Response by Dwayne Cooper - Dated 4/01/2003
Here's a quick run-down of some of my thoughts on spinnerbait
The best tip I could give anybody regarding spinnerbaits is the
most important thing about fishing spinnerbaits (and with many other
baits) is the "flash" that you are providing the fish. Think about
that for a second... Now pick up your favorite spinnerbait, and
squint your eyes to get an idea as to the bait's flash appeal. One
thing you will realize is that colors take on different appearances
when you view them with your new-found squint! The flash of your bait
will take on different appearances depending upon the environment that
you fish it in...
Ok, the most common situation where I would have 2 spinnerbait
types tied on is when I'm bouncing from main lake to protected
coves...especially in the springtime. I'll often use a bigger 1/2 oz
tandem long-arm willow or 3/4 oz. tandem short-arm Colorado when I am
fishing in a heavier wind (main lake). Then when I move up into a
wind-protected areas, I'll often back down to a 1/4 oz. Tandem
short-arm Colorado or single long-arm Colorado.
A couple other situations: The farther I go back up a creek...the
more likely I am to use a smaller profile spinnerbait. The shallower
water that I am fishing....the more likely I am to use a smaller
profile spinnerbait. The less cloud cover I have...the more likely
that I will be fishing a smaller profile spinnerbait. And all the
above works vice-versa too...for example, the more cloud cover...the
more likely that I will be fishing a larger profile spinnerbait.
I had one day on the Ohio River where I had two 5 pound bass and
many other keepers on a small profile spinnerbait. However, when the
weather conditions changed and a severe storm blew through...I
switched to a larger 1/2 oz. tandem long-arm willow (black-chartreuse)
and picked up another 5 pounder! Had another day on Wheeler lake
where I was fishing this huge laydown tree in the middle of a cove and
picked up about 20 small keeper bass on a small 1/4 oz. single
long-arm Colorado spinnerbait. I backed off the laydown tree
approaching it from a slightly different angle using a 3/4 oz. Tandem
short-arm Colorado and slowly pumped the spinnerbait up and down over
the tree and nailed four very nice sized fish between 3 and 6 pounds!
The 5 most common spinnerbait types I find myself using are:
Note: Two of the above 5 spinnerbaits will pretty much cover any
situation. 3 of the above 5 definitely will. I would feel pretty
comfortable with just a 1/4 oz. tandem short-arm Colorado and a 1/2
oz. tandem long-arm willow in pretty much any situation.
- 1/4 oz. Single long-arm Colorado
- 1/4 oz. Tandem short-arm Colorado
- 1/2 oz. Tandem long-arm willow
- 3/4 oz. Tandem short-arm Colorado
- 1/4 oz. Single Short-arm Colorado
The 5 most common colors I find myself using are:
Note: I probably use white/yellow 90% of the time. And yes, there is
a slight difference between yellow and chartreuse and while there may
not be much of a difference between the two...it's enough of a
difference (IMO) for me to use white/yellow the majority of time. I
also primarily use the older "living rubber" (yea, the kind that
sticks together) skirt. I use silver (aka nickel), gold, bronze,
chartreuse and white blades. However, I use silver or gold 99.9% of
the time. While I used to use silver more often, I find that I am
using gold more often now. The clearer the water, the more I lean to
silver blades...and, vice-versa, the murkier the water, the more I
lean toward gold blades. I often mix blade colors (gold and silver).
And there some water conditions in the springtime, where a bronze
blade will kick gold and silver's butt...but those conditions are
rare. I've only used a chartreuse blade when smallie fishing but that
has produced pretty well (including a 6-2 Indiana smallie) in some
The most common brands are:
Note: I haven't given many of the newer spinnerbaits out there a fair
shake in testing them out. And we've come a long way in spinnerbaits
compared to where we used to be 20 years ago. I suspect that the
Secret Weapon or the "MB" spinnerbait may be good enough to make my
top 5 list, but I haven't fished with em' enough to know exactly how
good they truly are. Unfortunately, most of the spinnerbaits that I
learned to use and trust have disappeared (stopped being made) and I
learned a long time ago that it was important for us to make our own
spinnerbaits to make sure that we had the spinnerbait types that were
no longer available to us. IMO, many companies gauge of wire were too
heavy and those spinnerbaits suffered vibration-wise. A ball-bearing
swivel is a must on most spinnerbaits...although there are a few out
there that do a solid job w/o a ball bearing swivel. I also believe
it can help to have a head that "glitters." Its also nice that the
paint on the leadhead is chip-resistant and we've always used
excellent quality (and expensive!) auto paint on our lead-heads.
- My dad's (Cooper's) - I predominately use the 1/4 oz. single spin,
1/4-1/2 oz double Colorado, double mixed (Colorado and willow) and
- Mann's Hank Parker "The Classic" Spinnerbait - I predominately use
the 1/4 and 3/4 oz. tandem models. The wire on this spinnerbait form
may be the lightest available out there.
- Nichols - 1/2 oz tandems are very good.
- Strike King (older variety) - I really like their older 1/4 oz.
models with the old blade type and light wire form. Unfortunately,
they stopped making this at least 15 years ago.
- Another custom spinnerbait (single short-arm Colorado - primarily
in 1/4 oz. and 3/8 oz.) made in southern Indiana (can't remember name
[B&K? or something like that] offhand...but my dad always carries a
hundred or so of em' primarily for the local fishermen down his way).
The 5 most common retrieves:
Note: I'll usually mix #1 and #2 on the same retrieve...cast out...and
make a slow steady retrieve while maneuvering the spinnerbait to bump
the stump. I'm a firm believer in keeping the rod at its proper
position (usually high) and in using sensitive medium action rods to
- Slow steady retrieve at just above the "Pie-Pan" level (the depth
just at where you can't see your bait anymore - an old crappie
fishing trick is to stick a aluminum pie pan in the water and fish
just at the level where you can't see the pie pan anymore!)
- "Bumping the stump" - the level where you contact whatever
structure (wood, grass, rock) you are fishing.
- Fast steady retrieve at just above the "Pie-Pan" level
- Very slow retrieve (i.e.. slow-rolling) - the level where you believe
the fish to be (usually way below the pie-pan level) going just fast
enough so you can feel the blades turning.
- Steady burning - the level where your blades are just beneath the