As fishing techniques continue to evolve, new opportunities arise. One of those new techniques is fishing with spybaits. This technique comes from Japan and involves using a small hard bait that resembles a minnow.
What separates spybaits from other baits is that each one has twin props at opposite ends. When fishing with lipless spybaits in clear water, the props create a water column that attracts fish, especially bass.
These tips for fishing spybaits should improve your ability to catch fish with these tricky lures.
1. Fish in the Correct Water
The best water for a spybait is clear water because the trick with spybaits is the way fish see it move. Fish need to see the lure for long distances and bass likes to track lures before they strike. If a bass cannot see the lure, it’s not going to bite.
In clear freshwater, bass will see the spybait as it moves from side to side while you retrieve it. The little shimmy looks like a real baitfish. When you get the process down, you will reel in bass after bass.
However, if you have less-than-ideal conditions, spybaits can still work. The propellers can create vibration and noise that can attract bass, but you’re really better off going with a bait that is intended to create noise and vibration like a popper.
2. Know When to Use the Bait
Spybait attracts bass, but it takes time for them to bite. If fish aren’t moving, then you should stick with traditional bass bait. Suspended fish might not go the distance to chase aggressive lures like spybaits.
If you aren’t getting bites with anything, it might be time to change the color of your bait. All types of bass like spybaits when the water is cold.
3. Keep It Simple
Traditional bass fishing involves using lures that are loud and flashy. They make noise, vibrate, and flicker in the water to get a bass to bite. A spybait does a little of that, but nothing like other baits.
The quiet spybait attracts bass by moving through a water column. The little props on the ends shimmer a bit if the sun hits them, but their purpose isn’t the vibration or flash. If you catch a fish with a spybait, you’ve made a silent capture, as the lure is rather simple and quiet.
Along with keeping it quiet above and in the water, the actual fishing techniques differ from traditional bass fishing. For example, instead of jerking or twitching the lure, you just cast and retrieve.
The spybait is a simple bait that does not require you to do anything special to get a bass to pay attention to it. The lure props move through the water column, like a real baitfish. What gets a bass’s attention is that the lure behaves as if it has no worries about the water around it.
Veteran bass fishermen can struggle with slowing down and letting the lure do the work.
Simply cast the bait and slowly reel it back.
4. Notice Depths
Along with understanding how to cast and retrieve the bait, anglers have to learn what depths work best in their waters. Fishermen might get frustrated early on, as they might not know exactly where the bait is regarding depth.
Some spybaits fall around a foot per second, but not all do. Once you learn how quickly the bait falls, you can do a count to determine where the bait is in the water. It takes trial and error to get the right data about your bait’s sink rate and depth.
Many anglers rely on their electronics to see where the bait fish are in the water. You might have to experiment with various depths so you attract bass and they bite. Bass prefer to bite bait that is above them, so your depth can make a difference.
As you are looking at your electronics, look where bait fish are swimming. Then, look where the larger bass are. Your spybait should be in the same depths as the baitfish.
5. Know How to Retrieve Your Bait
Your retrieval process should be slow and steady. If you move too quickly, bass will not have time to see the bait, trail it, and attack.
Your retrieval needs to mimic the actions of the baitfish, especially one that is unaware. Take it easy, slow down, and don’t force your spybait to rise to the surface too quickly.
6. Pay Attention to Your Electronics
If you are new to spybaits, you pay close attention to your electronics. They will help you analyze depths, especially where the bass are, where the baitfish are, and where to put your spybait.
Your electronics will help you understand how to fish effectively with the spybait. Otherwise, you’ll be fishing blindly, trusting instinct. With spybait, you should trust the bait more than your instinct. With electronics, you get actual data that will help you find the optimal depth.
7. Pick the Right Size Bait
As this technique has its origins in Japan, North American lure manufacturers are still learning about spybaits. Some lure manufacturers are making their unique versions, which generally weigh under ⅜-ounce and measure under four inches.
Because spybaits are meant to resemble real minnows, so they should not be large.
8. Choose Your Sink Rate
Since spybaits are hard lures, they tend to sink quickly. You can use them to fish along the bottom, where most bass like to hide. However, manufacturers are making slow-sinking spybaits so anglers can fish in shallow water with the same methods.
When deciding about spybait sink rates, consider what you are fishing for and where you are fishing. The slow sink attracts bass that needs to see the fish moving consistently through the water. A quickly sinking spybait might move too quickly and not draw the attention of a bass.
Remember, with a spybait, you should fish in clear water. This bait is all about patience, so sinking slowly could be just what you need to attract that monster bass.
9. Choose the Best Line and Rod
The lure is one aspect of spybait fishing. As the lure does the work with a slow, fish-like shimmy, you don’t need anything fancy.
Mono, fluoro, and braid can all work. You can also use a lightweight braid with a fluorocarbon leader.
With a light line, like a six-pound fluorocarbon or mono, you can cast your line a long distance and keep your retrieval slow and steady, allowing the lure to shimmy naturally.
If you have a line that is too heavy, the lure cannot fall naturally or move through the water with the proper baitfish-like shimmy.
You want a light to a medium-light rod with a spinning or baitcasting reel along with your lightweight line.
Some manufacturers offer larger spybaits, so anglers who use them should use typical jerkbait fishing gear – like limber rods and heavier fluorocarbon lines between eight or ten pounds.
10. Pick the Best Color Bait
All bass species are attracted to spybait, but anglers have found that color can make a difference in how attractive the bait is to local bass. Most spybaits come in colors that resemble baitfish including transparent, natural, and shocker color combinations.
Experienced anglers use the weather and water transparency as determiners for their bait color each day. If the water is clear and the sun is out, they choose transparent bait. On days when the water is murky and the sky is cloudy, anglers choose solid-body bait.
If you find that you’ve been using the same bait and no bass is biting, you can use a shocker color to get their attention. Experienced anglers tend to have a handful of colors of spybaits, and they switch them up depending on conditions and activity.
11. Be Patient
When it comes to tips for fishing spybaits, the idea is to embrace change. Rather than using spybaits like regular jerkbaits, success only comes from a complete change from jerky and noisy to quiet and smooth.
The spybaits technique works in all conditions. Spybaits get suspended bass to move, even when the sun is shining. When nothing else is working for you, it might be time to try spybaits. Be patient, relax, and let the lure do the work. You’ll reap the rewards before you know it.