One of the key modifications you can add to a PIVIT Trailer Jig (or any other jig) is a spinner blade. These flat metal blades, which are often silver or gold colored, attach to the jig head through a right angled wire and spin to produce both flash and vibrations. This effect stimulates a fish’s lateral line—the sensitive line of nerves down their sides that fish use to “feel” the water around them—triggering them to strike. Spinner blades are deadly, but they’re not always the clear choice for every single fishing situation. So when should you use them?
With their flashiness, spinner baits are an excellent choice during periods of low visibility, whether on cloudy days, windy days, rainy days, or early and late in the day. They’re also a great choice for murky water and night fishing, and for probing new bodies of water. In these conditions, the spinning blade vibrates and flashes like a beacon, drawing in predatory fish from afar. In murky water and at night, without the spinner blade and its flashiness, it would be hard, perhaps impossible, for fish to find your jig.
The best time to fish spinner baits is spring and fall, when bass chase shad in the shallows and at creek mouths, sometimes schooling up. They are good for bottom trolling at around one mile per hour, as well as working around structure. The spinner bait shines like a baitfish and stimulates competition in a school. These are also times when it is more likely to be windy and overcast. In colored water, gold blades seem to work best, with silver a conventional choice for clear water situations.
To some extent, the wire arm of a spinner rig helps keep your rig out of the weeds and other obstacles. As you reel slowly and your jig encounters a downed tree or other obstacle, stop for a split second and let your rig drop before making a very small upward action on the jig. The spinning action of the blade makes a fast rip and pop of the lure unnecessary.
The blades on a spinner jig are often attached with a snap swivel or just a standard swivel, with or without noise-making beads on the shank. To rig a PIVIT spinner blade onto a PIVIT Trailer Jig, slide the stopper up and hook the short end of the wire through the eye of the jig head. Slide the stopper back down over the doubled up wire to secure. Do the same at the blade end. This modularity will allow for quick and convenient changes to your rig. That’s it!
So when is not a good time to use spinner baits? They’re not well suited to high pressure, sunny days. This may be because the blade reflects too much light and either spooks fish or turns them off. Thus, the very thing that makes spinner baits effective during low light periods limits their utility in bright conditions.
While there are over a dozen different specific kinds of spinner blades, the majority fall under three main categories: willow, Colorado, and Indiana.
- Willow blades are slender and elongated. These are probably the most common type of spinner blade and can be moved relatively easily (with less resistance) through the water. The smaller the blade, the slower it can be moved through the water. Willows produce less resistance through the water, and are good choices for fast retrieves in clear water.
- Colorado blades are the opposite of willow blades: short and fat. These blades require more effort to be pulled through the water, but still make plenty of low frequency commotion, “thumping,” and flash. Colorados are a good choice for when you want a slower retrieve, especially in murky water conditions. The larger the spinner blade, the more vibration is put out.
- Indiana blades are a hybrid between willow and Indiana rigs.
Now that we have described the three main types of blades, we should talk about double, triple and even quadruple spinner rigs! It's possible to rig up a spinner blade rig jig in multiple sizes, styles and colors of blade. Anglers fish these multiple flashy rigs to try to imitate a whole school of baitfish, rather than just one. A common rig is a double willow with one blade silver and one gold, but you can use double Colorado rigs or mixed styles. A tandem rig of a small Colorado blade up front and a larger willow out the back works well in almost every scenario as well. The options are virtually endless.
The options expand even further if you take colors into the equation. Anglers can buy or paint their blades in almost any color combination imaginable, with chartreuse and orange being common choices. You can also paint the two sides of the blades different colors. The only potential limitation of a painted blade is that it won’t put out as much flash as a silver or gold jig.
One effective retrieve is to “wake” a jig just under the surface, sometimes just an inch under the surface. This technique is called “waking the jig” and is popular when bass seem to be looking up. It’s also a good tactic when you are fishing over grass. To employ a bit more subtle action on the jig, reel in at a medium pace and simply stop reeling every few seconds, thus imparting a slight drop on the bait. As it drops, the blades will swim and the “skirt” will flare. Spinner rigs from 1/4 to 3/8 ounce work well for this technique.
To present the jig at medium levels, make one good pop as the lure hits the water, and then start reeling at a medium to slightly fast pace as the lure makes a pendulum path to the rod as the bait reaches the desired depth. Vary the retrieve by slowing down and speeding up your reeling to mimic a popping action. This is a particularly good tactic around wood and cover.
With heavier jig heads, let the jig sink for several seconds, ideally to the bottom, and slowly crawl the rig over the bottom. This is usually most effective with a 1/2 ounce, 3/4 ounce, or one ounce jig. The chip-proof head on the PIVIT Trailer Jigs coated head keeps your bait looking like new even as it’s bouncing repeatedly on the bottom.
A wide variety of rods will work for spinner jig presentations, with a 7’, medium to medium heavy action doing nicely. Sixteen to twenty pound braided main line works well, with or without a fluorocarbon leader. Spinning rods work, but most pros will tell you that baitcasting reels are preferable because of the increased control and accuracy they afford on a side arm roll cast.
For bass fishing, size #4, #4-1/2 and #5 are the spinner blade sizes you see on the vast majority of all bass spinnerbaits that have willow blades. Size #4 blades are probably more common on 1/4, 3/8 and some 1/2 ounce jigs. Blade sizes #4-1/2 and #5 tend to be used most often on 1/2 to 1 ounce jigs.
Spinner baits are a proven type of lure that has won the Bassmaster Elite tournament. They are extremely versatile and effective, and should be in your box, especially for low light conditions and in the spring and fall.