Spinner baits are a reaction lure with a built-in spinning movement, and are used mostly to catch predatory fish like pike, bass, and perch.
These lures have skirts made from rubber, vinyl, or animal hair, plus a moving component that give them their name. When the lure moves through the water, either by the water’s current or the angler’s purpose, one or more blades rotate around a shaft like propellers. This generates vibrations and flash in the water that resembles that of baitfish and other prey.
Types of Spinnerbaits
The types of spinnerbaits include beetle spins, live bait spinners, tail spinners, in-line spinners, and overhead arm or safety pin spinners. In-line spinners and overhead arm spinners are the most popular, so we’ll go over those first.
In-line spinners are simple, with blades that spin around a center wire. They are used as bait by anglers fishing for species like bass, salmon, trout, muskies, and northern pike, but can be used for other species as well.
Safety Pin Spinners (Overhead arm spinnerbait)
Safety pin spinners are widely used in bass fishing because they can be fished at virtually any depth in any amount of cover. There are four different types of overhead arm spinnerbaits:
- Single blade – these run deep and have a distinctive vibration that makes them ideal for slow retrieves, deeper depths, and open water.
- Double (tandem) blade – is a similar size to a single blade, but its two blades cause it to run shallowly. The tandem is especially useful in water that is 10 inches deep or less.
- Long arm – has its blade positioned back towards the hook. A good weedless spinnerbait lure.
- Short arm – is almost as good as the single blade in open water. It has the advantage of a shorter blade that leaves more room near the hook for setting bait.
Tail spinners, as the name implies, have their blade hanging off the back like a tail, attached by a swivel. The weight is forward on the lure, with a treble hook and line tie attached to the front of the body. Tail spinners can be jigged vertically or fished horizontally, and are successful lures for a number of species.
The beetle spinner is a miniaturized version of a safety pin spinner. Its L-shaped wire arm and jig head can be equipped with a variety of bait, from live grubs to soft plastics, and its spin is powered by a single blade on the end of a swivel.
Live Bait Spinner Rigs
Using a live bait on a spinner involves a rig that has an extended harness with spinner blades and one or more baited hooks. The smell of live bait along with the movement, vibration, and flash of the blades makes for an excellent bait combination that draws any number of warm and cold water species.
If it will be used for casting and retrieving, the rig should be more weight-forward. For other fishing methods like trolling or drifting, it should be weighed down with a bottom bouncer or sinking slider.
How to Use Spinnerbaits
When you use spinnerbaits to fish, adjust your methods and select the type of spinnerbait to best fit water depth, type of cover, and behavior of your target fish. That being said, spinnerbaits lend themselves to being fished in a variety of creative ways, from vertical jigging in deeper water to attention-grabbing deflections off of habitat features to retrieves that can be slow and steady or interesting and erratic.