Try Spinnerbaits at Night
We went to Roosevelt one night with Clifford Pirch, and I was a bit surprised when he started throwing a spinnerbait. He explained that with a spinnerbait, you can cover quite a bit of water fairly quickly, looking for active fish, and even in the dark, a single large Colorado blade thumping along really gets attention. Spinnerbaits are also resistant to snagging on rocks and submerged trees. When you’re fishing one at night, a dark color is best so it silhouettes against the sky.
Hop It Up And Down
Work the spinnerbait as close to cover and structure as you can, letting the lure linger around the best-looking places. If the fish are showing up suspended, let the line be slightly slack and allow the bait to just flutter down through them. Once it’s down there, hop it up and down like a jig, but very slowly.
Or you can drag a spinnerbait over structure at night as well. You just barely need to move it to keep the blade moving. A half-ounce spinnerbait is usually his choice because it falls a little faster. “Give me the heavy stuff,” Clifford told us, “I’m not one to waste time getting some little bitty bait down there!”
We fished a breakline, and the fish you’d normally catch on worms at night were more than a foot off the bottom, so the spinnerbait was a much better choice. In clear water the structure bite is always a little better, and Pirch likes to hop a blade down the breakline and get all the flash and vibration that he can’t get with a jig or a worm.
The night bite feels like a normal spinnerbait bite, he says – sometimes a thump, sometimes it just feels heavy. Smaller blades give you a pretty good feel for the bites, and they also help the bait stay down, so in deep water they are a good choice. You can cover a piece of structure a lot faster with a spinnerbait than you can with a dropshot or whatever, and in the summer the fish don’t mind a faster retrieve. Spinnerbaits are also good big-fish baits, so that’s another plus.
One more advantage to fishing a spinnerbait at night is that it is a lot less apt to get tangled in submerged trees and stuff where a jig would get hung up. Also, you can just reel it up and throw to any boils without having to pick up another rod – which is exactly how Pirch caught a fish on Goose Flats. He can even work the spinnerbait fast enough to be a topwater bait and target the fish that come up on the flats at night to feed in the dark when the skiers and jet skis are gone. A spinnerbait is just a dynamite way to fish at night, so give it a try.