Spinnerbaits leverage flash and thump to produce big bass bites. Here are some thoughts on how to customize your bladed lures to get the most out of them.
Flashy appearance and bold profile may define the spinnerbait’s basic appeal, but there’s a lot of room for tactical tweaking and creative development — particularly with the blade setup.
Blade shape, size and color greatly affect performance and fish attraction. Sometimes the flash is more important; other times it’s the thump that gets fish to bite. In deep water, slow-rolling along the bottom may be the deal, whereas blades that provide “lift” might be more effective in shallow environs.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways bass anglers can use those blades to their advantage.
For starters, we’ll get a quick rundown of some general blade choices. While everyone has their personal preferences, but Toledo Bend Guide Stephen Johnston offered a good starting point.
“If the water’s clear, I’ll use two silver willow leaf blades,” Johnston said. “If the water has a little tinge to it, I’ll go with a Colorado and a willow — both silver. If the water gets a little dirty or in the low light of early morning, I’ll have a gold Colorado and a silver willow. In the dirtier water, I’ll go Colorado-willow, gold and gold; and in (increasingly dirty water), I’ll go with larger willows — one gold and one silver.”
Occasionally, a big rain will raise the water’s murkiness to nearly mud status. Here, Johnston employs the “thumper” — one large Colorado blade, or a small Colorado preceding a big Indiana blade.
“You get more thump to cause more vibration in that muddy water,” he said. “A big Colorado blade has more thump than an Indiana blade, but that Indiana gives you a blend of the (Colorado and willow benefits).”
Flash and thump are certainly important to the bass-tempting ruse, but in various instances, particular blade selection can help you address specific situational needs.
A general rule of thumb: Increasing speed and blade size increases lift. Burn a bait with large blades, and it’ll rise topside, eventually breaking the surface and infringing on the buzzbait’s territory.
Here are a few examples of blade particulars that provide a starting point for individual innovation. (see sidebars)