How To Fish With Spinnerbait

Written By James Smith

Keen fisherman here to offer advice and help for reels, rods and gear.

The Spinnerbait is a classic fishing lure that has been a staple in the tackle boxes of anglers for the last 70 years. If you want to catch more bass, you need to know how to use this fantastic lure.

In this guide, we’ll examine what makes the spinner bait a great lure and how to use them effectively. We’ll discuss fishing techniques, when and where to use, as well as the type of rod and reel best suited for this timeless lure.

In addition, we’ll provide some key tips for how to choose the right style and color of spinnerbait depending on the fishing plan for the day.

What is a Spinnerbait?

A spinnerbait is a weighted, skirted jig head with an angled wire where one or more shiny metal blades are attached. The design of the spinnerbait combines aspects of swimbaits and metal spoons into one very effective lure.

image of spinnerbait lure in yellow

I use them as bait for bass fishing, but they are just as effective for pike fishing too.

First invented in the 1950s, spinnerbaits have been an immensely popular bass fishing lure for far longer than many other types.

The flash and vibration of the spinner blades create an enticing target for hungry bass, and their ease of use makes them a favorite for anglers of all levels.

How to Fish a Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits are one of the easiest lures to use because the lure creates the action itself. For most situations, simply cast out and make a steady retrieve, but make sure not to reel too fast.

If you want your spinnerbait to go a little deeper, all you need to do is wait a few seconds after the lure hits the water to allow it to sink, then start your retrieve.

Another way for spinnerbait fishing is to make a fast retrieve, which is known as burning. This will make the spinnerbait swim just below the surface and make a small wake from the blades.

This is a great technique for when you see bass and pike feeding on the surface, and it can lead to some exciting strikes.

Last, for a slower technique best reserved for when fish are staying near the bottom, you can “crawl” the lure along the bottom. Think of this as the opposite of burning because you’ll want to reel much slower so the spinnerbait will crawl along the bottom.

When To Use A Spinnerbait

These lures are truly versatile and are great for any water condition or time of year. For your best chances of success, use during the spring and fall. At these times of the year, bass target schools of baitfish in shallow water, which is precisely what a spinnerbait resembles.

Spinnerbaits are equally useful in clear and murky water, but you’ll have to adjust the style of blades and color, which we’ll explain in more detail later.

Where To Use A Spinnerbait

The best places to use a spinnerbait are in shallow areas or open water when fish are actively feeding on the surface. Most of the time you’ll want to target shoreline structures such as downed trees, rocky shorelines, docks, and piers with a spinnerbait for the best results.

Another extremely productive area to use a spinnerbait are grassy areas. Bass and pike will hide in submerged tall grass and ambush prey that swims just outside the vegetation, which is what you can imitate with a spinnerbait.

What Equipment to Use for a Spinnerbait

To get the most out of using a spinnerbait, it’s important to have the right rod, reel, and line combination. Start with a shorter casting rod, anywhere between 6 and 7 feet long, that’s a medium or medium-heavy power and moderate to fast action.

This allows you to make casts in close quarters and have a good balance of leverage and sensitivity.

For your reel, stick with a middle-of-the-road 6:1 ratio baitcasting reel, so you can control your retrieve and ensure you’re not reeling in the lure too quickly. You’ll also want to use a less-visible line such as 15-to-20-pound fluorocarbon, especially in clear water and on sunny days.

How to Pick the Right Spinnerbait Style and Color

Blade Style

As much as time of year and location matter, perhaps the most essential aspect of being successful with a spinnerbait is picking the right type of spinnerbait blade style for the situation.

The two styles of spinner bait blades are willow blades, which are a slim-pointed shape resembling a willow leaf, and Colorado blades, which are a rounded teardrop shaped blade. A Spinner Bait can have any combination of one single blade, two of the same style blades, or a combination of both.

Willow blades put off less vibration and rely mostly on flash, so they are best suited for clear water and sunny days when bass rely on what they can see. A Colorado blade on the other hand is ideal for stained or murky water because they create more noise and vibration, so the bass can locate them with limited visibility.


Spinnerbaits are available in many colors and color combinations, but there are a small handful of colors that work well.

For just about any season, situation, and water clarity, both white and chartreuse work great and are widely accepted as the best spinnerbait colors. If you have to pick one more color, black is also a good option, especially for muddy water.

red spinnerbait lure

Another consideration here is the color of the metal blades. Spinnerbait blades typically come in gold or silver, or a combination of both on lures with two blades. For cloudy days and stained or muddy water, gold is the best option because it’s more visible in low light.

Silver blades are better on sunny days and clear water because they make the most of bright conditions. Of course, having a combination of the two is a good way to cover both bases.

To Wrap Up

The spinnerbait is the longest-standing favorite among bass and pike anglers simply because of its uncanny ability to catch boatloads of fish with ease.

If you follow these guidelines for how to fish a spinnerbait and select the right blade style and color for your situation, you can almost guarantee a successful day of bass fishing!

You might also like our guide to chatterbait fishing.

Leave a Comment