Many bass anglers shy away from using spinnerbaits when fishing clear water lakes and rivers. Part of the reason is that we are taught to use baits resembling natural forage. Just take a quick look in any spinnerbait and it is plain to see it has little resemblance to any bass forage. Even when selecting baits with color patterns mimicking different types of bait, spinnerbaits may look similar in color but lack the size and shape of the actual forage.
Nonetheless spinnerbaits can be highly effective when finished in clear water systems under the right conditions.
Best Conditions to Use Spinnerbaits in Clear Water
Though you can use a spinnerbait any time in clear water, the best condition to use spinnerbaits is one light penetration is reduced.
The best times to find these conditions include:
* low-light to bright light transition periods in the mornings and evenings;
* cloudy to partly cloudy days;
* sunny days when a good breeze creates chop on the water; and
* anytime from dust to dawn.
Using a spinnerbait in a color pattern mimicking natural forage when these conditions exist can lead to great days of fish catching not just casting and reeling.
Color Patterns That Work
As mentioned above it is often best to use spinnerbaits in color schemes resembling the major types of bass forage present in the clear water lake or river you’re fishing. Typically these color schemes mimic baitfish such as shad, herring, alewives, shiners, chubs, bluegills or perch.
Some of the more familiar color schemes include:
* light baitfish patterns with nickel blades (different variations mimicking shad, alewives, shiners) ;
* golden shiner pattern with gold blades;
* yellow perch pattern with brass or gold blades;
* green and white pattern with brass blades (mimics many chubs) ;
* peanut butter and jelly pattern with gold blades (mimics bluegills);
* crawdad pattern with copper blades;
* white pattern with white blades;
* bright chartreuse pattern with chartreuse blades (deadly on northern smallmouths); and
* black spinnerbait with black blade for night fishing.
The color schemes selected obviously depends on the types of baitfish present in the waters you fish. The forage base varies according to the area in which you live. In the northeastern US, common baitfish include alewives, golden shiners and yellow perch; chubs. On the other hand, perch and shiners are common in the upper Midwest where shad, herring, shiners and bluegills are often more prevalent down South.
It is always best to check with your local fisheries agency and determine the prevalent forage base in your local lakes and rivers to make sure you select the best color patterns. Remember to verify the types of shad, shiners and chubs present since many spinnerbait manufacturers produce color schemes resembling specific baitfish.
The best retrieves for clear water environs depend on the season or time of day being fished. During the daylight period of the warmer months (late spring through early fall) faster retrieves (waking, bump the cover and stop/go) tend to work best. Use slow rolling and dead dragging retrieves during the cooler months as well as at night during the summer for increased success during those times.
Here’s a little more insight from pro bass angler Marty Stone on fishing spinnerbaits in clear water especially in the fall…