In this article, long time lure maker Marc Wisniewski explains why you should consider using spinnerbaits for deeper waters, and how to make them yourself!
There aren’t many people that will argue that the spinnerbait is one of the best universal fish catchers of all time. It started with Bass but didn’t take long to catch on with Pike and Musky fishermen as well.
They started out as a simple and inexpensive lure. A lead head molded onto a V shaped piece of wire and a hook out the other end. They weighed a quarter ounce and a big one was maybe a half ounce. You tossed them around docks, through lily pads, bumped stumps, rolled them over logs, under tree limbs, and any other shallow cover that a fish waiting for an ambush would haunt. It worked, and still works.
Spinnerbaits pull fish out of shallow structure like no other lure. I can remember many times when I scanned a shallow flat with my polarized glasses. “There is nothing in there”, I said to myself. But I’d fire a cast and out of that what looked completely empty water, a flash and strike of a Bass or Pike that came out of nowhere. The flashing blade, the pulsing skirt, the vibration, I don’t know what it is but they love spinnerbaits. They don’t look like anything, or do they look like everything? We’ll never know.
Fish Spinnerbaits Deep & Catch Fish
We do know they are great shallow water fish catchers, but when it’s time to go deep we set the spinnerbait rod down and pick up the crankbait rod. Deep divers are the ticket here, right. Yes, I can’t argue that crankbaits are great deep diving lures for working deeper structure, buy why give up on your go-to bait that you rely on so heavily in shallow water situations. Do deep water fish not like spinnerbaits? Yes they do. The answer is heavy spinnerbaits.
So, what is a heavy spinnerbait? Some may think a one-half or three –quarter ounce bait is a heavy spinnerbait. In some worlds, that is. But when I am talking heavy spinnerbaits I am talking 1, 1.5 and even two ounce heads. This is what you need to work depths of fifteen, twenty, and even twenty five feet for Bass, Pike, and even Musky.
There are very few spinnerbaits out on the market that weigh even an ounce let alone heavier. Oh, there are some giant Musky spinners out there that sport heads this big, but the total bait is too big for most bass and even some normal sized Pike to hit them on a normal basis. The answer is to make your own.
Do-It Corporation has several options for heavy spinnerbaits. The SJU-3-MA Ultra Minnow Spinner Jig and SJ-C2-L Style C both make a 1 ounce head. This may be OK for depths of 12 feet or so. But if you really want to get deeper the SJ-3H-X Style H spinner Jig mold will crank out 1.5, 2, and even 2.5 ounce heads. With these weights, fishing fifteen to 25 feet deep is easy.
The Style H features a long and narrow head resembling a baitfish with a chubby belly. They even have an eye socket making it easy to paint eyes, or add stick on flat or 3D eyes.
I use 0.41 wires for the body. It’s not too heavy, but strong enough to handle the heavy weights and big fish. My favorite hook is the Mustad 32608N in a 6/0 size. It’s a long shank spinnerbait hook that can be poured back in the head almost eliminating the need for a trailer. I say almost because I will leave that up to you. Personally, I don’t use one and the bait fouls less when worked through deep weed edges.
Unlimited Customization Options
The sky is the limit for tails. Good old round rubber is always a favorite for standard colors. The new silicones are outstanding for creating baitfish images. They both work well for this application. My go-to is either a plain yellow or plain white round rubber tail just longer than the hook. A sparsely tied bucktail body is also a possibility. Don’t get too heavy on the bucktail or it will cause too much resistance and lift. Remember, getting these deep and keeping them deep is the key. Add a little flashabou or krystal flash to any of the materials to spice them up a bit.
The blade is also a key to getting them deep. Tandem blade configurations are out. Too much lift. On a 1.5 or 2 ounce head a #6 Willow or #6 Indiana works very well. If you are fishing in late fall and want to slow things down a little, a #6 or #7 Colorado works well.
Many of you may have done some heavy spinnerbait fishing called slow rolling. It’s a great bass tactic, but that is not what I am talking about here. This is more like crankbait fishing. The beauty of this system is that the heavy spinnerbait does not have a pre-determined depth. It also doesn’t max out at 18-19 feet like a crankbait. You determine the depth by the weight of the head, the size of the blade, and the speed of the retrieve.
This past season really made a case for heavy spinnerbaits. The hot weather and warm water had the fish on deep weedlines, the deep edges of bars, and other deep structure. It seemed like fishing shallower than 18 feet was a waste of time most of the summer. Twenty to twenty five feet was more like it. Fall is another time to work deep breaks.
Here is how you fish them. Get yourself parallel to one of these deep weed edges or bars and launch a long cast. Let the bait get to the bottom and as soon as it does, pop it and start reeling. The key is to reel just fast enough to keep the bait from hitting the bottom. Flirting with the bottom here and there is OK and triggers strikes, but keep the bait moving only to take a brief strike-triggering pause now and then.
Heavy tackle is a must. Flippin rods are perfect matched with a baitcaster that will hold a lot of 15 pound test. A round reel is a better option than some of the low profiles that don’t hold enough line. You can throw these baits a mile and the line capacity is a must.
Why stop fishing with one of the greatest fish catchers of all time just because the fish are deep. If you get on a deep weedline and cast heavy spinnerbaits to the base of the weeds you don’t know what you may catch. Big Largemouths, Pike, and Muskies are all drawn to the thump and flash of a spinnerbait. And there is nothing better than catching a fish on a lure you made yourself.