Friday, August 8, 2014

The Art of the Spinnerbait - Finding your sweet-spot

Like any technique spinnerbait fishing takes time to master. You need to amass the right gear and then put in your time getting comfortable fishing that gear in various situations. Its not all about the bait, so choose your weapons carefully.. here are some tips on what makes a good spinnerbait set-up


Rod power is very important when tying on a spinnerbait for the first time, underpowered rods will not be able to keep up with the drag caused by the blades on your spinnerbait, and a rod that is overpowered will keep you from feeling every little bump and can and will mess with your casting accuracy.

As a Dobyns rod user, I look for rods that are rated at 4 power with a fast tup when fishing spinnerbaits at 1/2oz weight (or under) or baits that have oversize thumper blades (also known as Colorado Blades). Blade size is not the only thing that will slow your bait down and force you to reevaluate your rod size.. head weight, body profile and the number of blades should also be considered when deciding what rod to choose when throwing a spinnerbait. Take the time to read your rods specs and be sure the bait your using falls within the rating, but also remember that if something doesn't feel right, make the change and up or downsize when required

The rod I consider to be the best all around spinnerbait rod in the Dobyns line-up (or world for that matter) is the DX744, it has the perfect amount of power and tip and allows me to bomb my spinnerbaits for distance and still bury the hook no matter how far the fish is from the boat. On the retrieve the DX744 gives you that slight bend in the rod keeping tension on the bait while also allowing you to feel every little bump along the way.. which is highly important

Light-weight  rods like the DX744 are also easier on your body, and as any angler who has spent 8hrs throwing a spinnerbait will tell you a light-weight rod really helps reduce the strain on your back, neck and shoulders.

Rate of Speed

Spinnerbaits like any bait that require a steady or constant retrieve really live and die by how fast your or slow you are bringing it back to the boat. Too fast and the fish may not be able to keep up, and too slow and fish may get too close a look at your bait and ignore it all together. I personally use a Daiwa Zillion reel with a 7.1 retrieve. Some anglers will find this reel a bit fast for spinnerbait fishing but I like its ability to keep up once the fish is hooked so I can get it back to the boat quickly while still keeping the situation under control.

For the most part I focus my spinnerbait fishing in two types of water.. (1) shallow, meaning 5 feet and under, and (2) medium depths of 12 feet of less. When fishing shallow I still use my 1/2oz spinnerbait but in order to keep it up in the water column and attempt to force a reaction strike I will often burn it back to the boat, meaning I retrieve it at a very high rate. This allows the fish to not only see the flash, shimmy and shake but forces them to react quickly, usually resulting in a strike.

When fishing at deeper depths, I will opt to slow my spinnerbait down allowing it to sit lower in the water volume and calling in fish that are suspended and/or hugging the bottom. In these situations you really need to watch your rate of retrieve or your spinnerbait may turn into a wake bait. To avoid this some anglers will opt for a heavier bait or a slower reel, I like to stick with my 1/2oz screaming eagle and my 7.1 Zillion and adapt my retrieve speed.. the more you fish the same combination of rod/reel and bait the more you will get to understand what it is capable of. Adjusting your hand speed cane make just as much of a difference as upping or downsizing the speed of your reel.

Shimmy, Shake and Flash

Like you, I'm a fisherman, which means I love new baits and often get caught up in the hype of trying every new thing that hits the market, but once I find my true love, I tend to settle in. This is the case with my spinnerbait of choice, the Screaming Eagle by War Eagle. These spinnerbaits only come in 1/2oz sizes but the profile looks like that of a 1/4oz sized bait. This makes it supper easy to multitask and use the same bait in both deep and shallow water applications. When it comes to colour, I usually like white, white and oh yeah.. White. For blades I like a pair of willow leaf blades in gold and or silver or a mix of both, believe me when I tell you this does make a difference and some days the gold won't get and sniff and at other times its the only thing I can get a strike on.

You can find baits with more or less blades, as well as in various colours and sizes. Remember the purpose of a spinnerbait is for it to look like a school of bait fish, so the most import characteristics are its ability to shimmy shake and flash. Find the right combination of blades of you and you will quickly notice a difference in the number of fish you catch.

Above we talked about retrieve speed, but as of yet we have not talked about retrieve style. There are many things you can do to a spinnerbait to impart action other then just a steady retrieve. Try fishing your spinnerbait over a weed bed, then through it, if your feel the weeds taking hold give the bait a rip, this action will often drive fish crazy. Don't be afraid of sunken trees, logs or timber, bang that spinnerbait around and let the fish know your there. Lastly pauses or pulses during the retrieve can also entice a strike, don't hesitate to let the bait flutter down slightly on a pause, you may be surprised how many fish will hammer it as it starts back up.. I like to call this a "confused reaction strike" caused when a fish follows your bait in and then it unexpectedly drops, the fish pauses, confused, and then by starting the retrieve back up it forces a reaction strike.

Get Comfortable:

The key to success with any bait, is getting comfortable. This not only comes with catching fish, but also with familiarity. You don't have to own a specific spinnerbait combo, but the more you use  a specific rod, reel and line when learning a new bait the more familiar you will become with the bait and its capabilities and shortfalls, so choose a rod/reel in your arsenal and stick with it.

This also goes for the spinnerbait itself. By choosing a brand or style/size you will quickly find out what it can do, and what you can do with it. Once you have that nailed down you can branch out looking for other baits to fill the gaps in your current arsenal.

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