The Benefits of Blades
An essential bait in anyone’s tackle or arsenal is some type of spinner bait with blades. The two most common of which are the Mepps in line spinner and my favourite, the traditional bass style spinner bait which has a v shaped wire with blades on one side and a skirted jig head with a hook on the other. Spinnerbaits are very versatile and can be fished in many different situations from sparse cover, over top of weed beds and even open clear hard bottom areas.
These baits trigger reaction bites from the fish, so I like to try varying the cadence of my retrieve from cast to cast to try to determine how the fish want it that particular day. First, I will try a steady retrieve, then I will try super-fast which we like to call burning. If you are not getting bites on either of these, try crawling the spinnerbait across the bottom just fast enough to keep the blades moving. Once you find out the rhythm they like best, you will be able to focus on that retrieve and maximize your ability to catch more fish.
Blade baits are very user-friendly – they are a simple cast and retrieve style bait which is why they are so great. You can also fan cast and cover a lot of water quickly to locate active fish. They work in both stained and clear water conditions. The blades provide two separate attractants to the fish, they are attracted to the visual; the spinning flash of the blades which fish can see from a distance in clear water. In stained water there is vibration, which is caused when the blade spins and moves water, this vibration can be felt in the fish’s lateral line which can call them in when when water clarity or conditions limit the fishes vision.
There are two main shapes of blades that are found on the traditional spinnerbait. Understanding which blade does what, will help you determine what style will work best for you in different situations. The first is a Colorado blade which is round in shape; these blades displace a lot of water and therefore throw the most vibration and are made to work great in stained water with medium to slower retrieve speed. The second is a willow leaf which is more slender and, like its name, is shaped like a willow leaf. These slender blades do not displace as much water which makes them faster and great for burning; they also throw a lot of flash which makes them great in clear water conditions.
Spinnerbaits come in many blade configurations from double Colorado to double willow leaf and everything in between. I usually choose a spinnerbait with one of each, they are more versatile and can be used in many different situations. Blades can come painted in any colour and coloured blades work better in stained water. Blades also come in gold or silver which mimic minnows flashing and are typically used in clear water conditions. Size matters. The size of the blades and weight of the head will determine the speed and depth you can fish it in. Bigger blades will slow the blade and displace more water and a heavier head will allow the bait to run deeper.
Spinnerbaits are a reaction bait, and I find colour is not as important as slower moving baits; however, it still can be a factor in triggering more strikes. My favourite is a simple white skirt, but I also use natural colours like gold, and will occasionally use black if the water is stained. These are single hook moving baits that the fish can sometimes miss or short strike. When this happens, it can be handy to add a trailer hook, these have a bigger eye that is covered with tubing or some sort of coating and fits over the main hook. Having a trailer hook will increase hook-up rate and eliminate short strikes. You can also put a soft plastic trailer bait on the hook to add action and scent. Just remember the size will affect the speed and depth of your bait – the bigger the trailer, the slower and higher in the water column.
Though these are known as primarily a bass bait they catch many different species of fish, so if you don’t have a spinnerbait or two in your box – get down to your local tackle shop and pick one up! I guarantee it will help you find and catch more fish!
Tight lines, see you on the water!!