Frugal Angler: Saving spinnerbait dollars

Russ Lane
Russ Lane

Spinnerbaits are some of the most effective, and most versatile, lures you can own. You don't need to own 100 of them to catch bass, however. Under most circumstances a handful will do you just fine.

To help you choose that handful I'm going to categorize my basic spinnerbait choices and then offer up a few tips for choosing the right one for the places you normally fish.

Basic Sizes
3/8 and 1/2 ounce — shallow water
3/4 and 1 ounce — deep water

Basic Blade Combinations

Double Colorado — No. 3 in front, No. 4 in back
Colorado/willowleaf — No. 3 in front, No. 4 in back
Double willowleaf — No. 3 in front, No. 4 1/2 in back

Basic Colors

White — muddy or heavily stained water
White/chartreuse — lightly stained water
Translucent shad — clear water

Pick your weights by the depth of the water you usually fish. If most of your water is less than 5 feet deep go with a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce bait. (You don't need both.)

If the water's deep, or if you like to slow roll your spinnerbait, go with a 3/4- or 1-ounce model. (Again, you don't need both.)

If I could only have one in each category it would be a 1/2 ounce and a 1 ounce. They're the most versatile.

Choosing a blade combination is a little trickier. Conditions can change quickly. You may want a couple of combos for each weight of spinnerbait you normally throw.

Colorado blades will give you a lot more thump and lift. They're good in muddy water or if you want to run your lure slow and shallow. Clear water, or a deeper running depth, sometimes require willowleaf blades. The Colorado/willowleaf is a good all-around choice.

Silver is the best overall blade color. If you have the money, you can add a few copper or gold ones to your collection. That's a luxury, however. It's not a necessity.

You may need a couple of colors in each bait, depending on where you fish.

White is great for muddy or heavily stained water. White/chartreuse is a solid universal choice. Translucent shad is a super clear water color.

If I had to launch my boat with only one color it would be white/chartreuse. That's a color combination that'll catch bass anywhere in the country.

Pick your spinnerbaits based on how and where you normally fish. If you usually fish a shallow, clear water impoundment most of the time choose a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce, double willowleaf in translucent shad. That'll work for you most of the time.

On the other hand if you normally fish deep, muddy water go with a heavier bait, Colorado blades and a white skirt.

Add to these choices only when you have the extra cash.

Buy only high-quality spinnerbaits that'll last. All of mine are made by Buckeye Lures. They're strong and they run properly right out of the package. I also like the twist tie they use on their baits. In my experience it makes the bait more durable and you'll have less trouble with your line slipping and breaking.

Don't throw away old lures until you remove the skirts and the blades. Store them in small plastic boxes. They'll come in handy someday.

The easiest way to polish tarnished blades is to rub lemon juice on them. I keep a small bottle in my boat for just that purpose. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new.

Think before you buy. Consider what type of water you fish and how deep you normally fish. Then purchase what you need — no more, no less. Remember, most anglers fish the same water most of the time.

It makes no sense to spend your money on lures just because someone caught a bunch of bass on them in a legendary lake 1,000 miles from your home. Unless you're a professional or a guide, six or eight should be enough.