The Beginners Guide To Spinnerbaits

There are so many lures, and everyone has their favorites that they claim are better than the rest. There are some lures that no one can argue with, and one of those is spinnerbaits. This is one of the most versatile baits on the market, and if you know what you are doing, there is no limit to the amount of success you’ll have with this lure.

The spinner gets its name from the metal blades that are attached to it, giving it a certain degree of flash and vibration as it moves through the water. The lure is meant to mimic the movement of a baitfish while flashing light and creating a disturbance in the water. The most common spinners you’ll find are the in-line and the safety pin.

If we break down a spinnerbait, it has a few significant components. The head, blades, wires, skirt, and hook. Each of these will vary (other than the hook) depending on the style of spinnerbait you choose to use. They also come in a variety of colors like most lures, and that comes down to personal preference and experience.

My motto is always this; when the fish are active and biting you want to choose a bright colored lure like orange and green if the fish are inactive, you want to go with a more neutral color like black and white.

Let’s take a more in-depth look into the design of spinnerbaits.

Understanding The Design

It might seem unnecessary to understand something so in-depth, but it helps to know how the lure moves through the water and what attracts fish to it. Out of all the lures, a spinnerbait is one of the more complicated “fish-like” lures of them all.


First, we’ll look at the blades on the spinner. These are the reflective pieces, usually on the end of the wires at the top of the lure. 99% of the time, the spinner will have two of these, and they come in a few different designs. Indiana, Colorado, and Willowleaf are the three different blade designs.

Each of these blades has its purpose and use depending on water conditions and what you are fishing for. If you are fishing murky conditions with low visibility Colorado is the best choice because of its teardrop design it creates a high vibration in the water which allows fish to strike even when they cannot see the lure.

The Willowleaf looks more like a leaf, and this is great for moving the lure smoothly through the water. These blades mimic how a school of fish would look if they were quickly making their way past an ornery bass.

Both of these make a lot of noise in the water, and that is the primary reason spinners so successful. Even if you are slowly trolling these, they still make a lot of noise, so if you jig them around a little bit, with each jig, the blades will hit off each other causing a major disturbance in the water.


Now let’s talk about the wires. This is a less exciting part of the spinnerbait but equally as important. This the R shaped wire that you’ll tie your line to and they are made of stainless steel, piano wire, and many other metals. The thinner the wire you have, the more vibration you’ll create based off the friction of the lure moving through the water. Why does this matter?

The thinner the wire; the better chance you have. The problem with thin wire is durability though. Spinners are not the most durable lure to fish, and they easily get hung up and beat up if you are fishing around stumps and rocks. Titanium is the best wire for spinnerbaits because it is lightweight and durable. If you can find a spinner that holds up well and is thin, go with it. In the end, using a thicker wire is better than breaking a bunch of spinners, so choose wisely.


Choosing a head on your spinner bait is less important than if you were fishing a jig, for example. I like to keep it simple here and go for something that will allow me to move through vegetation the easiest. Go with a pointed head that is large enough to hold up against banging around and don’t overthink it beyond that.


Your skirt comes in rubber, silicone, and lumaflex. They have a vast array of different colors, but if you don’t know me by now, I like to keep things basic and not overthink these small details. When fish are biting, you go with bright colors, and when fish are inactive, you go with natural colors. Let your blades do the talking about don’t worry too much about the color and size of your skirt.

I would spend more time thinking about the durability of the skirt instead of the color and how the fish will react to it. As long as it covers your hook and helps your lure appear more like a fish, you’re good to go.

How To Fish With Spinnerbaits

If you understand how bass operate, you’ll have a better chance of having success with a spinnerbait. I like to call bass the bullies of the water. They prey on the baitfish that are weak or injured to make it easier for them to get their meal. That said, you want your spinner to appear like a wounded baitfish, the closer you can mimic that the better chance you’ll have.

To make your spinnerbait appear like a wounded fish, you need to make it act erratically and loud as possible. This goes against a lot of anglers mentalities when they believe that smooth and steady is the way to go with surface water fishing. When it comes to spinners, you want to pop, drop, slow, and speed them up as much as possible. Having a Colorado blade adds noise to the lure as well, which does an even better job of annoying the bass.

Another factor to keep in mind when using spinnerbaits is the distance of your cast. You want to make sure you give your lure enough time to work and cause enough disturbance underwater. Fifty yards is a good benchmark to shoot for because this gives you the distance you need to make the lure appear erratic enough to draw attention.

If you are fishing from a boat along the shore or you’re in a situation that doesn’t merit a long distance cast, let the lure drop a little and use your wrist in a back and forth motion to create that ideal presentation.

The last thing that requires a different approach when fishing with spinners is setting the hook. The initial thought for most beginners is to hook the fish the second you feel a slight nibble. That strategy will never work with spinnerbaits; you need to give the bass a chance to strike to bait. Most of the time, that strike will be enough to set the hook, and you won’t have to yank the rod.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for more information on bass fishing, be sure to check out my beginners guide to bass fishing for a complete breakdown of reels, lures, bait, and strategy for catching bass. If you plan on using a spinnerbait, understand that you might not have much success right off the bat. Like every lure, learning a new one takes time, and spinners are not the simplest lure on the market.

Spinnerbaits are the favorite among professional bass anglers and for a good reason. If you can learn the methodology and finesse behind the lure, you will have great success fishing anywhere at any time.

One comment

  1. Can you find red wire?

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