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Article 29 - Spinner Baits #13614975 07/01/20 04:29 PM
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Article 29 – Spinner Baits
Everyone seems to look for baits that can provide that secret weapon that will catch fish when others are struggling. The spinner bait has been around for so long there just aren't many secrets left to make it produce. What I hope to do is give you some of the techniques that have been lost over time. My first 20 years of Bass fishing there were 12 setups on the deck of my boat all rigged with spinner baits that I had rebuilt for the lake and conditions for that particular fishing trip. This part of spinner bait fishing can be called the secrets of the bait and a lost art in making them produce better. We all know the versatility of the blades and we must throw the bait in prime areas for the action to take place. Look for windy conditions. Cloudy skies means more roaming fish especially in heavy cover and low light can move them closer to the edge of cover. On sunny days with wind to break up the surface the blades can be a great asset to your lineup of techniques. Many fishermen only throw blades during the best Shad runs; thus all the other combinations are lost during the rest of the year. This bait is best known for the presentation of mimicking Shad during the first two hours of low light conditions. You can tell your spinner is dialed in when even the Shad are relating to the blades. I have felt tiny ticks and seen Shad follow the bait back to the boat. It is a good indication that the Bass will relate to the blades if you are using it correctly. All of the little things you learn and pay attention to are the only secrets that we old school spinner bait guys can offer.

Size Matters:
Fishing the Edge of Light is the key for any spinner bait to find the ambush points where the Bass are hiding. The shallow dense cover provides that shade between weed mats and heavy brush. Target isolated wood like lay-downs, logs and fallen green trees. I prefer a shorter MH 6.5 ft. rod for the shorter and more accurate cast in this heavy cover. In today's high pressured lakes the Bass have seen it all so many times, your favorite spinner bait just may not work any longer. These are baits with the Willow and Colo. Blade combination and the tandem double willows that are coming through these areas time and time again. Another tip that will change the lack of bites is to down size your blades and entire bait. If the water is really clear drop off the smallest blade and just go with the single willow blade. Use the #4 Hilderbrandt Willow in Gold during low light and the Silver when the sun gets on the water. In stained water switch to the single Colorado blade; but keep it reasonable in size like a #4.5 Hildebrandt. Use Gold on Cloudy days and Silver on sunny days in stained water. Step your wire and head down to the 1/4 oz. which will give you the lightest wire for vibration. If you insist on staying with a 3/8 or 1/2 you may have to get them custom built to get the light wire for the thump. Spinner baits can be retrieved in many different ways, which is what makes them such a great bait. Spinner baits are extremely versatile, but not many realize all the things these baits can do. Most anglers barely tap into the full potential of these baits. They simply reel them steadily the way they fished for decades; or try a little slow-rolling and occasionally wake them just under the surface. The bottom line is; they just chunk and wind which puts today’s fish to sleep. Ha… Try building a couple of the Old School Baits.

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[Linked Image]


Make It Real:
Pray Fish do not just swim in a straight line. They flurry, flutter and hide. Big Bass are not noted for expelling energy chasing it’s pray very far. They are looking for injured bait with erratic movements, quick burst, direction twist, pause, flare, a surface break, deflecting and a flutter down. Living Rubber skirting material gives a little larger profile or flare. It floats and keeps moving at rest. The rubber skirt will hold any scent applied to make the bait as real as possible. Keep your colors simple and natural. Living rubber white and chartreuse combinations are soft and not bright. Put in a few strands of scale pattern to represent the upper dark colors of the back and lateral line of pray fish; instead of the bait fish lighter colors. Natural Shad patterns work really well when Bass are feeding on Threadfins. Experimenting with colors will absolutely work on heavily pressured lakes; as fish grow accustom to seeing the same old colors. Willow blades will cut through the grass better and are better for shallow water making them my first choice when the Bass are after the bait fish. Working your bait slowly especially in the Spring before the spawn and cold water requires slow turning of the blades. Move the bait a few feet and let it flutter to the bottom. Use the rod sweep technique for this and not the reel. Slow hop the bait off the bottom and let it drop. The blades are turning like helicopters. This imitates the dying quiver of bait fish. Bass that are not running bait will pay attention to this erratic behavior; they hate anything acting out of the ordinary causing them to strike. I do have one special bait when the Bass are on the drop pattern that is very effective. This is a custom spinner bait just for this technique with counter rotating thin line buzz blades. It is patterned after the Billy Phillips Do-Drop-in from the 70’s out of Tennessee. It not only works in the shallows letting it drop beside heavy bushes; it is a great drop technique in the shade of pylons on bridges and ledges. Give the something different.

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Get In the Thick of It:
Go as far away from others as you can get. Find the heaviest cover you can find. Stay with the Spinner Bait until the Cows come home. You will be very surprised. Your larger Bass bury up in the thick stuff and very seldom are on the edges where most fisherman do their thing. So be it if you lose a bait or two fishing the thick stuff and running the bait like it should be run. Work that cover from every direction possible and use every facet that a spinner bait should be used for; no matter how thick it is. Your presentation must stand out and be as real as possible. A Bass that is non-aggressive must be coursed into biting. Reference Article 12- Remote Areas.

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Extreme weather changes like snow, sleet, blue northern and storms will cause Bass to group up on creek channel inside bends with heavy cover. The orange Indiana blade has served me well under these conditions. Use all the Halloween colors in the skirt such as Black/Orange/Browns. This pattern has been repeated many times over the years in some really bad weather. Search your creeks to locate your best areas to hunker down until the worst of the storm is over. Being in the back of such a place will give you the protection needed from high winds that will also pass. The back section of your creek may even have two heavy cover inside bends. These fish hate Orange when the pressure goes off the charts. They bite fast and furious; so if nothing is happening on one quickly move to the other. The longest coves with extremely crooked creeks in the very backs may hold several inside bends. One of these will be your greatest producer.

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Go Deep:
The Spinner Bait gives off the vibration that I am looking for in deep water. Always use the down sized blades to help keep it down. Stroll the bait just like a C-Rig along the irregular contour lines that are holding irregular features. Work out and around the Protrusions and into the Gouges. Use a 1 oz. bait for strolling along the ledges and drops of a super contour with a river slam or creek channel bend. Don’t hesitate to work the bait to 30 ft.; as the contour rises and falls. Cloudy and calm days are the best to use the deep technique.

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Blade Knowledge:
Staying with silver, nickel, gold or some combinations of such will drastically limit the spinner baits potential to be your bread winner. Try the colored blades which work in many different situations. In general use bright colors under sunny skies. Under low light or cloudy conditions the gold reflects better. If the water is clear, I am going to blind them with the Silver designer blades. It only takes one of the double blades on a spinner bait to make that difference around vegetation in clear water lakes. Go after the Crayfish colors showing the orange/black with hologram glitter in the Spring. Work the Chartreuse blades during the Summer to mimic the Bluegill colors. In the fall months throw in that one white blade while working the Shad population. There are no magic bullets; you must determine, and configure the combinations that the Bass want, period… The blades must mimic what the Bass are feeding on and the blade size is just as important as the color or combinations of blades.

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[Linked Image]

Now in my opinion this is where the lost ART comes in. Fisherman are not wanting to take the time to learn the Old School methods; thus it has become lost. The fact is we never know what works in our lakes. Many times we catch a super stringer of fish then never repeat that same day ever again. You will never know; was it the bait, color of blades, blade combination, area fished or did we just get into a bunch of feeding fish??

This is one of the most helpful tips that I can give for fishing a spinner bait. Be ready at all times to give a missed strike a second chance. Throwing back to the same spot with the same bait very seldom will work to produce another strike. Always follow up with something completely different that will mimic a dying bait fish. The key is being prepared to do it on a regular basis. I keep the fluke rigged to spiral downward for that imitation; as a big Bass would rather take something injured. All these spinner bait techniques and configurations are offered to help you improve your spinner bait fishing; but they won’t work for you if you don’t use them. It’s easy to fall back into the same old rut the next time you’re on the water, and that’s going to keep you scratching your head about what happened to the spinner bait bite.


Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
20 Hot Spot Mapping - GPS Contour Chips - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615015 07/01/20 04:46 PM
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excellent! I love spinner bait bite


GOD is good!
Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615089 07/01/20 05:27 PM
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Welllllllll .......... I too have fished spinnerbaits (mostly at night) for over 30+ years. And while most of your info is accurate I would have to disagree with or at the very least have reason to offer different views on some of the facts.

Here is a small (not as detailed nor picturesque as your post. Well done BTW ! ) rendering from my new FaceBook page that I am working on for my company, 165 Custom Baits. It's easy to see the differences in opinion and experiences. I have had people using my baits for many years with great success.

I want to emphasize that I am NOT TRYING TO START AN ARGUMENT. Just offering up other views gained from experience.

I also want to point out that these baits are mainly designed and tuned for a yo-yo style of fishing mainly reserved for nighttime. They will and do work during daylight hours, but the main focus is to cater to the night fishermen who I grew up with and still cater to in TN, ALA, and GA.

My love for spinnerbaits started in 1988 on a TVA impoundment in east Tennessee. I had become good friends with a tackle shop owner there and he kept bringing in trophy fish that he had caught on a spinnerbait at night. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t duplicate his success. Then out of the blue one day, he invited me to go fish with him that night. That was when I learned the proper way to fish the bait. And it has remained my go-to bait when I am looking to put a big fish in the boat. He schooled me on the proper cadence to lift and drop the bait, as well as the proper equipment to fish with. He also taught me that each and every part of the bait is crucial to its correct operation. Yes, you can catch fish on a bait off the shelf, but you give yourself a much better chance of success if you have a properly weighted, balanced, and tuned bait. I’ll comment later on each part of the bait and what it does, as well as how it causes the other parts to react and do their part. After 30+ years of fishing spinnerbaits, I can honestly assure you that there is not one bait on the retail market that is as good as it could be. Lower manufacturing and parts costs come into play as does actually obtaining the desired parts. After much frustration and failures, we have concluded that the only way to get a proper bait is to make the entire thing from scratch with either handmade parts or specific components that no other manufacturer is willing to do.

THE PARTS OF THE BAIT AND WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS

The Wire Form

The wire form is one of the most misunderstood and incorrectly discussed part of the entire bait. All our baits are closed eye forms that we bend ourselves. This accomplishes two things. (1) It stops the possibility of the line knot slipping from the anchoring point and sliding down the blade leg, where it can encounter the raw end of the wire and be damaged or cut entirely. I have seen on many occasions where large fish have caused the entire wire form to elongate and straighten when this happens. These anglers were fortunate that the line held. (2) The wire should transmit vibrations to the angler … not the fish. This is one place where a lot of fishermen get confused. A good Colorado blade will produce plenty of vibration to the fish no matter what wire size is used. But the angler must constantly stay in complete control and contact with the bait. This is where heavier wire excels. You can not properly fish the bait slowly if you can’t feel the slow rotation of the blade.

The swivel

The swivel must turn freely. A slight amount of movement must be enough to make the blade turn. Crane swivels are not acceptable, and neither are the imported bearing swivels. In an effort to save production costs and sell product at a cheaper price, we have tested every swivel we could get our hands on. There is only one swivel that will do what is required to make the bait perform and that is the Sampo ball bearing model. We only use Sampo swivels.

The blade

When fishing a spinnerbait properly, you are always seeking to feel the blade turn. As with the swivel, the blade must send signals back to your hands so you know what the bait is doing. I know a few who have used Indiana blades with moderate success, but we have always found the Colorado blade as the best choice. The blade must be heavy. Brass is the preferred material. The blade cup is crucial to how the blade spins and how much feedback you get. As with the swivels mentioned above, we have tried every blade we can get our hands on. Hildebrandt blades are far and away the best blades available. As for blade colors, that is up to the fisherman. We have tried both colors on many different skirt combinations and it seems that there isn’t much of a pattern that can be cut in stone. Blade size is extremely critical and must match the lure weight. Too small and the bait will sink too rapidly. Too large and the bait tends to roll and fall sideways. We match our blade sizes to our head weights for proper performance.

The hook.

Eagle Claw L255 has been the staple for spinnerbaits for many years. But after trying the Mustad 32608 we have decided that the bend is better (round bend) and it is a bit sharper out of the box. We always use 4/0 Mustads in every size except for the 3/16 SMSP bait. It gets a 3/0 size.

The bait size or weight

I am a professed smallmouth junkie. I admit it. And there is a general thought that they like smaller baits. I don’t totally disagree. But my reasoning for using smaller baits when targeting smallmouth also applies to the largemouth as well. If you are fishing shallow water at night or even in the daylight, and you throw a ½ or ¾ ounce bait in the water it can sound like someone just threw in a smallblock Chevrolet engine. Smallmouth will not stand for that and will leave the area immediately. Largemouth aren’t as sensitive, but they won’t put up with a lot of noise when they are in shallow water. That is one reason we offer our 3/16 ounce “Smallmouth Special” version. It has a #4 blade and a smaller 3/0 hook to offset the smaller head. This bait has caught most of my trophy smallmouth over the years, and also several big largemouth. It fishes great and is a killer in water up to 7 or 8 feet deep. All that said, there are no rules in place as to what size baits are appropriate for given conditions. We have always used the lightest bait that we could maintain constant contact with. As water depths get greater, you will have to go heavier to control the bait properly.

Equipment

We recommend 20# line and baitcasting reels. Obviously line that large would be very unwieldly on a spinning reel. The 20# line is just another component in the entire system that allows you to stay in contact with the bait. Heavier line transmits more vibration back to your hands. Rods of 7 feet are most desirable and move more line when setting the hook. Most spinnerbait fish will be hooked through the tough upper jaw and the more line you can move the better.

Last edited by Hair Jig; 07/01/20 05:41 PM.

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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615192 07/01/20 06:29 PM
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Excellent write up Hair Jig. I don't see a thing that we disagree on. I have built my personal baits for 50 years and would have loved to talk about them. I do not want to get another article taken down by the trolls and stalkers that are watching and will take every opportunity they can to say I am just trying to sell my spinner baits. Most of the pictures of the old packaged baits are those that I would purchase and rebuild with the parts that we have both mentioned. Then many trips were made to Bill Dance and Charles Spence's garage back in the 70's to pick up prototypes before Strike King came about. One of the best baits were the Hank Parker Prototypes that I would get from a Rep. in KY., and watched him win many tournaments on it before being represented by Mann's Bait Co.. There are some great old producer out there that will out fish any of the baits produced today. I can reproduce any of them as long as I have one to hold in my hands. Working off of a picture we never know what we are going to get; as it may just turn out to be a look alike.


Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
20 Hot Spot Mapping - GPS Contour Chips - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic


Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615208 07/01/20 06:50 PM
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Both articles are very well written! I love to read all sorts of info and this all was a lot to go thru.

As to that clear blade on the spinnerbait have you SEEN the NEW chatterbait coming out next month?!?! It has a CLEAR blade up front!!!!!! Should be totally different than anything else out there.


...
Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615227 07/01/20 07:11 PM
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The only problem I see with a clear blade on a conventional spinnerbait is the lack of weight. And that may not end up being a factor. Never know about those out-of-the-ordinary things until you actually put them to the test.

Last edited by Hair Jig; 07/01/20 07:12 PM.

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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615234 07/01/20 07:17 PM
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Mr. Harper: I never had the good fortune to spend any time with Dance or Charlie, but I did become good friends with the late Stan Sloan of Zorro Bait Co. He and Bill Huntley were two of the best spinnerbait fishermen that ever sat in a boat. Many years ago Hank Parker came and spent 1/2 of a day at my tackle store on a Berkley promotion. One heck of a nice guy and a good Christian man.


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615377 07/01/20 09:15 PM
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Another great article Don -- and Hair Jig, thanks for the additional insight. thumb


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615388 07/01/20 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Donald Harper
Excellent write up Hair Jig. I don't see a thing that we disagree on. I have built my personal baits for 50 years and would have loved to talk about them. I do not want to get another article taken down by the trolls and stalkers that are watching and will take every opportunity they can to say I am just trying to sell my spinner baits. Most of the pictures of the old packaged baits are those that I would purchase and rebuild with the parts that we have both mentioned. Then many trips were made to Bill Dance and Charles Spence's garage back in the 70's to pick up prototypes before Strike King came about. One of the best baits were the Hank Parker Prototypes that I would get from a Rep. in KY., and watched him win many tournaments on it before being represented by Mann's Bait Co.. There are some great old producer out there that will out fish any of the baits produced today. I can reproduce any of them as long as I have one to hold in my hands. Working off of a picture we never know what we are going to get; as it may just turn out to be a look alike.



you say light wire he says heavy


Dont try and take someones shine away..... Doing so just shows YOUR weak character.
Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Jeff From Iowa] #13615499 07/01/20 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff From Iowa

you say light wire he says heavy


All depends on what you are trying to do with the bait and your method of fishing. Mr Harper's baits are designed with the daylight hours in mind (as are most baits). If you read my post, at the very beginning I mentioned that mine are based on nighttime fishing experience. Different methods and different needs.


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615500 07/01/20 10:24 PM
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Yep there is some difference here. I use the light wire because I down size the blades. If you are using the Colo. Blade recommended for that size of spinner bait, you will feel the thump on a .40 wire. I like the .32 and down size to a #4 which gives plenty of vibration. My whole thing is to get away from the ordinary and give the fish things that they have not seen before. All my spinners get the twisted line tie to help with the light wire catching abilities. Every time the wire bends and you straighten it back to form, you risk the next strike being a huge Bass that may break the wire in heavy cover. You definitely lessen those odds with a .40 wire with a larger blade matched to the weight of the head.

I will stick with the 1/4 oz. light wire bait with the small Colo. Blade or Willow blade to give them the lower profile and use common senses when to lay it aside to tie on a new one for strength.


Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
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20 Hot Spot Mapping - GPS Contour Chips - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic


Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615530 07/01/20 10:40 PM
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I have found that a black Hildebrandt spinner bait works great at night. It moves some water and thumps.
They are expensive. I only have one. smile


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Hair Jig] #13615543 07/01/20 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Hair Jig
The only problem I see with a clear blade on a conventional spinnerbait is the lack of weight. And that may not end up being a factor. Never know about those out-of-the-ordinary things until you actually put them to the test.

I have replicated this bait and have caught many bass on it in Mexico where I have the captive audiance. It is much easier to find out what they want with 100 Bass per day other than 5 bites per day.

It is a deep cup plastic blade. It is light and hits the water on a cast ever so soft. Sometimes this is a big factor in the shallows where a quieter entry is very important. The blade is a Deep Cup Colo Blade and really moves the water. Pair that with the .032 wire and it just doesn't get much better to throw something that they have never seen before. Actually they do not see this blade. It has no flash and is know as the SILENT GHOST BLADE.

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Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
20 Hot Spot Mapping - GPS Contour Chips - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic


Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: BThomas] #13615584 07/01/20 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BThomas
I have found that a black Hildebrandt spinner bait works great at night. It moves some water and thumps.
They are expensive. I only have one. smile


What weight? And how many do you need?


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Re: Article 29 - Spinner Baits [Re: Donald Harper] #13615591 07/01/20 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Donald Harper
It is light and hits the water on a cast ever so soft. Sometimes this is a big factor in the shallows where a quieter entry is very important.


thumb thumb

That's exactly the reason I have always fished as light a bait as I could. Makes a ton of difference at times.


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