Choosing the Right Bait
Most spinnerbaits are shaped like safety pins, and the most common sizes are between 1/4 oz. and 3/8 oz. Deep-water situations call for heavier spinnerbaits. Light or translucent colors are best when the water is clear, while murky water calls for dark, solid spinnerbait colors. Aside from the skirt, the blade or blades are the most prominent feature of any spinnerbait. Single blades are the best option when fishing in deep or clear water, or when the bass are in a neutral or negative feeding mode. When bass are in heavy vegetation, or the water is murky, tandem blades are a better choice because they produce more vibration. Anglers should use silver blades when the water is clear and gold blades when it is murky. Some blades are painted. In clear water, a blade painted white can be good, while chartreuse or another solid color may work in murky water or when there is little light.
Many anglers simply cast and retrieve their spinnerbaits through open water. While this method may produce bass, an even better option is to bump spinnerbaits into cover. Some of the better forms of cover are boat docks, vegetation and timber. The idea is to cast the lure past the cover, then retrieve it so that it makes contact with and ricochets off the cover, which will cause an erratic movement. Bass see this as a sign of a weak fish and believe they have an easy meal.
Spinnerbaits call for line that is 14-pound test or heavier. Because the best areas in which to fish spinnerbaits have an abundance of cover, heavy line is necessary to avoid the nicks or frays that can significantly weaken fishing line. Also, the best place to fish a spinnerbait is near the surface of the water, and heavy line allows you to reel more slowly, yet still keep the lure near the top. Anglers who want to fish their spinnerbaits near the bottom, which can be a productive, if overlooked, method, should choose slightly thinner line, such as 10-pound test.
It's All About Feel
The blades of a spinnerbait create a rhythmic beat as they spin through the water. Anglers who pay attention can feel the beat as it travels down the fishing rod to the hands. Pay attention to the feel of the bait as you wind it through the water. While bass sometimes hit a spinnerbait hard and there is no question you've got a fish, sometimes they strike softly and you will miss them unless you set the hook right away.
Vary Your Retrieve
Bass will bite a spinnerbait that is retrieved in a steady fashion, but they are more likely to bite a spinnerbait that travels erratically. Because of that, it is best to vary the style with which you retrieve the bait. Cast the spinnerbait out and burn it back along the surface so the blades create a bulge on the surface. Or cast and reel the lure in quickly, stopping every now and again to let the lure fall for a second or two. Experimentation is the key to maximizing the number of bass you catch on a spinnerbait. Oftentimes, the bass will prefer one retrieve over another, but this can change from hour to hour or day to day.