Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Fishing with Spinner BaitsArticle: April, 1999
The spinner bait has been around a long time. In the early hay days, the spinner bait 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 spinner bait. He could make more casts in one minute than anyone. He would cast it out on short 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.
There are a wide range of spinner baits available. You will have to pick out the manufacturer and style you like best. The blade combinations range from willow leaf, Colorado and Indiana. Each blade combination has its time and place. The Colorado and Indiana give off more vibration and are good for limited visibility or at night. Blade sizes vary along with skirt colors. 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. 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. 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. In the summer I throw a 1 ounce spinner bait 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. I like to pitch a spinner bait 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 spinner bait presented this way. I shorten the arm on the spinner bait so that it will have a tighter flutter for this type of presentation. 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. Skirt colors that work year round are white, chartreuse or a combination of both colors. At night, black blades and black skirts are the ticket. Keep your hooks sharp and stay in tune with your blades. A good spinner bait 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 spinner bait and swim along at the same speed you are retrieving it. If you are getting a lot of short strikes, a trailer hook can be attached to the main hook. This is an old tournament trick. This will cause the bait to be less weedless than before. A lot of people like to use trailers, but sometimes the trailers cause short strikes. This will be left up to the individual.
Thanks and Good Fishing,
by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim