How to Choose Spinnerbaits for Bass Fishing

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Pro bass angler Ott DeFoe shares his process for choosing the best spinnerbaits for bass based on water clarity, cover, and cloud conditions. While flat-sided crankbaits are his favorite for covering water fast, cover like grass, brush and laydowns often favor spinnerbaits for their weedless properties. DeFoe uses spinnerbaits to fish visible cover down banks and quickly establish a pattern, but there’s some nuance to lure selection.

Here are DeFoe’s criteria for selecting spinnerbaits for bass based on the conditions.

SUPREME VERSATILITY

Spinnerbaits has regained some of the popularity lost to ChatterBaits due to the ability to customize to the situation. They’re easy to fish for all anglers and catch bass most of the year, but DeFoe favors them during all phases of the spring, spanning the prespawn through the post-spawn period.

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SPINNERBAIT SERIES – Terminator Pro Series Spinnerbaits
SPINNERBAIT BLADE SELECTION FOR CLEAR WATER

Choose spinnerbaits that produce flash and have a natural appearance in clear water. DeFoe prefers spinnerbaits with a natural-colored skirt and head color paired with a double willow blade combination. Use silver-bladed spinnerbaits for bass to generate the most flash on sunny days in clear water.

SPINNERBAIT BLADE SELECTION FOR STAINED WATER

DeFoe recommends adding more gold-colored blades and bigger blades for vibration as the water gets dirtier. Use a big gold willow leaf blade paired with a smaller silver blade in moderately stained water. He’ll mix in a double Colorado blade combo to produce the most vibration, which excels in the dirtiest water or in the winter when he wants to slow his retrieve speed.

SPINNERBAIT BLADE SELECTION FOR CLOUDY DAYS

Painted blades or spinnerbaits with a kicker blade are excellent spinnerbaits for bass when it’s cloudy and in dirty water. Metal blades don’t generate a lot of flash without the sun, whereas vibrantly painted blades remain highly visible.

HOW TO CHOOSE SPINNERBAIT WEIGHT

The two most significant factors when choosing the best spinnerbait weight are depth and retrieve speed. For bank fishing, this means either a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce spinnerbait. Use 3/8-ounce in the shallowest water and step up to the 1/2-ounce when you want to fish faster and deeper.

HOW TO CHOOSE SPINNERBAIT TRAILERS

Spinnerbait trailers add visual appeal through mass and profile and, in some cases, additional flash and vibration. DeFoe’s go-to is a typical split-tail trailer. He’ll mix in a paddle tail swimbait when seeking extra flash and vibration in dirty water.

WHEN TO USE SPINNERBAIT TRAILER HOOKS

DeFoe uses a trailer hook nearly 100% of the time on spinnerbaits for bass in tournament situations – they significantly improve hooking and landing percentages when the cover allows. He’ll bypass a trailer hook only in the gnarliest cover or when fun or pre-fishing. You can quickly build a homemade spinnerbait trailer hook setup or choose a purpose-built hook.

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