Fall Time is Spinnerbait time

By Dave Duwe - October 1, 2006
As the water cools from the summertime highs the Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Musky again move back to the shallow weed flats. In the fall the fish are aggressively feeding before winter sets in. The best presentation to catch them is the tried and true spinnerbait. The best thing about a spinnerbait is the many different presentations available. From slow rolling them in deep water to trolling large baits for covering a lot of water, spinnerbaits provide many opportunities for fast action.

The first thing to consider is the weight of the spinnerbait. The best all around bait that I use is a ½ oz. Booyah spinnerbait made by Pradco. Using anything lighter makes it very hard to slow roll it, slow rolling is basically reeling the bait so the blades barely spin over the weed tops. For a trolling application I tend to go heavy. I like the 1-2 oz baits. With a heavier bait, it is easier to get the bait into 8-12 ft of water while trolling.

The next thing to consider is the blade. I only use Colorado blades or Willow blades. The determining factor in the type of blade such as Colorado or Willow depends on the weeds being fished. If I am fishing milfoil, I am fishing the Willow blade; it has a tighter vibration and can be pulled easily through the thicker weeds. My favorite blade is a single Num. 4 Colorado blade. This blade works much better with more scattered cabbage or coon tail weeds. For a trolling application, I almost always use a tandem Willow blade, the blade size starts at a size 5 and goes up from there.

The color of the blade also correlates to the size and shape of the blade. For clear water like many of the lakes in southern Wisconsin; I prefer using the natural colors like fire tiger or plain chrome or chrome and gold combinations. In dark water, I prefer to use dark blades, like orange or black. For northern pike and musky, I like to use different tiger patterns either a fire tiger pattern or a pattern that looks like a large crappie.

The fish to key on in fall are associating with shallow weed flats. As it gets later into fall, you need to search for the weeds with the most green color. Green weeds mean bait fish and bait fish mean game fish. The first weed to die off is the thick milfoil and the last to die is the coon tail and cabbage weed. With dead and dying weeds, the oxygen level decreases so the smaller bait fish move on to greener pastures.

The purpose of a spinnerbait is to fool the game fish into thinking they are striking a large panfish or bait fish. The strike is a reaction strike. All the fish will see in the water is a lot of flash and vibration. For lakes that have a lot of perch and bluegill try to match the size and color of the bait fish population. I like the fire tiger pattern for perch and bluegill and a white and black peppered skirt to imitate the crappie. For suckers or large minnows, I use the plain white skirt with a chrome blade.

The best presentation is basically making a long cast and reeling them in. The bite is very violent; there isn't much guess about whether a fish is there or not. The speed of the retrieve is based on the weed density and the depth of water you are fishing. The thicker the weed to faster you need to reel. For scattered weeds, I reel slower with a stop and go retrieve. Make sure that you cover water fast, the more water covered puts the bait in position to catch more fish. In addition, make sure you use a 7 ft. medium/heavy rod with 17 lb test Silver Thread. To be successful the reel needs a fast gear ratio as well, a bait casting reel is the only way to go.

With all the spinnerbait choices, the best place to start is to buy several different sizes of plain white with the chrome Colorado blade. Of all the artificial lures that you could buy, spinnerbaits represent one of the easiest to fish. Make spinnerbaits your first choice for fall fishing.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com .