Spinnerbait?
Spinnerbaits are so-called for the major component of metal blades that spin in a propellor-like motion in the water. This is what gives the lure its characteristic vibration and flash, two crucial components that help draw a bass to it. It’s also what helps categorize and break down spinnerbaits into subtypes; from single blade to multi blade variations and beyond.
Going further, this family of lures can best be recognised as a wire shaped at a right-angle that has the blade at one end and a jig head (a hook and body) at the other. The jig head is then “dressed” by a rubber or plastic “skirt” (something that helps the lure better mimic live bait). The blade end “flutters” or “spins” freely due to the use of a swivel (a small metal component attached to the wire that allows rotation).
Fishing a spinnerbait is very beginner-friendly as it requires a simple cast out from a rod into the water coupled with a fairly speedy retrieve (reeling the line back in). Unlike jerk or crankbaits, spinnerbait anglers don’t need to “play” the line in any particular way or “twitch” the rod.
Why and When to Use a Spinnerbait
Possible one of the best features of spinnerbaits is that they are well-suited for use on virtually any type of water at any time of year. Given their simplicity in construction they can be rigged (set up) by an angler very quickly on the waterside and adjusted in between casts to match changing circumstances.
Using them effectively, however, requires some level of forethought. Especially when it comes to color choice, blade combinations and combined variations. It also depends on where the bass are in the water you are planning to fish.
Bass close to the banks, for example, might be better attracted by colorado blades more than other blade types.
Blade variations cause the spinner to have different actions. On cooler days where bass tend to sit deep that might mean opting for a slower moving blade. On days where the water is dark it might mean choosing a brighter colored spinner blade over something more natural in tone.
As an angler planning to fish for bass with a spinnerbait you might want to vary your tackle box and pick up a few different blades, jig heads and skirts. That way you can settle on the perfect rig for whatever time and place you find yourself hunting for bass in. Unlike other lure types, this versatility won’t tie you down to one particular way of fishing either.
Types of Spinnerbaits
Settling on what spinnerbait to purchase should involve considering all the options. In bass angling circles, the most common types used are any of the following five; single blade, double blade, multi blade, twin arm, and inline spinners.
The single blade spinnerbait is recommended by some bass anglers as an effective nighttime lure for bass catches, especially as it makes noise enough to attract bass after they’ve emerged from sitting in the weeds during the day. Other bass anglers, however, seem to have forgotten about it due to it being overlooked by multi-blade alternatives.
Considered an old-school approach, the single blade spinner allows anglers to fish different depth zones at different speeds. In dirty water where shad are rife, it is a good choice for targeting bass suspended and on the hunt for food. Simple to rig and use, its use of only one blade is a no-fuss approach that lots of veterans favor.
A step up from the single blade is the double blade, featuring two spinning blades on the wire frame.
Often not in alignment, these two blades can differ in size, shape and type to offer more variation for the angler who likes to experiment. Given the use of an extra blade they also offer more vibration and flash than a single blade, which depending on conditions, can help snag more fish.
This set-up is also known as a “tandem” and is perhaps best used when bass are sitting a little shallower in the water. As is common in winter months.
Multi blade spinnerbaits are categorized by featuring any number of blades from two and up. Commonly rigs won’t get any more complicated than two or three blade set-ups but it is possible to see four, five or even six blades used on occasion.
Usually the multi blade approach is condition specific and not exactly beginner friendly given the added complexity and increased surface area of the lure (making snags and tangles more possible). They also change the action somewhat too, slowing a retrieval down to target bigger bass and generally adding more weight to the cast.
Multi blades have their place in deep water fishing or trying to draw bass out in times when they really aren’t biting. The theory goes that bass can’t stand to see other fish feeding. A well-dressed jig following several blades resembles something going after a small school.
Instead of the single metal wire holding a blade at one end and a jig at the other, twin arms can be thought of as having an “extra” wire (or arm) to hold an additional blade.
One key feature of the twin arm is the added stability it brings to the lure in the water, ensuring it runs true and that there’s no wobble. Just like multi blade spinnerbaits, the twin arm gives an extra level of customization for the angler who likes to switch out and play with different bodies, blades and colors too.
It’s also possible to find multi-arm spinnerbaits for even more customization.
Inline spinnerbaits have a long history but have fallen by the wayside somewhat in terms of popularity. Simple in fashion, they are almost identical to blade spinners beside from the fact they lack the “angled” component to the wire. Instead the blade, body and treble hook all sit in-line on one plane.
An inline blade has a different action to other spinnerbaits as it pumps and pushes through the water in line with its weighted component. The weight-forward design also makes it easier in the cast than other bass fishing lures. Something that can really help a beginner pinpoint an area on a lake or river.
Types of Spinnerbait Blades
The blade is a crucial component to a spinnerbait and is the key component in the bait’s overall presentation (how it looks and attracts a fish). Choosing the right blade comes down to personal preference but most anglers like to mix and match a little, having access to a few different blade types in their tackle box.
The main contenders when it comes to the best spinnerbaits for bass include Colorado, Willow, Indiana, Tomahawk, Chopper, and Ripple blade types.
One of the most popular spinnerbait blade choices, Colorado, with its wide rounded profile and deep cup (thickness), is able to displace a lot of water. Especially useful when power and big vibration is in demand.
Due to their larger size this blade type requires that the angler takes a slower approach toward their retrieve. Something that goes well with fishing in winter months in cold, dirty water when the bass are less frantic, have less line of sight and rely on other senses more.
Willow blades have a longer, slimmer body than Colorado blades and also have less of a cup. Where the Colorado is great for creating vibration, Willow is better at creating flash, something that a baitfish like shad are able to do at quite large distances.
In good visibility that makes Willow a strong choice. Making them particularly popular in summer months when the water is at its warmest and the bass are most active.
Indiana blades were initially made as something to fit the spot between the Colorado and Willow in terms of length, shape and thickness. Designed to run at more of a medium retrieval speed between Colorado’s slow and Willow’s fast, Indiana blades are raindrop-shaped and make good additions to multi arm or multi blade spinnerbait set-ups.
One advantage of the Indiana is that it can work fairly well across both summer and winter seasons, not impeding on the action of the lure too much but not so slow that it puts off energetic bass either.
These blades are fairly unorthodox in comparison to regular spinnerbait blades with a shape that resembles that of a Tomahawk axe rather than the oval norm. Although not commonly used in bass fishing, they are starting to grow in popularity due to delivering a fairly reliable thump (vibration) in the water.
Chopper blades have no concave cup and are completely flat in shape except for a curved lower edge. This gives them reduced vibration but a very smooth action on the cast and retrieve which is particularly good for finesse anglers fishing on calmer water.
A popular pairing of the Chopper is with a Willow on a twin arm spinnerbait. Both spin at a similar rate to each other and mimic a minnow body or tail that spins constantly as it falls up and down in the water.
A Colorado with a Chopper is quite commonly used too. Especially with anglers who like to employ a stop and go retrieval technique to pre-empt the strike.
Ripple blades are perhaps the rarest blade used for bass spinnerbaits even though they’ve had a lot of success in the past. Small and difficult to find in larger sizes, they are best used on smaller, more lightweight lures designed for fishing at closer range.
Shape-wise Ripples are quite close to Willows in their oval shape but are rounded rather than pointed at their ends. They generally have more lift and create more turbulence than a Willow too.
Blade size impacts the vibration, flash and action of a spinnerbait. It also determines the overall weight of a lure, how fast it can be retrieved and how far or short it can be cast. Factors that both seasoned and beginner anglers should care about.
The size index differs depending on the blade used. Willows, for example, come in a very wide range of sizes from #3-½ up to #6. The larger the reference number, the longer and wider the lure. A Willow #6 comes in at just over 2.85 inches in length while the #3-½ comes in at 1.56 inches and just over 0.5 inches in width.
The same index system is in place for Colorado and other blade types but the exact lengths and widths may vary.
A blade’s finish refers to its pattern or coloring. Some blades can have photographic finishes to help them ‘pop’ more as they dive and flutter in the water. Others are painted using a specific technique or type of paint.
Choosing a blade based on its finish is largely a matter of preference. Experienced anglers tend to stick with that’s tried and tested and go for simple metallic blade finishes. Newer anglers, more subject to the latest trends in lure manufacturing, might pick up specially finished lures that promise (although evidence is slim) better results.
As a general rule go with what you think you’ll get use out of. The finish is far less important than blade type and size.
Pairing Crankbaits with Other Gear
Matching a decent spinnerbait with whatever else is in your tackle box is easy enough. Due to the simplicity of the lure, upgrading to anything special when it comes to rod, reel and line is unlikely. However experienced an angler you are, that’s good news.
Rods should be a standard bass fishing rod of either baitcaster or spinner variety (although its possible to rig a spinnerbait on other rod types). Anything that’s medium to fast in action works well with a spinnerbait but anglers shouldn’t worry too much as the control of the lure is mainly dependent on reel speed rather than rod parameters.
Medium to heavy power rods can be just as well suited to the best spinnerbaits for bass as light ones. It really depends on how many blades you opt for, as well as the weight of other components of the lure including the jighead and skirt.
Reels with a medium gear ratio of 6:1 are what the pros generally recommend when fishing for bass with a spinnerbait. In that range anglers are better suited at other ends of the spectrum too; able to reel in fast when the conditions call for it, or slow if they need to change things up.
Spinnerbaits can be used with each of the major line types. Depending on the weight of the lure in itself you’ll want to use an appropriate pound test. You should also consider the type and weight of bass you plan on targeting too.
Many bass anglers recommend anything between 40 to 65 lbs for braided, 15 to 25 lbs for monofilament and the same range for fluorocarbon.
Best Spinnerbaits for Bass
Better understanding spinnerbaits and what they offer, it’s time to take a look at some of the more popular recommendations on the market.
The Tbuymax 10 piece holographic spinner lure kit comes in an assortment of sizes and colors. Lures are designed to have a life-like swimming action and create plenty of flash and vibration as they spin in the water. Very beginner friendly, this cheap entry level spinnerbait is easy to use straight out the box, giving the angler the opportunity to switch between in-line and tail-spinner options. Large size 2.5”, heavy bodied and comes with treble hooks and bright strike-attractor sleeves.
This Booyah twin arm spinnerbait comes equipped with a 55 strand silicone skirt and a Colorado and Indiana blade – one of the most popular blade combinations among bass fishermen. The Mustad Ultra Point hook is another nice feature that helps increase hook up rates without breaking the line.
Bass pro Kevin VanDamm (KVD) endorses this top of the range spinnerbait that has a very small profile in the water making for a compact presentation perfect for fast retrieves. Featuring a premium single hook, the blades on this Strike King have a nice finish with the KVD insignia while a magic tailed shirt sits on the other end. Comes in ½ and ⅜ oz. options.
This handcrafted twin willow blade spinnerbait from Nicols is one of the most durable on the market, with a wire made from stainless steel. Two 3D molded eyes sealed on each side of a skirted jighead is another nice touch alongside an extra sharp needle pointed hook. Available in over 30 color variations.
This double willow blade spinnerbait set from NetAngler supplies 9 pieces that can be mixed and matched by the buyer in order to get the best combination. The snag resistant design and flex wire allow frames ensures it gives a good vibration while coming through heavy grass or foliage easily. Bass anglers also have the option to combine Colorado and Willow blades to create an extra buzz.
Fishing spinnerbaits are a great way to get started in the bass fishing world and something that decade-long veterans still love to do. Understanding when and where to use them, as well as seeing some of the more popular options out there can hopefully encourage you to give them a try.