The Spin on Spinnerbaits

The Spin on Spinnerbaits

In the eyes of many observers, spinnerbaits aren't as lustrous as they used to be. Veteran western writer George Kramer of California says they haven't been a significant presentation in the West since the 1970s. Instead, swimbaits are the rage.

During editor Steve Quinn's travels to southeastern impoundments, he's found chatterbaits and square-bill cranks elbowing out blades in many cases. And In-Fisherman Field Editor Gord Pyzer of Kenora, Ontario, says: "If we have 20 rods rigged in the boat, it's unlikely a spinnerbait adorns even one of them. Yet it wasn't that many years ago they were a 'go to' bait for bass." Pyzer notes, too, that spinnerbaits were never as popular with muskie anglers as in-line spinners in the North Country.

This apparent trend is exemplified among pro anglers. BassFan.com's 2004 survey of top tournament techniques ranked spinnerbaits 4th, behind flipping-pitching, crankbaits, and finesse tactics. By 2010, spinnerbaits had tumbled to 8th place.



Market Trends


While it's hard to get sales figures from manufacturers or retailers, industry insiders note a shift in the market, but that for everyday anglers, spinnerbaits still are a top option. Tony Witte of Cabela's says anglers are still buying them, but they've altered their buying habits since the start of the current recession. Instead of high-dollar models, they're looking for sales on good-quality lures.

Bruce Stanton of Booyah Bait Company has seen no drop in sales over the past year or so. He notes that few anglers are willing to pay more than $10 for a spinnerbait. But they're buying well-made and durable baits at a reasonable price, which is Booyah's niche.

John Hale of Stanley Jigs points to increasing sales. "Since the reintroduction of the Vibra-Shaft spinnerbait with our new 200-series skirts, sales are up and the future is looking strong," he says. "Last spring, we saw exceptionally good sales." Hale adds that today's models are better than ever, in skirt colors and design, blades, and balance. And at Strike King, Chris Brown reports spinnerbait sales in recent years are on par with past times, and says the company continues to introduce new models with special features.


In-Fisherman Field Editor Cory Schmidt of Nisswa, Minnesota, notes a regional component in spinnerbait use. "In northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, spinnerbaits have long been a top option for bass and pike anglers," he says. "They remain much more popular in this region than in other areas, where trendy lures have overshadowed blades."

New Life for Blades


Charlie Campbell of Forsyth, Missouri, was an early spinnerbait aficionado and inventor. He notes that decades ago many new reservoirs were full of flooded timber and brush that harbored bass and were ideal for spinnerbait fishing. Once much of the wood rotted, bass shifted deeper and anglers began turning to other tactics, relegating spinnerbaits to spring and fall, particularly in windy conditions. During the past several years, however, Campbell's home lakes of Table Rock and Bull Shoals have brimmed with water, flooding acres of timber once again, and the spinnerbait has undergone a renaissance.

Kevin VanDam, a long-time spinnerbait fan, acknowledges that there are more lures for anglers to use nowadays than decades ago. Yet he notes that Skeet Reese of California used one to win the 2009 Bassmaster Classic at the Red River, Louisiana. And he claims that during the 2010 Classic on Lay Lake in Alabama, water temperatures approached the point when spinnerbaits would have been the winning lure instead of rattlebaits.

Like Hale, VanDam says new designs have made spinnerbaits more versatile, while natural-colored skirts work better in the clearer water found today in many systems, due in part to filter-feeding by exotic mussels. For example, VanDam uses Strike King's Bottom Dweller to probe deep ledges at waterways like Kentucky Lake. And on the clear waters of the Great Lakes, he runs Strike King's Burner with Raz-R-Blades, which keep lures running straight at high speeds. He concludes that spinnerbaits haven't lost their effectiveness, and maintains that his favorite way to catch bass is with a spinnerbait fished in tight cover.

Ned Kehde, Lawrence, Kansas, is a Field Editor and frequent contributor to In-Fisherman publications.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with homemade chips and tartar sauce. Fish Recipes

Catfish Dinner with Homemade Chips and Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with...

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Doug Stange uses softbaits from Berkley to entice finicky smallmouth bass.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

See More Stories

More Baits

Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater, too. Baits

2018 ICAST Hardbaits

Cory Schmidt - June 26, 2018

Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater,...

Among hard lures, truly new ideas are hard to come by. Many new items represent tweaks on proven Baits

Best New Hard Lures

In-Fisherman - February 16, 2015

Among hard lures, truly new ideas are hard to come by. Many new items represent tweaks on...

Thankfully, tying hundreds of #12 Adams flies for money—as I did in high school and Baits

Hinged Hair Jigs for Bass, Trout, and Walleye

Cory Schmidt - March 02, 2015

Thankfully, tying hundreds of #12 Adams flies for money—as I did in high school and

See More Baits

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.