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Blades Make the Spinnerbait

The major concept to understand, the key to what makes a spinnerbait work is that blades make the spinnerbait. A spinnerbait without any blades is rather unappealing to bass. If you remove the blades from a spinnerbait wire, and fish with just the spinnerbait head and skirt but no blades, you're not going to catch very much. If you just pulled the painted head/skirt past a bass without any blades on the arm, the bass may watch it go by, but may not take much action. Now put a blade or two on the arm above the skirt. The blades add the strike motivation in that the blades may appear as smaller fish being pursued by a bigger fish (the bulkier skirt).

Thanks to the blades, the skirt now appears as a bigger fish chasing smaller ones. Bass usually won't tolerate other fish feeding in front of them, especially not subordinate size fish brazenly feeding... and the bass may now take action to strike the out-of-pecking-order skirt chasing the smaller blades. That's one theory often recited about a spinnerbait, that with the blades, it imitates a small school of baitfish.

But whether that's true or not, the point is the blades add all the allure. The blades produce the strong vibration which runs through the wire arm, the head, the hook and down to the many skirt strands which all vibrate strongly. Due to the blades, the whole lure vibrates, which excites fish. Without blades, the lure wouldn't vibrate or flash.

Spinnerbait Blade Flash, Vibration, Spin and Motion

If you read the many articles on spinnerbaits, you are certainly likely to hear how a Willow flashes most but vibrates least, how a Colorado vibrates most but flashes least, and the Indiana flashes and vibrates in between those two extremes. That's all true to a degree. Bottom line is that all blades all flash and all vibrate enough to attract fish with both these properties. We wish to make neat and repeatable rules for when one blade type will work better than others, but truth is most blades will work most days, and the rare times when one blade does work better than others is often unpredictable. It often comes down to trial and error, successfully catching a few fish with a certain blade configuration, and gaining confidence in it. As long as a particular blade shape/color/size keeps catching fish, it is the right choice for that day.

In addition to flash and vibration, all blades spin and all blades are in motion. You don't hear a lot about spin and motion, but it is significant that a spinning blade has more and faster movement than any other bass lure. No crankbait wobbles, no soft plastic grub tail wiggles more or as fast as a blade spins. Even when slow rolling it, a blade is usually a blur it moves so fast. It almost creates a three dimensional shape hologram at times. Other times, as the blade revolves 360 degrees, it can look like several baitfish (one on top, one on bottom, to the right and to the left) at once - a school unto itself. Whatever it may look like to a fish, this extreme source of movement - a spinning blade in blurring motion - is highly excitable to a fish's eye. Whereas flash and vibration can attract fish from further away, spin and motion are close-in, visual attractions.

Those are two things: 1) that blades make the spinnerbait, and 2) spinnerbait blade, flash, vibration, spin and motion to understand first and foremost about a spinnerbait.

The Big Three Spinnerbait Blade Shapes
(Willow, Colorado and Indiana Blades)

Early Origins of Spinnerbait Blades

There's little documentation on the early origins of our basic blade shapes, but some accounts say that in the late 1800's, John Hildebrandt first hammered out the three basic blade shapes we still use today. Legend says he started with a silver dime, working it into the shapes he wanted. He studied how the blades worked in the water until he felt he had perfected all three blade shapes we still use more than one hundred years later:

  • Colorado. Hildebrandt designed the Colorado with an almost round shape in order to spin at the very slowest possible speed and/or in the calmest, stillest water.
  • Willow. The Willow was designed to be just the opposite. The Willow would not spin as efficiently or slowly as the Colorado. The slender, knife-like Willow shape was designed to perform best at fast speeds and/or in fast current situations due to the Willow's more streamlined shape.
  • Indiana. The Indiana shape (Hildebrandt lived in Indiana) was designed for moderate speed retrieves and moderate water conditions. The raindrop-shaped Indiana bridged the gap between the rotund, slow Colorado and the slim, fast Willow.

Today, over 100 years later, those three blade shapes are mainly what we use on bass spinnerbaits. Yes, there are a handful of other spinnerbait blade shapes too, but the Willow, Colorado and Indiana are by far the most popular.

Let's start off looking at those three blade shapes first - the Willow, Colorado and Indiana - since they are primarily what you find on bass spinnerbaits.

Willow Spinnerbait Blades

By far the most popular blade style today. Many anglers use nothing but Willow blades. The venerable Willow blade is often talked about as if all Willows are all the same with identical fishing properties. The truth is that there are many different versions and variants of Willow blades on the market, more than most people realize, and no two Willows fish quite the same. At first glance, they may all look the same, but each has differences in length, width, thickness, oval shape, degree of cup, raw base material, stamping and plating that make otherwise similar-looking willow blades behave differently from each other in the water.

The Willow blades shown here turn more tightly, a little faster and in a smaller degree of arc than many other willow blades on the market. They create less torque or resistance when pulled through the water, and that lets them run a little deeper and truer than many other Willow blades.

These are superior performing willow blades. If I had to choose just one Willow out of all the many versions and variants that I've ever tried, this is the one.

Here are some (not all) tips for how to use these Willow blades:

  • Size #3-1/2 are best used as front runner blades for small size spinnerbaits (say 1/4 oz). Also as front runners on fast-moving spinnerbaits from 3/8 and up. When moved at slow to normal speeds, a #3-1/2 front-runner tends to stall, not spin and lock up under the wire arm. But if you put the 3-1/2 on a fast-moving spinnerbait, it will spin properly and add a shot of flash and color (if it's a painted blade) to complement the back blade.
  • Size #4, #4-1/2 and #5 are the sizes you see on over 90% of all bass spinnerbaits that have willow blades.
  • Size #4 tends to be used more often on 1/4, 3/8 and some 1/2 ounce spinnerbaits.
  • Sizes #4-1/2 and #5 tend to be used most often on 1/2 ounce and up.
  • On double Willow spinnerbaits, occasionally (and more often with a pair of #4s), both blades may be the same size. But 90% of the time with double willows, the front blade tends to be a half or full size smaller than the back blade.
  • Size #4 Willow blade can also be productive as a front blade ahead of another blade type (Indiana, Colorado, Oklahoma, etc.). I doubt you'll find many spinnerbaits configured that way in a store or catalog, but you can make them yourself with these blades. See if it doesn't work for you.
  • Size #5-1/2 and #6. These larger size willows are not commonly seen on spinnerbaits, but it's well worth your while to switch to some #5-1/2 and #6 willow blades on your more stable-running spinnerbaits. These big blades tend to produce fewer but larger bass. They are trophy bass sized willow blades. So if you want to increase your odds of landing bigger-than-average bass, it pays to use these bigger-than-average size #5-1/2 and #6 willow blades.

Here is a comparison photo and size chart for these Willow blades:

Style Size Length Width
Willow #3-1/2 1.562" .511"
Willow #4 1.872" .640"
Willow #4-1/2 2.062" .740"
Willow #5 2.260" .836"
Willow #5-1/2 2.562" .918"
Willow #6 2.875" 1.00"

Double Willow blade spinnerbaits are more popular than all other blade pairs.

Size 3-1/2 and #4 blades on 1/4 oz spinnerbait

A small front Colorado with a big back Willow is the second most popular blade pair.

The overwhelming majority of spinnerbaits available today are limited to the two Willow-based configurations shown above: 1) double Willow blades, or 2) a small Colorado with a full-size Willow. I estimate those two combos are over 75% of all bass spinnerbaits on the planet today.

Slow Willow Spinnerbait Blades

There are numerous Willow blades on the market. They all look the same but like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Slight differences in shape, width, length, material and cup or curvature make different Willows behave differently. It takes a knowing eye to see the subtle behavior differences when Willows move through the water, but it is there. The Slow Willow is one that's so different it deserves special mention. Slow Willow blades are the same length, width and exact oval shape as standard willow blades. All the dimensions of standard Willow and Slow Willow blades are identical - except the Slow Willow has much less concave/convex curvature or cup than the standard Willow. The Slow Willow has a shallow cup and looks flatter compared to the standard Willow.

Slow Willow (left) and standard Willow (right) are the same size, except for cup depth.

This difference, the shallower degree of cup, makes the Slow Willow start spinning at slower speeds than a standard Willow. When you start to retrieve a standard Willow at a slow speed, you may have to jerk the bait and reel it faster at first in order to get the blade spinning. On the other hand, with the Slow Willow blade, there's not as much of a start-up problem at the beginning of the retrieve. You get smoother, easier, better starts with the Slow Willows during those first few important seconds of the retrieve when aggressive, active fish will rush over eager to strike if the spinnerbait looks appealing.

Likewise at the end of a retrieve, as a slow-rolled spinnerbait gets closer to the boat, a standard Willow blade can stop turning during the last leg of the retrieve. If you are tuned in to the blade's vibration up the line, it's pretty apparent when you feel it just go dead and stop rotating as it nears the boat. Unfortunately that's a critical strike point since following fish often react right when a slow-rolled spinnerbait starts rising vertically toward the boat - but that's just when a standard Willow tends to stop turning too. The Slow Willow will continue to spin longer at the end of the retrieve and it starts turning earlier at the start of a retrieve. A few more seconds better performance may not seem like a lot, but those are two high percentage strike moments - the very beginning, and with slow-rolling the very end of a retrieve when the blades are hesitant and having trouble turning.

So at the beginning and end of a retrieve, the Slow Willow spins a little better. During the middle of a retrieve, it can be fished a little slower than a standard Willow.

The Slow Willow blade also spins at a greater degree of cant or skew from the wire arm axis. In other words, whereas the standard Willow spins quite tightly, the Slow Willow spins in a wider arc. This makes a Slow Willow appear a little bigger, more visible and flashier than a standard Willow. Also more torque and water drag result, which lets you fish the Slow Willow slower than a standard Willow.

So that's why I say no two Willow blades work the same. We can see here where only one property - the degree of cup - is different, it causes a dramatic difference in how the Slow Willow fishes compared to the standard Willow.

Here are a few (not all) tips for using Slow Willow blades:

  • First and foremost, think slow-rolling and fishing slowly with the Slow Willow.
  • Enhanced lift at high speed. On the other hand, since the Slow Willow has more torque, therefore more lift and rise than a standard Willow, it can be used to help keep a speedily retrieved spinnerbait near the surface. That sounds like a contradiction, but the torque that lets you use the Slow Willow more slowly is the same torque that lifts it higher on a fast retrieve.
  • Size #4, #4-1/2 and #5 are the sizes you see on over 90% of all bass spinnerbaits that have willow blades. Actually, #4 and #5 are by far most common.
  • Size #4 tends to be used more often on 1/4, 3/8 and some 1/2 ounce spinnerbaits.
  • Sizes #4-1/2 and #5 tend to be used most often on 1/2 to 1 ounce spinnerbaits.
  • On double willow spinnerbaits, occasionally (and more often with a pair of #4s), both blades may be the same size. But 90% of the time with double willows, the front blade tends to be a half or full size smaller than the back blade.
  • A small, light Colorado blade such as a #2 Colorado makes a great front runner ahead of a Slow Willow.

Here is a comparison photo and size chart for Slow Willow blades compared to standard Willow blades"

Style Size Length Width
Slow Willow #4 1.872" .640"
Slow Willow #4-1/2 2.062" .740"
Slow Willow #5 2.260" .836"

Slow Willows are the same size and shape as standard Willows, except for the cup.

This spinnerbait has a Slow Willow blade. You can really slow this spinnerbait down to a crawl for deep slow-rolling. At the very start of a cast, this blade starts to turn more easily. During the middle or main part of the retrieve, it keeps turning at slower retrieve speeds than most other Willow blades. At the end of the retrieve, most other slow-rolled Willows stall and conk out. When a slow-rolled spinnerbait gets directly under the boat, the angle of line pull changes, and the spinnerbait starts to face up and rise up. That angle of change is a high percentage strike point that occurs the instant when the bait is almost directly under the boat and starts to come up. Many bass are content for some reason to just follow along behind slow-rolled spinnerbaits without making any effort to strike them. They'll often follow slow-rolled spinnerbaits far from the cover where the bass was holding, just trailing behind the spinnerbait - until the bait changes direction directly under the boat - and BAM! Unfortunately, many Willow blades give up and just stop turning close to the boat. But the blade used on the spinnerbait you see here will tend to still rotate at the key strike point right under the boat.

Colorado Spinnerbait Blades

Nowadays, Colorado blades are rarely used as much as Willows. That's all the more reason you should use them - because other angler's won't be. Fact is, Colorado blades can work magnificently anytime, anywhere, under any and all conditions, either single or double Colorado blade configurations excel.

Yet most anglers will not use Colorado blades except at night, in dark-colored or cold water when the thumping vibration and slower speed retrieve required with Colorado blades are known advantages.

Most anglers don't realize that the heavy thump and vibration of the Colorado blade also helps fish hone in on Colorado blades around dense grass beds where visibility is limited in thick vegetation.

Bottom line, if you want to be all you can be with spinnerbaits, you've got to try tossing the Colorados under a wide variety of conditions. At times, and often for no explainable reason, bass will belt Colorados better than any other blade styles.

A few (not all) tips for trying different sizes of Colorado blades are:

  • Size #2. Tends to make a small flash spot in front of any other style of bigger back blade.
  • Size #3. For slow-rolling a 1/2 to 1 oz spinnerbait, I tend to use this blade as the front runner ahead of a #4-1/2 or #5 Willow or Slow Willow
  • Size #4. Tends to be the size used more often on 1/4 and 3/8 ounce spinnerbaits.
  • Sizes #5. Tends to be the size used most often on 1/2 ounce and up.
  • For fishing around thick grass, try double #4 Colorados on a 1/2 oz spinnerbait, or a #3 front and #4 back on a 3/8 oz bait. Fish will hear the vibrations and barrel out of the grass to grab it.

Here is a comparison photo and size chart for the Colorado blades shown here:

Style Size Length Width
Colorado #2 .746" .579"
Colorado #3 .923 .708
Colorado #4 1.244" .932"
Colorado #5 1.536 1.160

Colorado Blades. Photos not actual size. Photo not same scale as each other photos.

A small Colorado may be used as a front runner blade in front of many other blade styles. Here with an Indiana.

Small Colorado shown here in front of an Oklahoma.

Indiana Spinnerbait Blades

Along with Colorado and Willow blades, Indiana blades are well over 100 years old. Nowadays, they are hardly used as much as Willows or even Colorados. That's all the more reason for you to use them. Indiana blades can work well anytime, anywhere under any and all conditions.

Indiana blades are similar to the proverbial glass that is half full, or would you say, half empty? Indianas do not flash as much as Willows and do not vibrate as much as Colorados. That's the half-empty attitude. On the other hand, Indianas flash more than Colorados and vibrate more than Willows. That's the half-full optimism.

If you need a little incentive or more confidence to make you try them, keep in mind that a double Indiana blade spinnerbait won back-to-back-to-back Bassmaster Classic world championship tournaments in 1974, 1975 and 1976. That's quite a testimonial for Indiana blades. So why don't you see them on the market anymore? Well, you see them here, don't you? So why not pick up a few today.

A few (not all) tips for trying different sizes of Indiana blades are:

  • Size #2 and #3. These small sizes are deeply-cupped so they tend to spin tight and fast as front blades on small spinnerbaits. I often like them in front of a back Willow to make a small, fast spinnerbait.
  • Also on small spinnerbaits, I like a #5 Indiana in back of a #3 Colorado blade.
  • Try twin Indiana blades: 1) a pair of #5 on small to medium size spinnerbaits, or a pair of #6 (or a #5 in front of a #6) on larger spinnerbaits

Additionally, they can be used in combination with other blade styles, either ahead of or behind Colorado, Oklahoma and other blade types. Two of my favorite configurations involve an Indiana with a Willow.

  • Willow/Indiana. A #4 Willow placed on a 1/2 oz spinnerbait well in front of a #6 Indiana presents a very smooth, fluid look. The blades achieve a harmonious blended appearance. There's a lot of see-through the blades effect on both blades. Overall, it's a non-intrusive, non-alarming look that excels in clear or stained water with a moderate to fast speed retrieve.
  • Indiana/Willow. A #5 Indiana on a 1/2 to 1 oz spinnerbait placed well ahead of a #5 Willow lets the front Indiana blade spin in a wide arc and steady rotation. Yet the back Willow blade gets lost in the Indiana's wake. The Willow doesn't get a good water flow. It lollygags and bumbles along in a more lifelike manner than displayed during the normal steady rotation of Willow blade. The effect looks best at slow speeds, but moderate to fast retrieves will give the same but lesser effect.

Here's a photo of the Willow and Indiana sizes (described above) that go great together. Don't neglect to give them a try!

Style Size Length Width
Indiana #2 .836" .500"
Indiana #3 1.080" .606"
Indiana #5 1.328" .728"
Indiana #6 1.590" .888"

A double Indiana blade spinnerbait won the Bassmaster Classic world championship tournament in 1974.

A double Indiana blade spinnerbait won the Bassmaster Classic world championship tournament in 1975.

A double Indiana blade spinnerbait won the Bassmaster Classic world championship tournament in 1976.

Willow/Indiana blades are seldom seen together. Nevertheless they present a fluid and blended appearance that catches fish so good that it has become the favorite blade configuration of many anglers who have tried it.

Willow Indiana blades present a very fluid, smooth blade pairing that kind of blur into each other. It's ideal for clear water.

Indiana/Willow Blades.
This particular size pairing/spacing of blades imitates mixed size shad or other baitfish swimming together in a small pod. This blade pairing appears as discrete individual fish, one smaller than the other. The head and skirt appears as a third, larger baitfish. It will work any time, but is quite successful in autumn when small baitfish species spawned in spring and summer start to muster in huge schools of mixed sizes in order to begin migrating en masse off the nursery grounds where they were born, toward their first season wintering grounds.

Other Proven Spinnerbait Blade Shapes
(Oklahoma, Deep Cup, Thumper, Fluted, Chopper and Ripple Blades)

In addition to the big three (Willow, Colorado and Indiana), there are a handful of other proven spinnerbait blade shapes. Most popular among these would be the Oklahoma blade.

Oklahoma Spinnerbait Blades

Oklahoma blades run a little heavier, a little thicker than your other standard bass blades. They have a tight, rapid vibration too. They're popularly used in Northwest Pacific and Alaskan ocean salmon fishing, and also on pike and musky spinners. They're big blades with a lot of vibration, thump and flash. Bass love them!

These Oklahoma blades have a creased centerline. This makes two sides to the blade. Without the creased centerline, a comparable blade would really only have one smooth side and one flash. But these Oklahoma blades emit separate flashes off both sides and a third flash emitted by the centerline crease itself.

Oklahoma blades are a great shape match for young-of-year shad species, sunfish and crappie fry. They also present a rapid, tight spinning motion that matches the tight vibrating swimming movement of these deep-bodied bait species.

My favorite times to "match the hatch" with Oklahomas are late spring through late summer. Starting in late spring, dense sheets of newly-hatched sunfish, crappie and other panfish fry are a phenomena that helps lure bass away from the spawning shallows and out towards the post-spawn outer weed beds. During that time of year, look for butterbean-sized sunfish and crappie fry that seem to infest the offshore grass beds. You'll know the bass are keying on them when you see sheets of sunfish and crappie fry sprinkling out of the surface of the offshore grass beds by the hundreds and thousands in unison. A passing shadow or lunging bass may spook them. This happens especially on overcast days, low falling barometers, and in the late afternoon and early evening hours when the dense sheets of fry are more inclined to rise toward the surface. Other times, the fry masses may be laying low to the bottom, and slow-rolling an Oklahoma blade spinnerbait pays off handsomely. But whether on the surface, suspended or deep, the shape and flutter of an Oklahoma blade mimics sunfish and crappie fry.

By late summer into fall, mixed sizes of shad become a reason to use Oklahoma blades too. There can often be several mixed sizes of shad layered together in schools. Under ideal conditions, some adult shad can spawn every month during summer, and that leads to mixed size schools of small shad. When you see these mixed size schools or pods of small shad, they are often layered. The smallest shad will be a few inches above the mid-sized shad, and the largest shad will be on the lowest level of the school - just like a spinnerbait! So 2 different, graduated sizes of Oklahoma blades on a spinnerbait can mimic these mixed size schools of shad.

Here are a few more (not all) tips for Oklahoma Blades:

  • Double Oklahoma Blades. Any time of year, a #3 Oklahoma spaced well ahead of another #3 or #4 Oklahoma gives a spinnerbait the appearance of a pod of small deep-bodied baitfish. The same baitfish pod effect is achieved with a #4 spaced well ahead of a #4-1/2 Oklahoma on larger 3/4 to 1 oz size spinnerbaits.
  • Single Oklahoma Blades. A single #4 or #4-1/2 Okalahoma (without any front runner blade) is awesome used on the drop. Just let it helicopter down next to some form of cover, a ledge or bluff wall, and pop the rod tip occasionally. Bass will belt it on the fall or as it lays on the bottom, bass will scoop it up.
  • A #2 Oklahoma can be quite useful as a front runner ahead of most any other blade type.  You'll typically see a small Colorado used this way, but the #2 Oklahoma makes a great alternative instead of the customary small Colorado front runner.
  • Oklahoma/ Royal Blade Combos. Oklahoma and Royal blades go great together. I tend to like a wider spacing if a smaller Oklahoma is used in front of a relatively bigger Royal. I tend to like a moderate spacing when a smaller Royal is used in front of an Oklahoma. Either way, Royal and Oklahoma blades go great together.

A #2 Oklahoma can be quite useful as a front runner ahead of most any other blade type.  You'll typically see a small Colorado used this way, but the #2 Oklahoma makes a great alternative instead of the customary small Colorado front runner.

Double Oklahoma Blades.
These blades beat hard, fast and tight. I often like to use the double Oklahoma pair of blades when fish are busting schools of shad. The double Oklahoma blades "match the hatch" when mixed sizes of shad are present. Shad may spawn several times during the summer months. That means mixed and multiple sizes of small shad start to tack up in the same areas in autumn months. Multiple sizes of shad in autumn will swim together in "layered schools" with the layers of smaller shad staying higher up. Middle size shad in the middle layers, and bigger shad comprise the bottom layers of these stacked shad assemblages. I often feel a spinnerbait like this one imitates three sizes of shad: 1) small blade, 2) big blade, and 3) head/skirt swimming together in a pod.

Oklahoma blades, when widely-spaced to help create the illusion of individual baitfish in a small pod. To me, the frantic, fast vibration of an Oklahoma blade appears more shad-like than any other blade type. The deep-bodied Oklahoma shape presents a rapid, tight motion that matches the tight, fast, vibrating swimming appearance of frightened shad.

It's not widely-known that a single big Oklahoma blade makes a great deep slow-rolling spinnerbait. The big heavy Oklahoma has a tendency to hug the bottom better than other blade styles. Whatever level you let it sink to, including the bottom, the Oklahoma will track closely to the target depth better than many other blade styles.

#6 Oklahoma Blade.
The huge #6 Oklahoma blade has a larger presence in real life than the photo depicts. This heavy monster blade will vibrate not only your rod tip but your entire arm right up to your shoulder will feel like you're pounding a jackhammer into a concrete slab. There's hardly any other spinnerbait set-up or barely a big-billed crankbait that vibrates as much. Fish love it.

Deep Cup Colorado Spinnerbait Blades

These Deep Cups have similar features to standard Colorado blades except the cupped lip creates less torque and decreases water resistance when reeling them in, so they won't physically exhaust you as quickly, especially with bigger-bladed, heavier spinnerbaits. The Deep Cup Colorado blades have slightly less (but still a ton of) vibration and can be reeled faster and easier than standard Colorados. Importantly, the Deep Cups are still Colorado blades, therefore the Deep Cups give you more vibration than most any other blade shapes.

Deep Cups are rarely used and relatively obscure. About the only usage you'll see with some regularity is a small size #2 or #3 Deep Cup Colorado as a front runner blade. The merits of this are that a small Deep Cup does not influence or interfere with what the back blade is doing as much as a standard Colorado interferes with and influences the action of the back blade. So a back blade acts more like an independent single blade with a small Deep Cup than with any other front-runner.

Double Deep Cup Colorado Blades. Whenever a fish's visibility may be limited, I like this blade pair. What conditions come to mind immediately are dingy water, dark skies, low light or night fishing. Those are good moments when limited visibility offers opportunities to try double Deep Cup Colorados.

Visibility is also limited in thick grass, simply due to the dense weed growth that can block a fish's ability to see very far even in clear water under bright skies. Double Deep Cup Colorado blades excel anywhere that heavy grass or other thick cover hampers the ability for a bass to see a bait, they can still feel, find and explode on this throbbing spinnerbait due to the powerful vibrations the blades emit.

You can't run this bait straight through the grass or it will bog down badly in a ball of weeds. It's best to have a few inches of open water above the grass. A heavy downpour is something that may raise the water level a few inches above the top of the grass beds for a few days. That's the perfect opportunity to run this spinnerbait in the skinny inches of open water over the grass where you really were not able to fish before the sudden downpour. A bounty of fresh bass, often big ones, will barrel up and out of the thick grass to grab the spinnerbait scurrying in the open inches of water overhead.

Seasonally, one great period to use these spinnerbaits begins about mid to late August. This is when grass beds have reached their maximum summer size, and then begin to atrophy and shrink in size. Green canopies that had been luxuriously sprawled across the surface all summer will start to collapse and "fall" under the surface, leaving sunken pools of water caving in across the grass beds. Even a few inches is enough to run one of these spinnerbaits across the sunken grass pools. Bass will tend to strike when the spinnerbait approaches the "banks" or edge walls of these sunken pools of water in the grass. Just before the spinnerbait hits the impenetrable green edge of the pool where it will be smothered in grass, that's a high percentage strike instance.

In spots where the grass doesn't sink to form pond-like pools or "salad bowls" in the grass, the thinner sections of greenery will still recede and withdraw in irregular ways, leaving more isolated clumps or "bastions" of grass that emerge and appear more prominent as the thinner grass around them withers away. With semi-open water emerging around them, these residual clumps become safe bait havens and therefore magnets to bass. Bass that were spread out in the grass during summer will cluster on the emerging clumps in early autumn. That's the time to work one of these spinnerbaits right around these newly-emerging grass clumps that can become red hot spots for bass and anglers. Double Deep Cup Colorado blade spinnerbaits will draw a lot of strikes when pulled closely past these grass clumps.

Around these vestigial clumps, over the shallow pools and salad bowls, in the thin open bands and skinny rims of water, concentrate to keep your spinnerbait running free of grass. No matter how good you are, you'll spend a lot of time pulling grass off your blades. But do it right, and you'll spend lots of time pulling bass off your spinnerbaits too.

An important aspect of this particular blade pair is the sizing/spacing. You rarely read about blade pair silhouette and the overall appearance that blade pairs present to fish. These double Deep Cups have been sized and spaced to optimize their silhouette and appearance together.

Most things you read about spinnerbait blades talk about two properties - flash and vibration - that all blades have to different degrees. You rarely read about motion and action in spinnerbait blades, meaning the combined movements that blade pairings/spacings present to fish. The Deep Cup Colorado blades shown here are pair-sized and spaced to maximize the motion and action these two blades jointly present to fish.

Thumper Blades

It's common to call any single Colorado blade a "thumper" blade. The blade described here, however, is no ordinary Colorado. It is the ultimate Thumper.

What makes it thump more than any other Colorado blade is first, it is a thicker, therefore heavier blade. Thicker material (stamped brass stock) is used -  but that's not all. The cup or concave/convex curvature of the special Thumper blade is shallower (less cup) and flatter than ordinary Colorado blades. The shallow cup, flattened blade and thicker material causes it to thump to the maximum degree.

Try one of these, and you'll never call an ordinary Colorado blade a thumper again.

The Original "Helicopter Lure". One thing that a single Thumper blade does exceedingly well is for the big blade to "helicopter" when it free-falls. Whether it's pitched in shallow cover, dropped down rock walls, worked up and down stairstep ledges, or with a lift-drop technique in deep water, the Thumper  blade helicopters, hovers and parachutes better, descending more slowly than other blade shapes on the fall, which is when many bites happen. Even during a steady retrieve, it is a high percentage move to suddenly pause and let it 'copter a moment. You'll get a high percentage of strikes then.

Short Arm Colorado. The spinnerbait market today is limited in terms of style and variety. That wasn't the case in days gone by. There were many more styles of spinnerbaits in use at one time or another, but they have all faded into relative obscurity. Nowadays, ninety percent of the spinnerbait market is either double willow blades or else a small Colorado in front of a willow. One of the "fallen stars" not often seen anymore is the short arm Colorado. It's specialty lies in slow bottom-bouncing, slow-rolling in deep water, and vertical jigging where you can use a lift/fall retrieve or yoyo it in deeper water. It also excels as a dropbait in shallow cover, and can be used like a jig pitched and flipped into weed, wood and rock cover. It's deadly to bounce it through the limbs of flooded trees. Be ready to get bit the instant it bumps its way free of a limb. The wire arm diameter is often heavier because they can be used in heavier cover with heavier rods than usual for spinnerbaits. Unfortunately, the short arm spinnerbait has become a forgotten lure to many anglers.

Fluted Spinnerbait Blades

Fluted Blades. These work superbly, but are rarely ever used on bass spinnerbaits. That's puzzling because Fluted blades are the most popular and productive blade worldwide for pike and musky spinners. It gets its name from the Fluted tail which gives a fish tail or fish fin look, reflects light in varied directions, and causes rippled turbulence not found in perfectly smooth blades.

Since most of a Fluted blade is smooth, you still get a larger flash off it, but many smaller flashes off the fluted tail. Keep in mind, there are also Willow and other blades that have this fluted tail stamped on them, but those are not the classic "Fluted blade" as we talk about it here.

One can see where the Fluted blade may have shared its early origins with an Indiana blade, but it's not correct to call the Fluted blade a sub-variety of an Indiana blade. The Indiana blade is over 100 years old, and has changed very little over the years. The Fluted blade is almost equally as old to begin with, and there isn't one dimension or property of a Fluted blade that hasn't been optimized into the oversized pike and musky blade it was way back when - and still is today. It's really the one blade that pike and musky anglers use most, so there's been a lot of attention.

For bass anglers wanting to gauge size comparisons, a #2 Fluted equates to a #4 Indiana, and number #4, #5 and #6 Fluted blades equate to #6, #7 and #8 Indiana blades respectively. These sizes of Fluteds make great bass spinnerbait blades.

A few (not all) tips for trying different sizes of Fluted blades are:

  • The #2 Fluted blade makes a great front runner ahead of the #4 or #5 Fluted or ahead of other blade styles.
  • The #4 can be used in pairs (two #4) or combine a #4 in front of a #5 or #6.
  • A single #6 Fluted blade makes a great night fishing blade or use the single #6 any time you want to get the biggest trophy bass.

Those are just a few suggestions. Try this super pike and musky blade for bass. You'll not be sorry.

Here is a comparison photo and size chart for the Fluted (and Indiana) blades shown here:

Style Size Length Width
Fluted #2 1.144" .630"
Fluted #4 1.515" .814"
Fluted #5 1.800" .972"
Fluted #6 2.114" 1.114"
Indiana #2 .836" .500"

Indiana (IN) and Fluted (FL) Blades. Photo not actual size. Photos not same scale as each other.

A pair of Fluted blades.

Other Fluted Spinnerbait Blades

Actually, there are two different meanings of fluted blades:

  1. First, there is the "Fluted Blade" itself. This venerable old style is unique. Although shaped somewhat like an Indiana blade, it is not an Indiana. Historically and presently, the "Fluted Blade" is and always has been popular on musky/pike lures (but not on bass lures).
  2. Second, other fluted blades (Willow, Oklahoma, Royal, etc.) may have fluted or scalloped tails stamped on one end. Compared to a perfectly smooth blade, the fluted tail does break up the flash and it ripples the reflection a little. Yet it is hard to say there is any substantial advantage or disadvantage of the fluted tais. One thing fluting may give is the impression (at least to me) of fish fins or fish tails. So I like to add fluted blades on spinnerbaits to suggest a fin/tail effect.

Mostly, I consider other fluted blades to be a fine folk art embellishment rather than anything strategic. If you ever see antique spinners from the late 1890's or early 1900's (eBay is a good place to see vintage spinners), many of the earliest spinners had fluted blades. The Fluted Blade or other fluted styles (Willow, Oklahoma, Royal, etc.) provide a "retro" or nostalgic look to me because fluted blades were some of the earliest of all blades. Please enjoy.

A Fluted blade ahead of a Fluted Willow.

Double Fluted Willows.

A #2 Fluted blade makes a great front runner ahead of a Fluted Oklahoma blade.

Fluted blade ahead of a Fluted Royal blade.

Fluted blade ahead of a Fluted Royal blade.

The rayed tips of Fluted blades may give the impression of baitfish fins or tail.

Fluted Royal and Fluted Oklahoma blades

Double Fluted Royal blades

Chopper Spinnerbait Blades

This completely flat blade has no concave cup, except for a cupped lower edge. The shape is remindful of the Shannon Twin Spinner that used blades like the Chopper as early as 1915. This blade spins smoothly with low vibration, almost a finesse effect. I tend to use the Chopper for flat calm water or for highly pressured fish.

Willow/Chopper Blades.
These spinnerbaits have a unique blade pair that is remindful to the human eye of a fish body (Willow blade) with a fish tail (Chopper blade). On a spinnerbait wire arm, the two blades look to be on different planes on the wire arm. In the water, however, the blades align one behind the other on approximately the same plane.  They spin very well together, at approximately the same rate, presenting the overall illusion of a singular minnow body and tail. Due to the wide angle of rotation, they plump up to resemble a full-bodied minnow appearance.

Another big merit of this blade pair is both blades spin very easily even as the lure is falling through the water. That is not always the case with other blade pairs. Often, the front blade stops spinning on the fall. In some other combos, the front blade impedes the ability of the back blade to spin on the fall. But those problems are not as bad with the Willow/Chopper combo. It is one of the most easy-turning, free-spinning combos on the fall, which is a high percentage strike moment. It is also very easy to start turning right away as soon as your spinnerbait hits the water.

Colorado/Chopper Blades. The biggest merit of this blade pair is both blades spin very easily even as the lure is falling through the water. That is not always the case with other blade pairs. Often, the front blade stops spinning on the fall. In some other combos, the front blade impedes the ability of the back blade to spin on the fall. But those problems don't exist with the Colorado/Chopper combo. It is one of the most easy-turning, free-spinning combos on the fall, which is a high percentage strike moment. It is also very easy to start turning right away as soon as your spinnerbait hits the water. It is a great blade combo to pump, lift-and-drop or yo-yo because the blades turn easily both when pulled or reeled up and when allowed to fall. There are many small start-and-stop movements with such tactics. Many other blade pairs fail miserably with these tactics, but not the Colorado/Chopper combos you see here. It's the perfect for stop-and-go spinnerbait!

Ripple Spinnerbait Blades

Ripple blades are rarely seen on spinnerbaits, even though they produce great catches.

Ripple blades don't come in larger sizes and therefore work best on smaller 1/4 and 3/8 oz spinnerbaits. I tend to use a #4 Ripple as a front runner ahead of a #5 Ripple blade on both 1/4 and 3/8 oz spinnerbaits.

Ripple blades have an oval shape similar to Willow blades, but Ripples are rounded at each end, not pointed on the ends like Willow blades.

When putting a Ripple blade on a clevis, unlike other blade types, the cupped edge of a Ripple faces out. The cupped edge does not face in like other blade types.

Why try Ripple blades? What Ripples do is to create tremendous vibration and lots of lift, due to water pressure against all the ripple planes and the cupped edge. True to its name, it ripples through the water. It's a very noisy blade that attracts a lot of attention without a lot of bulk. In that regard, it is approximately the same profile as small Willow blades, but the Ripple has much more lift, lots of vibration and rippling turbulence.

Comparatively speaking, a #4 Ripple is about the same size as a #3-1/2 Willow, but a bit wider with the pointed ends rounded off.

A #5 Ripple is about the same width but shorter (due to the rounded ends) that a #4 Willow.

Here is a comparison photo and size chart for these Ripple blades. A #3-1/2 and #4 Willow blade are shown to help you gauge size.

Style Size Length Width
Ripple #4 1.328" .538"
Ripple #5 1.495" .585"

Ripple blade size compared to Willow blades.

The Latest Spinnerbait Blade Shapes
(Royal, Serrated and Whiptail Blades)

Willow, Colorado, Indiana, Fluted, Chopper and Deep Cup Colorado blade shapes (covered in earlier chapters) are all over 100 years old. The Oklahoma shape isn't a century old, but it's certainly not a recent newcomer like the Royal, Whiptail and Serrated blades which hit the market during 2007 and 2008.

Royal Spinnerbait Blades

The Royal blade was a new shape introduced for the 2007 season.

This is a modern "creased" blade shape. The centerline crease causes a better spin, a flash off both sides and a third flash off the centerline itself.

The Royal blade was developed for inline pike and musky spinners, but it does work wonderfully for bass spinnerbaits.

You should try them because they do something no other bass spinnerbait blades do well. The double Royal blade configuration (when spaced properly) almost constantly keeps both blades turning. Even just with a tight line glide so the bait slowly descends and pendulum falls forward toward you on a tight line or super slow-rolling retrieve. When you kill the spinnerbait and just let it deadfall, both Royal blades rotate on the fall better than any other blade pair combination. Especially the front blade stalls on many other blade types. When the retrieve is paused, stopped or too slow, most any other front blade stalls or stops, and on a very slow roll, the back blade can stall or stop too. But not the Royal blade. The Royal blade pair hardly ever stops turning, no matter how slow you go or on a deadfall, and that's the reason you should use it.

Pair of #4 Royals go together swell when spaced as shown.

You may catch a lot of fish with a #4 Royal spaced as shown in front of a #5.

Blades Make the Spinnerbait! Oklahoma and Royal blades behave together exceptionally well. In the sizing and wider spacings like shown below. Oklahoma/Royal blade pairs have got that certain something.

Serrated Spinnerbait Blades

Serrated Blades. Brand new design for 2008. The manufacturer describes the Serrated blade as a Willow blade that they put a bit of a turbo charge in it. The manufacturer sculpted an aggressive notched outside edge to add more turbulence as it slices through the water. The cupping on the blade in conjunction with the notched edges gives the Serrated blade a very tight rotation and distinctive vibration as the blade cuts through the water says the manufacturer.

Style Size Length Width
Serrated #4 1.872" .673"
Serrated #5 2.260" .818"

Serrated blades (#4 and #5) compared to same size smooth Willow blades.

Serrated Blades.
Since the Serrated blade spins in a wider arc, the spacing above and on the photos below has been pulled a little closer together than usual on this pair. So the head of the back blade tucks up under the tail of the front blade. This is possible due the the wider arc of the front blade's tail, and it helps the two blades blend together closely, possibly giving the impression of a single larger baitfish or a singular spinning, flashing mass. That is, it doesn't appear as much to be two separate blades, since the head of one is tucked under the tail of the other, so they tend to blur into each other as they spin.

Pair of #4 Serrated blades tend to match nicely with lighter weight spinnerbait heads of 1/4 or 3/8 ounce.

Pairing #4 and #5 Serrated blades tend to be a better match for 1/2 ounce and up.

Whiptail Spinnerbait Blades

The Whiptail blade shape is new for 2008. Please enjoy!

The manufacturer describes the Whiptail as having baitfish details, and when used in tandem, as having a swimming baitfish school resemblance. Probably the most important aspect of the blade design is the vibration created by its aggressive tail cupping and unique curvature. The Whiptail has a tight rotation and a distinct thumping vibration says the manufacturer.

Style Size Length Width
Whiptail #3 1.529" .818"
Whiptail #4 2.044" 1.086"

Close-up of #3 and #4 Whiptail spinnerbait blades.

Close-up of #4 Whiptail spinnerbait blade.

Whiptail blades (#3 & #4) compared to standard #4 & #5 smooth Willows.

Whiptail Blades.
The Whiptail blade is scuplted with baitfish details, a scaled back, smooth belly, and engraved jawbone, eye, gill and fin. When used together in pairs, spaced wide apart, there's a swimming baitfish school resemblance. Due to the uniquely hooked blades as they rotate, it may appear at times as there's more than two baitfish (although what a fish sees is anyone's guess), but the rotation casts off a lot of images on both sides of the wire arm remindful of a movement of several baitfish in concert. Probably the most important aspect of the blade design is the vibration created by its aggressive tail cupping and unique curvature. The Whiptail has a tight rotation and a distinct thumping vibration. When the blades slow down, the curvature creates a left hook or kick out move to the side, and a singular thump can sometimes be felt in the rod tip when the spinnerbait is close enough to watch and feel that happen. Because one edge of the blade is scaled and the other edge is smooth, there is a dual visual dimension to the spinning blade flash. This dual dimension adds something that's just not possible with either an entirely smooth or an entirely scaled finish blade. Even using one smooth and one scaled finish blade wont achieve the same effect combined in the Whiptails. The asymmetrical curved or hooked tail creates the flickering illusion at times of a swimming, jumping or flexing baitfish movement that's just not possible with most other symmetrical straight blades like Willows, Indianas, etc.

Pair of widely-spaced #4 Whiptail blades.

Combo of #4 and #5 Whiptails.

Metallic Spinnerbait Blade Finishes
(Nickel, Gold, Copper and Genuine Silver Blades)

Nickel and Gold Plated Blade Finishes

The huge majority of all spinnerbaits blades worldwide are either:

  • Nickel Plated Brass. Solid brass stamped stock that is polished smooth and free from scratches, then nickel-plated for a highly reflective finish. The combination of a good grade of brass and heavy nickel plating makes them highly corrosion and rust proof shine for that extra sparkle in the water. Nickel-plated blades are often called silver, but they are nickel which has a darker shine than genuine silver.
  • 24K Gold Plated Brass. Solid brass stamped stock that is polished smooth and free from scratches, then nickel-plated, followed by a layer of 24K gleaming gold plate jewelry grade finish that won't tarnish or discolor.

The top shelf, highest quality or premium spinnerbait blades are stamped from marine brass stock, then nickel-plated. Gold-plating would be an additional layer on top of the nickel-plating.

Some blades are also stamped from steel (not brass) stock, and then nickel-plated. Steel blades are rarely gold-plated. Steel blades are more economically-priced, but nickel-plated steel blades won't have the rust-resistance of brass stock. Otherwise, well-made steel blades can work perfectly fine. I've never known a fish to turn down a blade because it had a little rust spot. So don't sweat it.

However, the majority of nickel or gold blades on the market today are brass (not steel) stock.

Gold or Nickel ~ Which One to Use When?

With the two most popular blade finishes, you have four rigging options:

  1. Double nickel blades
  2. Double gold blades
  3. Front gold / back nickel blades
  4. Front nickel / back gold blades

More often than we may suspect, the choice of blade finishes may come down to a fashion statement. Some people like gold jewelry. Others favor silver. It just suits their fancy. And whether one favors gold or nickel spinnerbait blades may be a similar personal preference. There are some anglers who favor double gold blades. Some put their trust in double nickels. Others are happy as long as one gold and one nickel blade are on a bait. There is merit in all these choices. If a resident expert tells me that big smallies in Canada clobber double gold blades, you can bet that's what I'll use there. If a super sharpie someplace else favors double nickel blades on his home waters, then I'm heedful of the wise advice.

Left on my own, however, I tend to favor gold blades with darker skirts - black blues, black reds, greens, browns. More often than not, I tend to go for the gold in darker water. I also like the gold blades on panfish color skirts. Whether it's yellow perch, crappie or sunfish, these panfish tend to have more gold than silver sheen. Many fish, even carp or catfish can have a gold or silver sheen or other metallic sheen to them. So most every fish has some sort of metallic flash it emits, regardless of water clarity. Whether a spinnerbait flash mimics a fish flash - or whether it's 100% just an attention-getting flash (like the flashing lights atop a fire truck or emergency vehicle), who can say. Not me. All I can say is I tend to use gold blades in darker water, with darker skirts or to imitate bottom-hugging or cover-oriented baitfish like panfish fry. I tend to match silvery nickel blades with lighter color skirts, in clearer water or to imitate open water baitfish or shad, shiners, minnows and such. These are just rules of thumb, not absolutes.

What I really like best is to use two blades - one gold, one silvery nickel.

Keep in mind, the front blade is often smaller than the back blade. A smaller front blade adds an accent flash whereas a larger back blade throws the primary flash.

In a shad type spinnerbait, I'll tend to use nickel for the bigger back blade, gold for the smaller front accent blade. In a darker spinnerbait, a smaller nickel accent blade with a bigger gold blade.

Well Then, When Should You Use...

A front nickel blade with back gold blade?

A front gold blade with back nickel blade?

Double nickel blades?

Or double gold blades?

Why not try all these options and let the fish decide? It's not hard to make a few casts with each.

Chances are, most any fishing trip, you can catch fish on double gold, double nickel or with one gold and one nickel blade.

If you start to suspect that you are attracting more fish with one particular finish versus the others, it just makes sense to continue using that as long as the fish oblige.

Half Gold / Half Nickel Blades

What may be the best of both worlds are the half gold / half nickel blades. No matter which flash the fish favor, you are using both at once in the same blade. This is the ultimate peace of mind.

Ever face those difficult days you can't decide whether to use a gold or nickel blade? Now you can confidently use both gold and nickel in the same blade. One half of each side of the blade is genuine 24 karat gold plated. The other half of each side is nickel plated. Both the front and back of the blade have this.

Half gold / half nickel blades have more of a flickering action compared to one full gold and one full nickel blade.

As the blade spins, the half-and-half colors sparkle on, then off, sort of like the blade is blinking. The gold color kind of winks "on-and-off" more than solid gold or solid nickel blades.

Even with a single blade spinnerbait, you can use both gold and nickel in the same blade.

This is "the best of both" gold and nickel finishes in the same blade.

Copper Spinnerbait Blades

In addition to gold and nickel finishes, copper is a very distant third. You truly don't see copper blades much - but they work.

Genuine copper blades usually aren't just a thin copper plating. More often than not, they are genuine 100% copper through and through. They're coated on both sides with a tough clear finish to seal in the original shine and deter tarnish. Even still, copper blades will tarnish in time, but that's just fine. Bass love copper blades, whether they're as shiny as a new penny or tarnished, bass still love to whack them.

Here now's a valuable tip to tell you what is the very best time to use copper blades. Copper blades often work on tough days when gold or nickel blades seem ineffective. So if it's a struggle to catch fish on gold and nickel blades, give copper a try. It's been a smart move that has saved the day for me many times.

I tend to dress copper-bladed spinnerbaits in jig-colored skirts - browns and greens - and use them close to the bottom, even bottom-bouncing them almost like jigs on rugged bottom. So I am often breaking out of the mindset of baitfish-colored gold/nickel thinking. When I switch to copper blades, I switch my entire approach to a crawdad, a sunfish or bottom-skulking critter mentality.

"Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee," is what this darling finesse spinnerbait is all about

Genuine Silver-Plated Blades

Genuine silver-plated blades are rarely used on spinnerbaits.

Now you may be thinking, I use silver spinnerbait blades all the time. But actually, most all silver-looking spinnerbait blades are nickel-plated, not real silver.

There are two reasons why real silver blades are seldom seen. First they cost more, but the real issue is that silver tarnishes - and that doesn't sit well with many anglers. Even in a brand new package on a store shelf, silver will tarnish slowly - and even faster with usage.

Genuine silver plated blades are usually coated on both sides with a tough clear finish to seal in the original shine and deter tarnish. Despite the clear coat, genuine silver will tarnish or spot. You'll get a pale tannish tarnish, usually in random spots on the blade, even on a new, unused spinnerbait. That discourages most anglers, but even with tarnish, genuine silver-plated blades have more flash, are brighter and reflect best of all blade finishes. Silver plated blades are visible further underwater, more noticeable, and fish have a better chance to see your lure from a distance.

Genuine 24 karat gold plate is second only to silver in brightness and flash.

Nickel, what most anglers incorrectly refer to as silver, falls much further down on the brightness scale. Nickel blades emit a dark black flash whereas genuine silver blades give off a bright white flash.

The brighter, whiter flash of genuine silver may pay dividends in murky water or when trying to attract fish from further distances - such as in deep water. The brilliant shine and flash of genuine silver is something fish rarely see in a bass lure.

Silver literally outshines everything else, yet it is rarely used. Most every silver-looking blade on the market is in fact nickel, not silver.

When it's time to shine, silver's flash and reflection can be seen from a further distance under lower light conditions at deeper depths than most any other blade finish.

Hammered Spinnerbait Blades

Smooth-surfaced spinnerbait blades are by far the most popular finish on bass spinnerbaits. They emit a lot of flash, which makes smooth blades appear larger than they really are. The vast majority of bass spinnerbaits today have smooth blade finishes.

Fluted blades are mainly smooth blades with a fluted fin ray section toward the blade's tail end.

In addition, there are a number of hammered or textured blade finishes:

  • traditional hammered finish
  • diamond pattern finish
  • hex pattern finish
  • scale pattern
  • rib pattern
  • ripple pattern

Hammered blades and textured patterns look nice. Most days, hammered blades may seem to produce as well as smooth blades.

However, hammered and other textured blade finishes are not very popular on bass spinnerbaits.

Hammered finishes give off less flash than smooth blades, and therefore appear smaller. Visually, they tend to present a fish scale appearance or a tiny bait pod appearance in motion.

I tend to prefer hammered finishes when I want to make blades seem even smaller or to make blades appear more separate. Hammered finishes tend to break up the large flash of a blade (or pair of blades) into a number of smaller flashes, more like a bait school, less like a singular large baitfish

Scale pattern blade finish gives a baitfish scale effect.

Hex Blades. The six-sided scale (hex) finish breaks up the reflection and the appearance of the blade, something that a real baitfish coloration is designed to do - break up the appearance of the bait. The natural-looking hex finish blends into the environment.

Lobed Indiana Blades. The Indiana blades used here have a more modern feature - a unique crease straight down the center that effectively subdivides the blade into two separate lobes.

The crease on these Lobed Indiana blades makes these blades look more like a vee-hulled boat shape rather than a perfectly round tablespoon. The centerline enhances the action and flash of the blade. You get a distinct flash off both the right and left lobe of each blade, plus a third flash off the centerline itself.

Indiana Willow Combo. This particular blade sizing and spacing is fine-tuned to give the impression of  three different sizes of shad "stacked" in a mixed size school. The Indiana blade, the medium-sized Willow blade, and the bigger skirted head represent three sizes of shad mixed together, a common schooling occurrence especially in autumn.

Wet Look Spinnerbait Blades

These blades aren't painted, just clear-coated which creates a hazy, soft, wet look.

These spinnerbait blades have a clear coat finish on both sides. Additionally, the front side of each blade has hologram sparkle dispersed in the clear coat. The clear coat gives the blades a kind of subdued flash, and the hologram glitter adds a subtle flicker.

The Style N spinnerbait head above and below is also heavily coated with fine hologram glitter, same as the blades.

The gel-like coating on both sides of the blades gives an overall "wet look" that softens the underlying nickel-plated flash. I like the toned down flash especially in super-clear water.

These spinnerbaits have nickel-plated blades with a hazy "wet look" gel coat on both sides of the blade. The durable, clear, hard gel coat gives a slick wet look to the nickel-plated finish. The flash is not as harsh nor as bright as a plain nickel finish. The gel coat tones down the harshness of the flash. It's a more subtle, kind of muted flash, ideal for clear water.

A Lesson in Flash. The two spinnerbaits above both sport a little larger than normal front Colorado blade. Sage fishing writers and wily pundits often endlessly recite to us the "fact" that Willow blades flash the most and Colorado blades flash the least. Have you heard that? I'm sure you have.

Yet I'm not so sure it's true. The larger than normal front Colorado in this configuration flashes like the dickens. That makes me think that flash is a function of a blade's surface area (not its shape). More blade surface equals more flash. Honestly, when you study the configuration shown here in the water, it seems to me the front Colorado flashes more than the back Willow - or it creates a brighter, more blinding flash spot than the Willow in this configuration.

The front Colorado, being a bit bigger than usual, also starves the back Willow for water to spin in. So the back Willow spins more feebly than usual. That looks good.

But the thing I like most is both these blades work in tandem to throw tons of flash down directly onto the skirt, and the skirt lights up like a Broadway marquee on opening night. So make sure both blades are always positioned directly above the skirt, which tends to make the skirt glow and shine so brightly it practically appears like an incandescent light bulb under water.

The front side of the blades has a crystal hologram glitter effect. The embedded grains of crystal hologram refract (separate) sunlight (or any ambient light) into the full spectrum of many individual colors. The colors being refracted constantly change as the blades move through the water. The holographic colors reflect the present water and light conditions and also provide the illusion of excited baitfish that are "flushing" and emitting color signals. The most common colors refracted by the crystals are pale purple, blue, green and chartreuse. This is a subtle effect, not bold nor flashy. When the blades are spinning quickly, the holographic crystals are less visible than when the blades stop or stall momentarily (a high percentage strike trigger).

Luminous Glow Spinnerbait Blades

A little magic moon glow's been sprinkled on these spinnerbait blades. But never you mind about that. Used under normal daytime conditions, the blades appear as an ordinary flat pastel color. The luminous effect cannot be seen under normal fishing conditions, and the pale colors flat out catch fish even under bright, clear conditions. But that's not all! When you pull this spinnerbait out of sunlit water and into the dark shadow behind a rock, beneath a weeping willow, below the shadow line of a deeply undercut ledge or the shady side of a dock, you get that sudden shimmer of pale moon luminescence that's like turning a lamp on in a dark room. It's a sudden strike trigger that causes savage reaction strikes at the moment of color change.

Front blade is luminous. Orange-tipped back blade is not.

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