How do you fish spinnerbaits?
Response by Duane Knight - Dated 3/29/1999
I love spinnerbaits. Saying you "chunk and wind" them is like saying someone danced. But, if you are not more specific, nobody will know what dance. Just like dances have their own rhythms and steps, so does spinner baiting.
You can cast a spinnerbait out, let it fall to the bottom, or start reeling just as soon as it hits the water. You can run it at different speeds, sometimes on the same cast. One thing I like to do is to bring a spinnerbait on a medium speed retrieve up to a piece of structure, such as a stump, and then either drop the bait for just a second before continuing the retrieve, or burn it away from the structure at a faster pace. I believe the latter triggers a response because the bass feel their meal has spotted them and is making a break for it.
One way I fish a spinnerbait is by holding the rod level to the water and out to the side about 45 degrees to the bait, and then slowly sweeping the rod back until it is 90 degrees to the bait. I do this without turning the reel handle. Then, I reel up the line as I move the rod back to its 45 degree angle. While I am returning the rod to the 45 degree angle, the bait pauses, not necessarily sinking, because the line never goes completely slack. I most often use this method with a large single blade spinnerbait at night. I notice most of the hits come while I'm returning the rod to the 45 degree point. That is why you want to reel the line as you return, keeping it taut, but not pulling the bait.
Another method I learned from an angler who guided on Beaver Lake in northern Arkansas. You cast a spinnerbait with small to medium tandem blades as far as you can throw it, and when it hits the water, you shove the rod tip into the water and burn the spinnerbait back to the boat. And, when I say burn, I mean burn it as fast as you can (a high speed reel helps). This method works well on clear bodies of water.
The bass don't have time to look at the bait. They just see a flashing blur and react. Let me warn you, that you should loosen you drag a bit before doing this, especially if smallmouth bass are present. The strike is rather violent.
Spinnerbaits can be fished like a jig, jerked like a jerkbait, burned back to the boat, reeled in with a pumping motion, and many other styles, including, just chunkin' and windin'. So, get out the spinnerbaits and save the next dance for me. :)