When water temperatures across much of the South and Midwest begin to cool with approaching fall cold fronts, bass vacate their deep-water summer haunts and start prowling shallow flats in search of baitfish.
It's during this time of year, when water temperatures dip into the 70s, that the spinnerbait can become a primetime player.
"Normally in the fall, the water is lower, so you can find a lot of isolated laydowns and stumps along the bank," explains Elite Series pro Terry Butcher. "It's hard to beat slow-rolling a spinnerbait by this cover."
In his home state of Oklahoma, Butcher often relies on a unique spinnerbait to fool shallow-water bass lurking near cover in muddy or stained water.
Using a 1/2-ounce Booyah Vibra-Flex spinnerbait with a No. 5 Indiana blade, Butcher likes to add a small red or orange kicker blade.
"That brighter color gives off enough flash to make a difference without being overwhelming," says Butcher. "It's kind of like dipping the tail of a plastic worm in chartreuse dye. It just gives it a little color."
Aside from providing extra flash in dirty water, Butcher believes that the orange kicker, combined with a big Indiana blade, closely mimics the bluegill which are prevalent along shoreline structure.
"If you look at a bluegill, there's a little orange under the gills, and to me, that's what the spinnerbait represents," says Butcher.
While he relies on the colorful combination primarily when fishing waters in his home state, Butcher has had success on the offering in lakes across the country.
"It'll work anywhere there's dirty water," he says. "I've used it from coast-to-coast." Butcher points out that while many anglers prefer to fish spinnerbaits on overcast and windy days, he prefers calm water and bluebird conditions. "I know that everybody talks about throwing a spinnerbait on windy, cloudy days," says Butcher.
"To me, those days are only good if you're fishing clear water. In stained water, I want a high sky with a lot of sun and a calm breeze because it keeps the fish close to the cover. You can bump the cover with your bait and trigger a bite."
For the weekend angler fishing an unfamiliar body of water, Butcher says it's hard to beat a spinnerbait in the fall.
Simply find a shallow flat with visible cover — and start casting. "If you can find stumps that are located on flats during the fall months, you're going to find bass," he says. "Those fish really move up there and start to feed. A spinnerbait with an orange kicker blade and a No. 5 Indiana blade is a great option."