Can You Troll With a Spinnerbait?

If you have tried trolling without much success, you may be familiar with the frustration of the bait popping out of the water. Even worse, the lure fails to go deep and stays in the shallow waters, but there’s a technique that works. One that entails using a brightly-colored spinnerbait.

You can troll with a spinnerbait in clear, muddy, shallow, or even deep water. This versatile bait boasts arms and blades that spin about, creating lots of lift and flash while reducing snagging around any structures. The unique lure also works in all weather conditions. 

This article will explain how a spinnerbait works and the benefits of using one. It will also provide answers to common challenges like how to prevent your bait from popping, how to keep your bait in deep water, and whether shallow trolling is better than using a long line. 

How Does a Spinnerbait Work?

When you set out to fish, you usually have no idea what you are in for, and several scenarios are likely to play out. You might thus be wondering, are the fishes active or sluggish? Will you need to lure them in, or will they chase the bait and come to you? A spinnerbait helps to answer these queries.

Trolling spinnerbaits is an art that many native anglers are quite adept at. But if you are new to this game and don’t quite know how to cast spinnerbaits, you have a few things to learn. You will also get to understand how effective these unique and versatile lures are on the troll. 

Spinnerbait fishing lures come equipped with metal blades that spin like a propeller as the lure moves. This action creates varying degrees of flash and vibration in the water whose flowing movements resemble a swimming baitfish. These lures help attract fish, especially predatory types like perch, bass, and pike. 

After tying the spinnerbait to the end of your fishing line, you then cast it out into the water—as far as 100-125 feet (30.5-38 meters). After this, you can retrieve the line back, go fast, or even slow. The spinnerbait has two key features:

  • A lead head that weighs it down, enabling you to throw it far out
  • Spinners that vibrate and flash, thus luring in the fish      

These two features set the stage for what follows; the fish hunt down the spinnerbait, and inserting the hook becomes an easy job.  

Most big spinnerbaits feature 2-3 single hooks but single hooks are particularly ideal for keeping the baits free of weeds. Also, single hooks make it easy for you to release fish without harming them. 

On clear, sunny days, the spinnerbait helps make fishing enjoyable and lots of fun. Still, when fishing in dark waters or on heavy and dull days, you can use brightly-colored spinnerbaits to make it easier for the fish to find your bait.  

The video below explains when and how to use a spinnerbait:

Advantages of Trolling Using a Spinnerbait

Higher Chances of Catching Fish

This technique enables you to cover long distances over water, thus increasing your chances of finding fish. Besides, spinnerbaits allow probing of prime locations such as weed-flats in search of feeding fish with the hopes of enticing them to strike. 

The flashing, vibrating blades not only trigger strikes but also help you to locate the lure.

Additionally, trolled spinnerbaits have higher chances of hooking fish than crankbaits. This is because the latter have hard bodies that could interfere with a hook-set. You can also troll at 3 to 10 mph (4.8 to 16 kph), whereas it’s difficult to maintain such speeds when casting and reeling.

Effective for Trolling Over Obstructions

Spinnerbaits are also effective for trolling over structures such as rock bottoms. Still, it’s advisable to use heavier baits for rock bottoms or when fishing deeper rock edges. 

When trolling with spinnerbaits, it’s not advisable to pause when you hit a snag. Instead, push your way through and move forward while maintaining the spinnerbait in an upright position. Pausing allows the lure to fall over, causing you to spend lots of time going back to get it off the snags. 

Offers Several Fishing Techniques

Apart from the standard retrieve technique, you can also use a spinnerbait in other ways. Your choice of technique will depend on how the fish behave, changes in weather, or water conditions. As such, you will need to come up with various presentations to suit the prevailing circumstances.  

Some alternative methods include:

  • Jerking your rod when passing over hard structures
  • Using a yo-yo style to attract the fish
  • Applying modifications to your spinnerbait to make it more effective in luring fish

How Do You Keep Your Spinnerbait Deeper in the Water?

Blowing out is not a deal-breaker if it happens occasionally, but if you’d rather it didn’t happen at all, there’s a way out. You see, spinnerbaits come with a wide selection of head weights, sizes, shapes, and colors to suit every situation.

In general, long lines, small diameter lines, heavy weights, and slow speeds all make your baits go deeper. So, do small or more elongated blades.

Thus, if you troll a heavy, small willow blade equipped spinnerbait slowly on a long low diameter line, it will run quite deep.

Apart from adding weight to your long line, here are some practical suggestions on how else you can keep your lure in deeper water:

  • Go for baits with smaller or fewer blades for less drag.
  • Place your rod tips in the water.
  • Trolling speed – use speed in order to control the depth of your spinnerbait.

So, if you want depth, go slower. But if you are moving quickly for hits, and the lures keep popping out, you need to put more lines out. 

When selecting your spinnerbait, ensure that it can withstand the abuse of high speed trolling. Keep in mind that lures consisting of smaller diameter wire tend to bend or break after fishing for a while. It’s thus better to go for baits with heavier gauge wire since they hold up better.

Should You Use a Short Line or a Long One?

Many anglers prefer short line trolling, but going with a long line (75-100 feet) offers many benefits. For instance:

  • When you use a long line, your lures react faster and offer directional changes.
  • Making sharp corner turns or jigging your line causes your baits either to rise or fall dramatically, and these erratic movements can result in more strikes.
  • Longline trolling enables you to present your spinnerbaits over structures that are too shallow for a boat to pass over—such as a 2-foot (61 cm) deep pile of rocks.

Tips on Making the Most of Your Spinnerbait

  • Tipping your spinnerbait with plastic trailers helps make it more buoyant, allows you to slow it down, or improve the hook-up rate in stained or muddy waters.
  • Big, round-shaped blades displace more water and are best used in unclear water. Also, they help keep your bait slower when you want to use it in shallow water.
  • Slender shaped double blades such as willow-leaf blades are perfect for clear water or fast bait as they shine more, offer less resistance, and help prevent the bait from spinning when on high speed.
  • Always ensure that your line and rod coordination are on point. For example, check that your rod is not too stiff.
  • Use smaller baits for post-spawn fishing and larger baits for big muskies.
  • Consider using a sonar unit to help in identifying structure and cover while trolling. A speedometer will also come in handy when you need to monitor or maintain trolling speed.
  • Changing direction allows you to attain different depths and speeds, which contribute to your trolling success.

The below video explains further:


Are you ready to explore new fishing areas with your spinnerbait?

No matter the level of water clarity, type or size of fish, or whether it’s in deep or shallow waters, the spinnerbait is sure to perform. So, grab your fishing rod and try it out. You are sure to have lots of fun—and catch fish while at it!

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