Inside Walters’ spinnerbait tacklebox

Once upon a time, the spinnerbait was an all-season, do-all lure for bass fishing. The original blade bait was valued by anglers as the universal favorite for imitating baitfish, always tied and ready for action, regardless of water clarity, depth or habitat in play. 
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Patrick Walters recognizes that some things never go out of style, made apparent by his jumbo-sized spinnerbait box. Like other tools of the fishing trade, spinnerbaits have expanded into specialty models that are even more effective than the original versions. 
“A spinnerbait is like a tool and you need the right tool for each kind of job,” Walters said. “That is why you need different styles, actions and blade combinations to make spinnerbaits even more efficient than ever before.” 
Walters chose these five spinnerbaits as his top choices for fishing year-round, for any situation you might encounter, including some applications you might have overlooked. “These spinnerbaits cover all the fundamentals, have the blade combinations that work best in tandem with the weight and arm sizes,” he said. He even tossed in an old-school choice in reverence to the good ol’ days of the original spinnerbait. Stock up and have fun again with the venerable spinnerbait. 
Terminator P1 Pro Series Double Willow Spinnerbait, 1/2-ounce, Green Gizzard (left hand), Chartreuse White Shad
“This weight and the two different color combinations are my ‘everyday’ choices, and what I use the most,” Walters said, also noting the No. 4 and No. 4 1/2 blade sizes. “They are the most versatile in the lineup, with the willowleaf blades as the shade imitators.” 
Walters favors the Chartreuse White Shad for dirtier conditions. 
The Green Gizzard is the choice for clearer water and shad spawn scenarios.
Terminator P1 Pro Series Double Colorado Spinnerbait, 3/8-ounce, Chartreuse White Shad, No. 4.75 gold, No. 3 Nickel
Walters prefers Colorado blade configurations for slower presentations, reasoning the wider, cupped blades displace more water in stained conditions. “The bass are feeding more by sound, than by sight, and that’s the benefit of the Colorado blades over the willowleaf variants,” he said. 
“You can also use a slower presentation (than willowleaf) to keep the bait longer in the strike zone in dirtier water, so that bass can home in on the bait from a distance,” Walters said. 
This model gets the most use during prespawn when stained water conditions are common. “I make short pitches to cover, while I’m making long bomb casts with a willowleaf spinnerbait.” 
3/4-ounce, shad head, gold/white skirt, triple willowleaf spinnerbait, all gold blades
“You don’t see a three-willowleaf blade combination that much, which is all the more reason to use it, especially in pressured situations,” Walters said.
Walters considers this three-blade variant a specialty spinnerbait, for a specific situation. “I use it during a baitfish spawn when shad or herring are actively spawning in shallow water.” Common baitfish spawn lures are swimbaits and topwaters; this garish choice stands out in the schools of bait, thereby attracting more attention. 
1-ounce, white, double willowleaf spinnerbait, No. 4 1/2 and No. 5 blades, hammered nickel and solid gold
Walters uses this model primarily for postspawn scenarios. “Fish it around transition areas where largemouth use deeper brushpiles, stumps, deep grassbeds as holding areas along those migration routes,” Walters said. 
He adds a big swimbait trailer for added strike appeal and bulk, making the package look like the bigger meal favored by hungry, postspawn largemouth. “The added weight is for getting into the deeper, postspawn strike zones after largemouth come off the bank.” Walters makes long casts, using a slow-roll retrieve as the bait is worked through bottom structure like wood and rock. Deep is anywhere from 8- to 20-feet of water.
1/4-ounce, all white, double Colorado blades, gold
“You’ve got to have an old school, small profile spinnerbait,” Walters said. “This is my choice for finesse situations, when the bait profile is smaller and less aggressive than larger baitfish.” 
He favors this small package for tidal waters and smaller inland fisheries, where the bass don’t typically eat larger forage. “It’s something you can slow down when a more subtle presentation is key.” 
And there you have it. A spinnerbait for any situation. Be careful, though. You might get addicted to spinnerbaits and end up with a box stuffed with myriad choices like Walters.