Slow-Rolling A Spinnerbait
By Carlton "Doc" Holliday
If you're seriously interested in knowing about Spinnerbait, you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at one technique you need to know about Spinnerbaits.
This technique is primarily used to fish deeper water areas usually between 10 - 20 feet deep. A lot of times you will be fishing some type of structure, weeds, moss, stumps, or rocks. The premise is to keep the bait deep just bumping the stumps or rocks and just "ticking" the grass or moss. Ticking, being a good red neck techie term, meaning just keeping in contact or brushing the structure. It is most important in this presentation to keep contact with the structure you are fishing.
This technique requires the larger spinnerbaits, ¾ - 1-ounce baits with large willow leaf or Colorado blades. You cast the bait out over the target area and allow the bait to settle to the desired depth or the bottom. When the bait reaches the desired depth, give it a little jerk to get the blades turning and retrieve as slowly as possible to keep the blades turning. You should be able to feel a steady thump, thump, thump as the blades turn. You also want to be able to feel the bait bumping into rocks or stumps or just ?ticking? moss or grass as you retrieve the bait. If, at any point, you do not feel the thump of the blades turning, set the hook. It does not cost you anything and it probably will be a fish. Most strikes will be subtle like that and not the "jerk the rod out of my hand" type strikes.
This technique can produce several fish off an area. Several years ago I was fishing in a Mr. Bass of Arkansas tournament with David Ashcraft from Bismark, Arkansas on Lake Degray. David had a reputation for being an expert spinnerbait fisherman and a Lake Degray legend having won many tournaments on the lake. We pulled up on one of the many submerged ridges in the lake and he promptly pulled out a 1-ounce white spinnerbait with large willow leaf blades and began fishing. He informed me that this particular ridge had a small rock pile and some coon-tail moss growing on it. Well, like a dummy, I thought this would be ideal for my worm so I began worm fishing. Ten minutes later David had put 4 keepers in the live well and I was still waiting for a bite. I may be hard headed, according to my wife, but I am not stupid. I tied on a spinnerbait and began slow rolling like him. Within one hour we had caught 9 keeper fish, David had 6 and I had 3. We tried worms, jigs and deep diving crankbaits but to no avail. We left that ridge and headed for another one. Same type of set up but this ridge only had moss on it, no rocks. We managed to catch 4 fish on this ridge with the spinnerbaits. Now David had a limit, 7 fish, and I had 6 fish. The next place we tried was a moss bed considerably shallower than the ridges we had been fishing. We were both looking for a "kicker" fish and the second cast I made produced a 4 pound 14 ounce bass. I was just pleased as punch. We fished the rest of the day and managed to cull a few fish. At the weigh in, David beat my weight by 3 ounces and took first place while I took second place and big bass. That is how I was taught by an expert and learned to slow roll a spinnerbait properly.
The interesting thing in the above scenario was the fact that the ridges we fished were in the 18 - 20 feet deep range while the moss bed we fished was only 3 - 5 foot deep. Both circumstances produced fish with the same bait. That is how versatile the slow rolling technique can be.
You can see that there's practical value in learning more about Spinnerbait. Can you think of ways to apply what's been covered so far?
Another effective use of slow rolling and 1 ounce spinnerbaits, virtually any time of the year, is too fish under deep boat docks. Generally on lakes with boat docks, when the early morning bite ends, look for boat docks in 15 - 25 feet of water. As a general rule, the first and last dock in a row of deep water docks hold fish. Concentrate on the outer pole ends. These areas should hold larger bass. Fish the outside of the docks and you should catch fish all the way down the line of docks. Also try the open water in front of the docks for fish. These fish in the open areas may be a little smaller. Use a large, single Colorado blade with a 1 ounce spinnerbait to get the best results in this application. Constant bottom contact is essential.
Do not get frustrated with this style of fishing. The size of the fish you catch will usually increase while the number of bites may very well decrease. This will play with your mind but, stay persistent and it will reward you.
TIP: Remember, it is the small things plus the techniques that makes the biggest difference. You must figure out these small things for each fish and each time you fish.
As your knowledge about Spinnerbait continues to grow, you will begin to see how Spinnerbaits fit into the overall scheme of bass fishing.
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