Fine-Tuning A Spinnerbait

Illustration: Lenny McPherson 

Target the predominantly murky waters of Oklahoma long enough and you will develop a real feel for spinnerbaits
— not just for retrieving the bladed baits but also for the little tricks that make these lures pay off more consistently.

That is definitely the case for Elite Series pro Jeff Reynolds of the Sooner State.
"You can do a lot of different things with spinnerbaits," Reynolds said. "It's such a versatile bait that you can modify it a lot of ways to get it to perform better."

The former Bassmaster Classic qualifier gives his 3/4-ounce spinnerbait a complete makeover in the summer, for instance, by using every inch of a 10 1/2-inch Zoom Ol' Monster worm as a trailer. It changes the entire look of the spinnerbait.

"I've done that when fishing lakes with big bass in them, especially with standing timber. This is a situation where you're fishing a lot deeper, throwing a big spinnerbait with either a No. 7 Colorado or willowleaf blade. These fish are normally relating to some type of structure, whether it's brushpiles, trees or something on the bottom in 12 to 20 feet of water. I try throwing it out, letting it go to the bottom and then just pumping it back to the boat. Also, slow rolling it will keep it close to the bottom. You can really catch them slow rolling that bait with the big worm trailing behind it."

Interestingly, he does not match the worm color to the spinnerbait color. "I normally throw a worm that has a purple tint to it. And I'll throw anything from a white spinnerbait to some kind of translucent color."

A few years ago, Reynolds poured his own spinnerbaits from a mold. Today, his bladed baits come out of a package.

"I was really into it a few years ago," he said. "I had my own mold and I built them exactly the way I wanted them to be. I played with painting them, but I don't do it anymore. I still mess with the heads a little bit, painting them white, black or chartreuse."

Unlike most fishermen, Reynolds pays close attention to what he calls "tuning" his spinnerbait. The key to keeping a spinnerbait tuned is watching the R-bend in the wire so that it doesn't open or close significantly.

"If your spinnerbait wire gets all bent up, the spinnerbait won't track right and the bait will lay over on its side or maybe come up or go down too quickly. You have to be really careful and keep that angle right, and keep the blade wire directly over the head so
it will run straight."

One of Reynolds' most common modifications involves going against conventional wisdom by mixing up head and blade size.

"Sometimes I'll throw bigger blades on smaller spinnerbaits. Sometimes I'll throw smaller blades on bigger spinnerbaits. The smaller blades on bigger spinnerbaits are usually for smallmouth or spotted bass. You're burning it and trying to get a reaction bite in clear water. The smaller spinnerbait with big blades is good for dirtier water and night fishing. I throw a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait with a No. 7 copper Colorado blade on it. You want to slow roll it in that situation."

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