Skip to main content

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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 UNBOXING

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

GENIUS Planer Board Modification Tip with Ross Robertson

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

In-Fisherman's Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 Walk-Through with Thomas Allen

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

Old Town Salty PDL 120 Kayak Walk-Through

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

NEW In-Fisherman TV River Jet Boat: Yamaha Powered SmokerCraft Pro Sportsman 1866

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

DECKED OUT 2023 Starcraft STX 2050: New In-Fisherman TV Boat

In-Fisherman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now