Best Spinnerbaits for Bass Fishing


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Spinnerbaits are some of the most productive yet simplest bass lures of all time. They can be used to target spotted, largemouth, and smallmouth bass from a foot of water out to about 20 feet with great effectiveness and efficiency. These baits usually mimic a wide range of forage around a variety of cover throughout all water clarities. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with a spinnerbait.

I’ve caught more 4-pound plus bass on a spinnerbait than any other lure. These moving baits produce strikes time and time again. The ability to throw them in almost any situation and any time of year makes them extremely versatile. Every serious bass angler should have a lineup of different spinnerbait styles, colors, and weights. And beginner anglers should learn to fish these baits right out of the gate. Below is a simple guide to the best spinnerbaits broken down into seven categories, along with tips on how to fish them.

A bass caught on a Nicholas Catalyst spinnerbait. Shaye Baker

How We Picked the Best Spinnerbaits

With 30-plus years of spinnerbait fishing experience and hundreds of thousands of casts made with these lures, I’ve learned a thing or two. I’ve also had the luxury of fishing with and interviewing dozens of other anglers who love throwing spinnerbaits, some of them among the best bass fishermen in the world. Their opinions have helped me to form my own. 

That being said, I’ve taken my experience, research, and knowledge to create this list of my top eight favorite spinnerbaits. There are dozens of great lures that didn’t make this list, but I wanted to keep it short and simple. So, I broke it down into seven different categories based on style and design. When reading through the recommendations, think about where and how you fish. This will help you tailor your selection to produce the most bites possible. All of these baits are winners, and many have helped me land big fish in big moments. Here are the best spinnerbaits you can buy.

Best Spinnerbaits: Reviews & Recommendations

How to Fish Traditional Spinnerbaits

When most people hear the term spinnerbait, they think of a lure with a larger willow leaf blade at the end of the arm and a smaller Colorado blade closer to the bend. This is the most common style of spinnerbait, and a lot can be done with a tandem Colorado/willow leaf spinner in the 3/8- to 1/2-ounce range. These baits fish fantastic in stained water, especially in cooler water temps (60 to 70 degrees) and on windy days. 

When thinking about the best do-it-all spinnerbaits, two different Colorado/willow leaf spinnerbaits come to mind—the Nichols Catalyst and the Z-Man Sling BladeZ. These are the spinnerbaits I am most confident picking up in any situation. Both lures have produced bites for me year after year, and I trust them equally. Below is a closer look at each bait with specific recommendations for size, blade combination, and color skirt.

The author's go-to spinnerbaits rigged up.
The author’s go-to spinnerbaits rigged up. Shaye Baker

Nichols Catalyst

Specs

  • Weight: 3/8 oz., 1/2 oz.
  • Color: Silver/gold, Bombshell Shad

This bait is one of the latest creations by famed spinnerbait manufacturer Nichols Lures, which brought the storied Pulsator Spinnerbait to market years ago. Priced at $9.99, the Catalyst is available in nine colors and two sizes—3/8 and 1/2 ounce. Featuring 24k-gold and nickel-plated finishes on the head, blade arm, and hook, these baits shine in the water from front to back. Nichols also used pro-tie skirts with these baits, which hold up as good or better than any other skirt out there.

Z-Man Sling BladeZ

Specs

  • Weight: 3/8 oz., 1/2 oz.
  • Colors: Chartreuse Pearl, Bluegill, Clearwater Shad, Spot Remover, Pearl Ghost

A newcomer to the spinnerbait world, the Z-Man Sling BladeZ has quickly become one of my favorites. My dad first put me on this bait, and it’s helped us both catch key fish in tournaments. Luke Clausen (previous winner of both the Bassmaster Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup) worked with Z-Man to design this bait, using a low-vis 17-7 stainless steel wire frame, a 5/0 O’Shaughnessy VMC hook, and a wire trailer keeper. The company offers a good sampling of eight color choices in the Sling BladeZ, and all the skirts come hand-tied. This spinnerbait is available in 3/8-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce models ranging from $7.99 to $8.99.

How to Fish Double Willow Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits with two willow leaf blades are best suited for clear water. And, since the two willow leaf blades create less resistance, these baits can be fished closer to the water’s surface. This makes double willow spinnerbaits baits great for burning just below the water on breezy days, even if it is fairly sunny. Here’s a great double willow option.

Best Double Willow: War Eagle Nickel Spinnerbait

Specs

  • Weight: 3/8 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz.
  • Colors: Blue Herring, Hot White Shad, Mouse, Spot Remover

These baits feature hand-tied skirts and come packing a punch with an ultra-sharp Mustad needle point hook. There are nearly two dozen skirt and blade color combinations available in this bait, with four sizes to choose from: 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4 ounces. They all retail for $7.99, making this one of the more affordable spinnerbaits available.

One word of caution with the War Eagle spinnerbaits. Part of what makes a spinnerbait stand out from the competition is its action. Lighter gauge wires have more flex and thus allow the blades to give off more vibration and flash. But these more flexible and thinner wires break quicker, too. This is the Achilles heel of the War Eagle baits. They are awesome, but they don’t last long.

However, these baits are so good that many competitive anglers just buy them and retire them after a tournament or two. It’s about the same difference as going through a pack of worms in a day. War Eagle spinnerbaits are fantastic at catching bass, but just know they won’t last long.

How to Fish Double Colorado Spinnerbaits

Fishing a spinnerbait with double Colorado blades is a great way to generate strikes in muddy water. The hard thumping blades make it easier for bass to locate the lure in low visibility. The added flash of the rounder Colorado blades also helps the bass hone in on the bait. The extra resistance these blades produce also slows down the retrieve of the bait, giving fish ample time to locate it. 

I usually make my own double Colorado spinnerbaits because I’ve been unable to find the exact combination of blades I want in a readily available lure. The main difference between what I build and what most companies offer is the size of the Colorado blades. I like to use two big blades, sizes 4, 5, and even 6, on occasion. Most double Colorado spinnerbaits on the market come with something closer to the size 3 and size 4 range. That said, here is a look at a great double Colorado spinnerbait.

Best Double Colorado: Booyah Covert Double Colorado Spinnerbaits

Booyah’s Covert was designed by Jason Christie, one of the best spinnerbait anglers to ever wet a line. Outfitted with top-of-the-line Hildebrandt blades and other quality components, these baits are mass-produceded by Booyah to directly mimic the spinnerbaits that Christie and his family built for themselves for decades. The Covert Double Colorado Spinnerbait comes in 11 colors and four sizes, ranging from 3/8 to 1 ounce. They retail for $9.99 to $10.99.

Best Night Blade: Booyah Moon Talker

If you’re going night fishing, a black spinnerbait with a big Colorado blade is hard to beat. I’ve caught two 8-pound plus largemouth bass on a “night blade” like this and dozens of 3- to 4-pound Alabama spots on the Coosa River. The 3/4 ounce bait has a massive size 6 black nickel Colorado blade, which generates a lot of thump to help the fish find the bait in the dark.

There are also 3/8- and 1/2-ounce versions with a size 5 blade. But the heavier bait with the bigger blade gets down a little deeper and thumps harder, which I like. The hook and the wire are stout, and the whole package comes together to create a great spinnerbait for targeting big bass at night. Retailing for $6.99, you won’t find a better night blade.

A spinnerbait paired with a soft plastic lure.
The Booyah Moon Talker paired with a black creature bait. Shaye Baker

Best Deep Blade: Ledgebuster 

There’s no brand name more synonymous with off-shore spinnerbait fishing than Strikezone’s Ledgebuster. These baits are offered in weights up to 1 1/2 ounces. The Mustad Needle Point Hook is sharp and strong, and the oversized willow leaf blade offers all the flash you’ll ever need to draw strikes deep. These baits are also very affordable, priced at only $6.79 at Tackle Warehouse. 

Though I’ll admit I haven’t fished with this particular bait much myself, it would be the bait I’d buy if I were looking to fish on ledges or in deeper water during the daytime. These baits have heavy heads paired with massive blades to where they can get down deep and create a lot of vibration—a deadly combination for fishing around offshore structure in stained to muddy water.

Best with Three-Plus Blades: Booyah Super Shad Quad Blade

When bass are keying in on small baitfish in particular (as they often do in the fall or when gorging on shad spawns in the spring), a spinnerbait with numerous small blades can be extremely effective. I’ve actually made my own version of this bait in the past. But if I had to buy one off the shelf today, it would be the Booyah Super Shad Quad Blade. These baits weigh 3/8 ounce and have four graduated willow leaf blades on a long blade arm. There are four skirt color options, and each bait sports a 4/0 Mustad Ultra Point Hook and retails for $7.49. 

Best Undersized: Nichols 33 Mini Double Willow

Again, when bass are focused on small baitfish, especially in the fall in particular, a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait works really well. These lures have smaller blades and a smaller profile as a whole, but they can still catch big fish. On top of that, they’re great for small waters, like creeks and ponds. Just make sure you buy a durable one, like the Nichols 33 Mini. 

Nichols didn’t compromise on strength when designing this smaller bait. All seven colors come in 1/4 ounce and have the top components you’d expect in a larger spinnerbait. These baits are also molded with the majority of the weight hidden behind the skirt, as opposed to visible in the head of the bait, to further minimize the overall profile of the lure. Priced at $6.99 and only available on Tackle Warehouse, this is a great little bait for catching fish anywhere, anytime.

The Mini 33 spinnerbait
The author holds up the Nichols Mini 33 in his hand. Shaye Baker

FAQs

Q: What is the best spinnerbait for murky water?

If you’re fishing in murky water, you’ll want to use a spinnerbait with more vibration to help the fish feel and find the bait. This means you’ll want your spinnerbait to have bigger and/or rounder blades. The Booyah Covert Double Colorado spinnerbait is a great selection in murky to muddy water when there is less than a foot of visibility. If the water is closer to murky than it is muddy, you can back down to a tandem spinnerbait, like Z-Man Sling BladeZ Colorado Willow spinnerbait.

Q: Can you use a spinnerbait in a river?

Spinnerbaits are great lures to use in rivers. River currents position fish behind rocks, wood, and other cover, and reeling a spinnerbait through these places is a great way to get a bit. Creeks and rivers also muddy up quite regularly, making spinnerbaits that much better in the lower visibility situations. Typically, a 3/8-ounce tandem spinnerbait like the Nichols Catalyst Colorado Willow spinnerbait is a great lure to try in a river.

Q: What is the best bass lure for creeks? 

The ¼-ounce Nichols 33 Mini Double Willow Spinnerbait is a great bait for creek fishing. Thanks to its compact size, it more closely resembles the forage found in smaller creeks, and it’s an easier-to-eat meal for the smaller gamefish that live there. Inline spinners like Rooster Tails are also among the best bass lures for creeks.

Best Spinnerbaits: Final Thoughts

Just hearing or reading the word spinnerbait evokes dozens of core memories of big bites from key moments in my fishing career. Feeling the thump of a blade turning as you slide a big spinnerbait down the side of a log—and then that thump and tension disappear as a big bass overtakes the bait from behind is incredible. I love throwing these lures. Did I mention that yet?

If you don’t fish spinnerbaits that much, take my advice and start doing so. And hopefully these tips above will point you in the right direction and better equip you to pick out the best spinnerbaits for whatever set of conditions you’re up against.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.





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