During more than thirty years as a fishing guide on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River, many questions have been aimed in my direction. Invariably, someone will ask, “If you could choose only one lure that would catch bass on any lake, at anytime, what would you use?”
Since I constantly sing the praises of the Swirleybird, and use them successfully on Lake Lanier every day, most of my clients and others, who know me well, would be sure that the “Bird” would be my choice…wrong! Without question, the Swirleybird is the most productive lure I have ever used in any open water situation, but if you add grass, brush, or any other debris to the equation, it is not versatile enough.
The key word is versatility, which makes the selection pretty simple. Only one basic lure fits that bill, and it is the single-spin spinnerbait with assorted dressings. This versatile artificial bait can be employed effectively from the top to the bottom of a lake at any time of the year in most any kind of structure. Only a lack of imagination can limit one’s success with the single-spin spinnerbait.
By purchasing several different sizes, shapes, and colors of blades, experimentation can begin. In addition, hundreds of different colors, materials, and configurations of skirts are available. One will also discover a seemingly limitless number of plastic, pork, and synthetic trailers on the market to enhance the action or fit the spinnerbait to a particular purpose.
For instance, one might use a six-inch plastic worm as a trailer during the pre-spawn part of the springtime with great success on secondary points, or fish a larger single-spin with black blades and skirts over underwater rocks and brush at night in the warmer months. Modify the single-spin spinnerbait slightly, and it can even replace a vertically jigged structure spoon. In fact, once while fishing Lake Sinclair during the winter, I spotted a huge school of fish suspended at about 45 feet on my Lowrance graph recorder, but had forgotten to bring along any jigging spoons. So, I tried the next best lure…a nickel-bladed, single-spin spinnerbait. I made it more enticing by removing the skirt and replacing it with a three-inch, white, curly-tailed grub. In less than an hour, I boated a limit of largemouth bass that would have averaged more than three pounds.
With a pork frog trailer and a rubber or mylar skirt, the single-spin becomes a jig and pig with an attractor. This configuration is deadly on cold weather bass along steep, rocky bluffs like those found in the mountain lakes and the northern end of Lake Lanier.
Visibly schooling bass are often caught during the fall by making long casts into the splashes, and employing a yo-yo, stop-and-go type retrieve with a plain white single-spin. Also, never pass up a blowndown tree along the shore. If the bait is controlled properly with the rod and the retrieve to keep it upright, the single-spin is practically weedless in brush or grass.
A spinnerbait should be matched to the job. For instance, in muddy water, more flash and color is needed and normally slower speeds. This equates to larger blades and brighter colors. When fishing clear water, employ smaller or more streamlined blades for faster retrieves. Colors in clear water are more effective when matched to the tint of the water.
Buy a few spinnerbait bodies in 1/4 ounce and 3/8 ounce, several blades in different sizes, colors and shapes, and a variety of trailers. Spend some time experimenting on your favorite fishin’ hole, and you should discover a lure that adds plenty of excitement to every trip!