If you could only choose a couple of lures to fish all year, a spinnerbait would have to be at the top of your list. A spinnerbait must be considered a lure for all seasons because it can be retrieved at various speeds, including a slow roll.
The standard retrieve for a spinnerbait involves steadily cranking your reel so the lure moves along a couple of feet below the surface at a medium speed. However, when bass are lethargic and don’t want to chase your lure, you need to “slow roll” the spinnerbait so the lure moves slowly and its blades are barely turning or “slow rolling.”
When poor conditions, such as hot or cold water, drive bass to the bottom, you should resort to slow-rolling a spinnerbait. The slow, steady retrieve catches bass because the fish are attracted to the vibration of the blades and rarely see a spinnerbait on the bottom.
Late winter and early spring are ideal times for slow-rolling blade baits. When water temperatures climb into the 50-degree range in the spring, try slow-rolling a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with a single Colorado blade for bass feeding on shad during this time. If the water is clear, select a blade bait with a white skirt and a white blade but switch to a white-and-chartreuse model with a gold blade for dirtier water. Your line size for slow-rolling depends on the type of water you are fishing. If you are working the lure through timber, try 20-pound test; for open water areas, use 14-pound test in clearer water and 17-pound test for muddy water.
Look for rocky banks near deep water to slow roll a spinnerbait along the bottom in early spring. Slow rolling the lure over tops of brush piles in coves is another effective tactic for prespawn bass. Another ideal situation for slow rolling a spinnerbait in early spring is along windy points on sunny afternoons. When using the slow roll retrieve for springtime bass, work the spinnerbait in the 1- to 6-foot range most of the time.
Slow-rolling a spinnerbait also produces strikes from bass at night during the summertime. When it’s too windy to effectively present a plastic worm to bass in deep water, I switch to a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce black spinnerbait with a single black Colorado blade. I slow roll the lure over brush piles and along bluffs to catch bass 15 to 20 feet deep.