Spinnerbaits are awesome bass catchers all year long. Come fall, a double willow leaf spinnerbait is hard to beat. In the winter, you can slow-roll your way to a big bite with a double Colorado blade. Transitioning to a Colorado/willow is often the ticket in the spring and a big, single Colorado blade can do a lot of damage at night in the summer. But as important as the blade combination is on a spinnerbait, the trailer you choose is often just as critical.
Adding a soft-plastic trailer to the back of your spinnerbait is very beneficial. It disguises the hook well, giving the bait a cleaner profile and making it look a little more realistic. A trailer can also be used to slow a bait down or speed it up. But if you’re not using a complementary trailer you will negate a lot of what you’re trying to accomplish with the blade combinations. Pairing your spinnerbait with the right trailer will make the overall presentation much more effective.
So today, we’re going to look at 4 spinnerbait trailers you should try and give you a glimpse of the advantages and disadvantages to pairing them with certain spinnerbaits.
I’ve really liked a small swimbait in recent years for a lot of my spinnerbait fishing, especially in clear to fairly clear water. When picking a spinnerbait for these conditions, it’s typically a good idea to use a realistic color pattern and either a double willow or, on occasion, a Colorado/willow leaf combo. Where I live, “realistic in clear water” means a shad imitator most of the time.
A swimbait like the Missile Baits Shockwave is a great complement to this style spinnerbait. The Shockwave has a little paddle tail at the end that gives off just enough action without overdoing it in the clearer water. You’re also typically going to be fishing this bait fairly quickly, not wanting the bass to get too good of a look at it. So the small tail is perfect, giving off a little action without a lot of resistance. The more resistance a trailer offers, the more it’s going to slow down your bait. With that principle in mind, let’s look at the next trailer option.
A twin-tail grub often gets lumped in with craw-style trailers. And though that’s pretty fair, I think for that reason a lot of people overlook them as spinnerbait trailers and opt to mostly use them on jigs. But baits like the Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub are awesome spinnerbait trailers as well, given the right scenario. I really like to use these baits when I’m wanting to fish a spinnerbait slow and/or beef up its profile. Two cases in point, night fishing in the summer and slow-rolling a spinnerbait shallow in cold, muddy water.
Adding a twin-tail grub to the back of a spinnerbait will create a lot of resistance and help you fish the bait slow. If you fish it too fast, the bait simply rises higher and higher in the water column due to the resistance and lift of the trailer, so you’re forced to slow down. And the bigger bait adds to the profile to help the fish see it better. Both of these things are critical when fishing in the dark in the summertime and when fishing in muddy, shallow water in the winter. The slower the bait and the bigger the profile, the easier it is for bass to find it in both of those low visibility situations.
Sometimes, you want the larger profile with the added action to help catch a fish’s attention, but the twin-tail grub brings too much resistance to the table to get the bait down and keep it down where it needs to be to target the bass. That’s where a single-tail grub like the Zoom Tab Tail Grub comes in. With a bait like this, you get a little of the bulk and a lot of the action, while still keeping your bait fairly streamlined. While this works well in shallow, calm water at times, this bait really shines in deeper current.
A bait like this is perfect for lakes like those found along the Tennessee River such as Wheeler, Guntersville, Pickwick, Wilson, Chickamauga, Nickajack and Kentucky Lake. They all have a good bit of current flowing through them on a regular basis and that rolling water often has a pretty good stain to it. Slow-rolling a heavy spinnerbait certain times of the year along the bluff walls and other deeper haunts of these fisheries is a great way to catch bass and big ones at that. A single-tail grub is the perfect trailer for this type of fishing. There’s not enough resistance from the single tail to cause your bait to rise, so it will stay down well in the current. But you also get a good bit of action out of it so the bass can find the bait.
A split-tail soft plastic is likely my favorite all-time spinnerbait trailer, though the swimbait has been jockeying for the top spot in recent years as previously mentioned. And I would consider the swimbait to be the more versatile of the two. But soft plastics like the Z-Man ElaZtech Split Tail TrailerZ work well in lots of different situations as well and come in a close second in the arena of versatilely in my opinion. But the reason it reigns supreme as my favorite trailer is that its the most complementary to my favorite style of spinnerbait fishing—targeting bass in shallow, stained to muddy water.
It may seem contradictory at first for me to suggest this thin, twin trailer over a bulky one in muddy water when I just recommended the Twin Tail Fat Albert Grub. But the difference is that I’d allocate the bigger, bulkier bait to super cold and muddy water and it’s just not that necessary most of the year here in Alabama. Instead, paring a split-tail trailer with a double Colorado or Colorado/big willow leaf blade combo gives me a plenty of resistance from the blades to slow the bait down and a good bit of action from the trailer. So I can fish my bait slow in stained water but still have some nice action and mask my hook well while the water temps are in the low 50s to low 70s range.
There’s a lot that goes into picking out the right trailer for your spinnerbait, but don’t let it be overwhelming; just think in terms of size and resistance. The bigger, bulkier soft plastics will add to the profile and resistance of your spinnerbait, which helps when trying to create a presentation bass can track down in cold and/or low-visibility situations. The more you move away from those conditions towards more aggressive bass that are able to get a bead on a bait in clear water, the more you’ll want to tighten up the action of the bait and speed up the retrieve.
The main no-no is pairing a trailer that slows your bait down with a spinnerbait you want to fish faster. Doing this will cause your bait to rise in the water column and hurt the overall presentation. Going in the other direction, it’s okay to use a smaller trailer with a spinnerbait you want to fish slow as long as the blades offer enough resistance on their own. But if you need to slow the bait down even more, adding a big bulky twin-tail grub will help you do just that. Take these tips and apply them the next time you’re selecting a spinnerbait trailer and hopefully they’ll help you catch more fish!