Modifying spinnerbait blades

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

Last week we talked about disguising spinnerbaits with your presentation, but sometimes you have to take it to the extreme to refine those presentations.

I'm fortunate in that Strike King is my sponsor and they offer a wide variety of spinnerbait blade configurations and models. I carry all of them and usually have a stock bait to do the job I need.

But not always. I love tweaking my spinnerbaits, either by changing blades, mixing skirt colors or by adding a little weight.

A simple modification to a spinnerbait blade can make it more productive without necessitating a complete blade change. Adding a little more cupping to a blade, or even flattening it out slightly, will change the vibration and swing of the blade.

For instance, if I were fishing bushes, logs, docks or isolated clumps of grass and thought I needed to keep the lure in the strike zone longer, or if the water was stained and I wanted to slow it down and increase the vibration, I'll flatten the blade. Changing to a larger blade would also increase vibration, but it would also increase the overall profile of the lure, and there are times I don't want to do that.

If I'm off the water, I'll lay the blade on the trailer hitch ball and tap the rear of the blade gently to remove some of the cupping. If I'm on the water, I'll use my pliers. In either case, you want to be careful not to crease the blade or cause the plating to come off.

Flattening the blade slightly will increase the arc of its swing and the amount of pull that it will have when you retrieve it. You can make a No. 4 1/2 feel like a No. 5, create more vibration and slow down the lure.

Now, you can also add cupping, which is something I do to a lot of willowleaf blades when I want to run a bait faster, such as in real clear water. Most people think that more cupping produces additional vibration, but it actually does just the opposite. Increasing the cupping makes the blade swing a narrower arc and reduces the vibration.

Either bend the blade with the pliers or hammer it out on the trailer ball, but the trailer ball works better because it has just the right amount of curve to make the job easier and cleaner. Simply bend each side of the blade slightly so there's more cup through the middle.

You may ruin a few spinnerbait blades while learning these tactics, but once you experiment, you'll learn the subtleties of how it can enhance your fishing.

That will give you an edge over other spinnerbait anglers who simply hurl their favorite bait at objects and hope one bites. There are days when a subtle change can make all the difference in the world.

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