For The Record- Capt. Chuck Uzzle

Any tackle geek knows they are the next great weapon in the angling arsenal,
saltwater spinnerbaits have come to the coast and the redfish have a new enemy.
They come in array of different colors and each one does a little something
different that sets it apart from the competition. Truth be told there are 2
basic styles and they both do a great job catching fish. The most common style
is the “safety pin” style, famous in bass fishing circles and the one most known
by Texas anglers. The other is the “in line” version, a recruit from the north
that was made famous on walleye lakes. Both of these baits have come to the
tackle forefront and are producing excellent catches of several saltwater
species, most notably redfish.
For many years several of the guides on Sabine Lake, including myself, fished
clients on both Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend as well as Sabine. Over the years we
found several baits that crossed the line from fresh to salt and produced in
both environments. Plugs like the Rat-l-trap, Rogue, tube jigs and others stayed
in our tackle boxes no matter where we fished. The spinnerbait joined that list
when we found out we could catch largemouth bass and redfish in the same
brackish water marshes that surround our area. Many times while night fishing on
the Sabine River we caught mixed stringers containing both bass and redfish, the
bait worked so well we turned our friends and clients onto the program.
Now the rest of the fishing world has come to know the secret that many
Louisiana anglers have known for years, the spinnerbait has a place in
saltwater.
The typical pattern for using spinnerbaits in saltwater involves off colored
water where sight fishing is difficult. The thump or vibration that blades put
out is a top choice fish finding tool. Not only does the spinnerbait vibration
make it easier to find fish you can cover plenty of water with the bait as well.
A perfect example would be the “speed method” that B.A.S.S. angler Kevin Van
Damm applies, he makes hundreds more cast than other guys on tour because he
fishes his spinnerbaits so aggressively. By covering so much water you can rule
unproductive areas quicker and with more confidence.
Now the spinnerbait can also be used in the clear water as well, they will catch
fish in these conditions also. In the marshes around Sabine and Calcasieu we
will routinely throw spinnerbaits at redfish we can see. A favorite technique is
to pull the spinnerbait up to the fish and vary the retrieve by either allowing
the bait to fall or “helicopter” down or to twitch the bait causing the skirt to
flare out and mimic a wounded fish. Both of those techniques will result in bone
jarring strikes from hungry redfish.
Now there are several different things you can do to an average spinnerbait that
will make it more attractive to redfish. The most common is to remove the
synthetic rubber skirt and replace it with a soft plastic; something with a
paddle type tail is preferable. The combination of the blades and the paddle
tail will put out extra vibration and the profile will look like a small shad or
mullet, a winning formula to say the least. If you use a skirted spinnerbait you
can also add a foam earplug or piece of sponge along the shank of the hook, this
will add profile, buoyancy, and also hold any type of scent or attractant much
longer.
The spinnerbait is an age old lure that has found a home in saltwater and should
also have a home in your tackle box. Give them a try because they will certainly
make you a better and more productive angler.