When it comes to lures for Australians freshwater natives, there's few baits more versatile than the humble spinnerbait. Emerging from the US bass scene, the spinnerbait really didn't arrive down under until the late nineties and early two thousands and came about largely on the back of the catch and release tournaments that took off around that time.
Be the Bait
Designed primarily as a baitfish imitation, the spinnerbait has a very simple form. The first thing you'll notice of course is its wire frame. On one end you have your weight with the hook attach and on the other, the blades. While the form of the spinnerbait is quite simple. There can be many variations within it. Now of course the frame is the most noticeable and they can range from small compact ones to large heavy-duty broad ones .
Now the weight of the head can vary as well. From small feather light ones all the way up to big bulbous heavy-duty models. Of course they get larger again and the cod guys especially like one and two ounce spinnerbaits. When it comes to blades, there's options as well with willow, Colorado and Indiana, the three most popular choices. The long slender blade is known as a willow, while this short squat guy is a Colorado. The Indiana is a bit of an in between and its shape is a mix between a willow and Colorado. Now of course you can get all the same or you can mix these different blade types, so I guess the question is when do you use all those different options? When it comes to frame size, it's largely about what you're trying to achieve.
Are you going for a small compact baitfish profile or do you want something that's much larger and has much more presence in the water? It's also about the depth of the water that you're going to fish. In shallow water, a nice little compact frame will keep the bait high in the water. While if you're fishing deep water and you want to get down to where the fish are on the bottom, a big solid heavy-duty frame is the way to go.
When it comes to blades, it's about finding the right tool for the job and the different blades all have different characteristics and of course are suited to different tasks. Due to their slender profile, willow blades are a great option when you want to move that lure quickly, whether it be on the sink or on the retrieve. While willow blades allow you to move the lure very quickly and provide plenty of flash they perhaps don't give as much vibration as you would like, such as when using a Colorado.
Best of Both Worlds
Subsequently, if you are after the best of both worlds, flash and vibration, that's when a trandem configuration comes into its own. A tandem features a willow at the bottom and a Colorado at the top. Blades of course come in different colors with gold and silver the two most common options. Gold is popular in overcast conditions or in slightly dirtier water while on those bright days and in clear water, silver is a popular choice.
The finish on the blades can also have an effect as well, with the blades that feature striations and dimples providing a touch more flash and a little bit more vibration through the water. Skirt color is perhaps the most noticeable color difference when it comes to a spinnerbait and just like you do with all lures, you choose a color based on what you're trying to replicate and the conditions that you're fishing.
If it's a baitfish I'm trying to replicate, then I'll just go with a traditional white tone. While on an overcast or dark day, I might want to have a bit more punch in my spinnerbait and that's when I'll go something like an orange or a bright yellow. 90% of my spinnerbait fishing is chasing bass or sooty grunter and my great all rounder for both of those species is either a 1/2 oz or a5/8 oz and either a double Willow or a tandem.
Now, one of my favorite things when it comes to sooty grunter is catching them shallow and for that my spinnerbait choice, becomes a bit more specific. And I opt for a heavy spinnerbait, compact with a single Willow. This configuration allows me to work at fast and shallow without it blowing out of the water.
When fishing trees and especially deep trees for sooty grunter I step up in not only weight but also blade configuration. A 5/8oz compact with plenty of blades and plenty of flash is the why I like to go. Now when it comes to throwing spinnerbaits, 90% of the time I'll use baitcaster gear .
The only time that I'll really use spin tackle is when I'm throwing really small, really compact bites. A 1/4 oz and lighter is when I might reach for a spin rod. When it comes to an all round baitcast outfit, I like a 6'4" to 7', medium to medium heavy, fast taper rod. And the reel I genuinely use on it is a 6.3:1. It's a great all around retrieve ratio and on that I will run 10 to 20 pound PE and a 12 to 16 pounds leader.
Step it Up
When moving to the trees, you generally want to step up in outfits. The rod choice I go for is a 6'10" to 7'4" long rod. A medium or medium heavy or even a heavy is the way to go. Now the reel, once again, just like with my allround outfit is a 6.3:1 ratio, the line on it will be heavier and I'll run a 15 to 30 pound line, with a leader anywhere between a 14 to 25 pound leader is the way to go.
When it comes to retrieving spinnerbaits, the list of options is very long. Regardless of which one you choose, one thing to keep in mind is that the spinnerbait is largely a reaction presentation, and for that it means the lure needs to be moving.
Slow and Roll
Now for me, the standard one that I opt for is a slow rolling retrieve. However, that doesn't always work. If that's the case, you want to switch it up a bit. A slow burn, a long burn or an even a pause on the retrieve can be enough to get the fish to bite. There we are guys, some tips and tricks and a rundown on spinnerbaits. Good luck on the water and happy spinnerbaiting.
Meet Simon Goldsmith
A Daiwa Fan Boy at heart Simon loves nothing more than loading up his bass boat with Daiwa gear and JDM tackle and hitting his local lakes in search of bass or packing the boat and car for a trip to North Queensland chasing sooty grunter and mangrove jack.