Spinnerbaits are a staple in every successful angler's tacklebag. As every angler knows, they'll catch bass right out of the package. At times, however, small modifications will make a big difference in your catch.
Here are three that I use on a regular basis:
1. Tune it right
The first, and most important, thing about a spinnerbait is that it runs straight and true. After catching a few fish nearly all spinnerbaits will need tuning.
Make sure the wire coming out of the head, the wire holding the blades, and the hook are all perfectly aligned. You can bend the wires with your fingers; use pliers for the hook. Make sure you don't damage the point.
Hold your lure at chest level and look straight down over the top of it to check your work.
2. Adjust its speed
If you want to run your spinnerbait faster, without changing depth, push the top wire down towards the wire that comes out of the head. This creates less water drag over the blades, allows the blades to spin quicker and lets the bait run faster without pulling it to the top.
If you want to slow the bait down, do just the opposite. Widen the gap between the arms. This will allow the blades to rotate slower, which will hold the bait up even at slower retrieve speeds.
I use these two tricks all the time. They're two of the simplest and best things you can do to fish more efficiently. Practice changing the angle between the wires until you can do it quickly and correctly — every time, in your sleep.
Don't get carried away, though. You should only narrow or widen the angle between the wires by about a third of the distance between them, as measured from the way the spinnerbait comes out of the package. A little is good; a lot is not great.
3. Adjust the skirt
Learn to trim the skirt to reduce the profile of the bait. The blades are the attractors; the head and skirt mimic the shad. Your goal is to match the hatch.
Our Strike King spinnerbaits are made to facilitate this. They come out of the package with plenty of billowing skirt material so that you have a big profile if you need it. Some of the strands are longer than the others to create a built-in trailer which is also helpful at times.
If you don't need the bulk, trim some of the skirt away so that your lure looks smaller to the bass. Make sure you trim everything evenly. Don't take it all off one side, or trim all of one color.
No matter how you modify your bait, however, remember that in the end it's all about the attitude.