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Fishing Spinnerbaits -
A dozen guide's tips for you to use

by Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

The spinnerbait has been around a long time. In its early hay days, the spinnerbait was the bass pro's "go to" bait. It was the answer to quick limits for the tournament fisherman. Jimmy Houston made history with the spinnerbait. He could make more casts in one minute than anyone using any other tactic. He would cast it out on short underhand casts and reel it back with the bait just under the surface. This was called "burning it". He would always keep the bait in sight on the retrieve. It made him a legend.

Today, there are a wide range of spinnerbaits available. You will have to pick out the manufacturer and style you like best. The most common blade combinations range from Willow Leaf, Colorado and Indiana.

Each blade combination has its time and place. Blade sizes vary along with skirt colors. Here is an assortment of important tips that work for me:

1) The Colorado and Indiana give off more vibration and are good for limited visibility or at night.

2) In the Willow Leaf blade, I like to fish the small to mid size in the spring when the fish are roaming in the shallow water. A chrome willow leaf and a gold Colorado are a good combination for this time of year.

3) If the water is stained to muddy, I like to throw a solid white blade with a white skirt and a chartreuse trailer. The white blades give off a lot of flash and gold or copper is good for this kind of water too. 

4) Slow rolling these baits will locate fish over and around logs in the shallow water. I like to run them over logs and let them flutter down then start up the retrieve again. Normally, the fish will hit as the bait is falling. I slow roll them around timber and stumps letting them bump into the brush. This stop and go retrieve will draw more strikes.

5) In the summer I throw a 1 ounce spinnerbait with big willow leaf blades over deep humps. I cast the bait out letting it sink to the bottom, then rip it up from the bottom and let it flutter back. I watch my line to detect any strikes on the fall. I slow roll for four or five cranks then rip the bait up again and let it fall to the bottom. This tactic will catch some really big fish, but you must watch your line carefully.

6) I like to pitch a spinnerbait with a single blade into brush and around trees. You will hang up a lot but you can catch a lot of fish that have never seen a spinnerbait presented this way. I shorten the arm on the spinnerbait so that it will have a tighter flutter for this type of presentation.

7) In the fall, I like a smaller 1/4 to 3/8 ounce spinner bait with small willow leaf blades in nickel or chrome. The bait fish at this time of year are small and the blades resemble them. I fish this small spinner over the grass just under the surface.

8) Skirt colors that work year round are white, chartreuse or a combination of both colors.

9) At night, black blades and black skirts are the ticket.

10) Keep your hooks sharp and stay in tune with your blades. A good spinnerbait will give off enough vibration so that it can be felt in the tip of the rod. Should you feel the blades quit turning, set the hook immediately. Bass have been known to inhale a spinnerbait and swim along at the same speed you are retrieving it.

11) A trailer hook can be attached to the main hook. If you are getting a lot of short strikes, this is an old tournament trick. However, this will cause the bait to be less weedless than before.

12) Soft plastic trailer baits are often added by a lot of people, but sometimes the trailer baits can cause short strikes. Trailers are optional and can be left up to the individual.

Till next time! Good fishing!!

Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

Author Information.

Jim has the experience to help you have a marvelous fishing trip having been a full time guide for eight years. Uncle Larry Bolton taught Jim how to fish as a young boy and got him interested in bass fishing. Jim has been fishing for bass primarily since the age of 13. He even hunted on the land before Lake Fork was built.

He is no stranger to fishing in tournaments either. Jim started fishing tournaments in 1973 on Lake Livingston -- winning a couple and placing in several. While in the Houston area, Jim was a member of the Humble bass club.

Jim & his wife, Sherry, have been married for 28 years. Sherry is from this area. Eight years ago a move from Houston brought them to the Lake Fork area permanently. As a couple, being associated with the area for the past 28 years, it was coming home.

Give Jim a call: Toll Free 1-888-918-5088 or 903 383-3320
Visit Jim's web site at
Email Jim at

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