Spinnerjig fishing with TTI-Blakemore's Randy's Rolling Runner. A spinnerjig is a shad imitating jig with a "horse head" and a single willowleaf blade on the underside.
TTI Blakemore's T.J. Stallings says the Rolling Runner evolved from the smaller Pro Series Road Runner which was popular with spotted bass fishermen in Georgia and Alabama. The Rolling Runner is an enlarged version of the Pro Series that these bass anglers desired. Howell has been using the Rolling Runner for the past five years. After Howell tweaked it, Randy's Rolling Runner was born.
Howell says Randy's Rolling Runner is a "limit bait." He uses it to fill his livewell in short order before pursuing bigger bites. He credits the Rolling Runner with contributing to a lot of his top 15 and better finishes, as well as filling out limits when fishing is especially tough.
When to Use:
Though he uses them year-round, Howell says spinnerjigs shine in the summer months, specifically June through September. After the spawn, fish head out to deeper, cooler water and suspend. This can make them difficult to catch. Howell has found dragging a Rolling Runner through them elicits bites.
Where to Use:
Howell's favorite spot to throw a spinnerjig is around bridge pilings. Baitfish are attracted to the fungi and plant matter that accumulate on the pilings, and the baitfish attract bass. He will also use it around transition areas such as creek mouths and in the summer he throws it to suspended fish on deep water structure like points, humps and ledges.
Howell's rod of choice for throwing a Rolling Runner is a 7-foot, medium-light Quantum Tour Edition PT Randy Howell Signature Series rod. It has a fast tip for extended casting distance, and just enough backbone to get positive hook sets. Howell opts for a 6.2:1 Quantum Tour Edition baitcaster spooled with Molix fluorocarbon. Usually he throws 12- to 15-pound test, but will lighten up to 10-pound test if he needs to fish it deeper than 20 feet.
Randy's Rolling Runner is available in two sizes and colors. Howell's model is distinguished from other Rolling Runners by the red Daiichi Bleeding Bait hook and natural colors. He feels the Bleeding Bait hook encourages bass to eat the bait rather than nip or peck at it. Howell will tip them with one of several plastics depending on the forage he's trying to match. He'll use a Zoom Fluke or Super Fluke Jr. when imitating an erratic shad and a Yamamoto twin- or single-tail grub when looking for a smaller profile and slower presentation.
When fishing bridges, Howell starts on the shallowest pilings, which are usually the ones closest to the shoreline. He'll cast beyond and parallel to the row of pilings and let it sink close to the bottom. Howell has found the Rolling Runner will fall about one foot per second. Once it's deep enough, he'll start slowly retrieving it. If he gets a bite, he'll note the depth and location it came from relative to the piling. Chances are there are more fish in similar locations on other pilings. When fishing offshore structure like ledges and humps, Howell fancasts the area, lets it fall for a 10 or 15 count, and slowly reels it back. Howell advises those new to spinnerjigs not to discount their versatility. With so many plastic trailer options, he believes a spinnerjig can be made applicable to most any situation on the water. He will also use a spinnerjig on schooling bass when other anglers are using topwaters and lipless crankbaits. In this case he tips it with a Zoom Super Fluke Jr. and pumps the bait on the retrieve.
One More Thing:
Howell emphasizes using a sweeping hook set and soft rod with spinnerjigs as their light-wire hooks can tear through a bass' mouth.