To say that Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle is an expert jig fisherman would be an extreme understatement. It's no secret that his go-to approach involves a flippin' stick and a jig. However, he's the first to admit that there are times in the year when a jig isn't at the top of a bass' menu.
The fall of the year is just such a time, and Biffle points to the spinnerbait as the perfect solution. "The spinnerbait during the fall of the year is sort of like the cat's pajamas," he says. "There are just so many ways that you can fish the bait, whether it's rolled slowly through balls of shad, fished nearly vertically for suspending bass, presented with a stop-and-go retrieve or burned over a flat to trigger an aggressive reaction bite."
When selecting the perfect spinnerbait, the decision can be complicated with the plethora of options available to today's anglers. Biffle contends that there are two key characteristics that drive his selection process. "The two things that I always look for in a spinnerbait are a good, light wire and a good hook. From there, you can mix and match your blades and skirts to get what you desire," Explains Biffle.
As the water temperatures begin to cool, baitfish begin to migrate to the backs of creeks and pockets. Biffle points out that the key factor to success hinges on finding these baitfish-packed pockets. "The main thing you need to do is to follow the baitfish," he stresses. "If you're not around bait in the fall, you're not around bass."
Biffle emphasizes the importance of matching the blade size to that of the baitfish. "I've had times in the fall when the bait was real small and the bass wouldn't bite a spinnerbait that had big No. 5 blades," he reveals. "If the blades are out of proportion to the baitfish, your spinnerbait is going to get passed over."
In addition to blade size, Biffle also stresses the importance of matching the body of the spinnerbait to the baitfish in the area. "The size of the spinnerbait is just as important as the size of the blades," he allows. "As a rule of thumb, my spinnerbait of choice this time of year is a 3/8-ounce tandem willowleaf with No. 4 blades and a blue-glimmer skirt," he says.
A trick the Oklahoma pro employs during the fall, particularly when fishing off-color water, is to replace the front blade with a small red or orange Colorado blade. "The smaller Colorado in front of a willowleaf blade in stained water is tough to beat," he says.
When it comes to colors, Biffle matches the hatch. "You want your spinnerbait to come as close as possible to mirroring the natural forage the bass are keying on," he says. "I prefer to use white or white/chartreuse if the water is off-color. There are also times when I like to have a blue glimmer skirt over a plain white one because it puts off a little more flash. In certain situations, it can make all the difference."