Johnson Silver Minnow Tips: How To

How-To Fishing Videos
Johnson Silver Minnow bass fishing tips and techniques that are proven to catch more fish! Here's how to fish the Johnson Silver Minnow in detail to catch more bass. Includes underwater video!

The Gear

Johnson Silver Minnow:

Old School Skirt:

Kalin's Grub:

7' 1" Med/Heavy Rod:

7' 2" to a 7' 6" Heavy Power Fast-Action Rod:

6:3.1 Baitcasting Reel:

Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon Line:

Seaguar Smackdown Braided Line:


Items worn in this video:

Simms Sungaitor:

Simms TriComp Cool Fishing Shirt:

SolarFlex SunGloves:

BassResource may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link above.


Glenn: There we go.

Keri: Oh, nice one. That was very quick too.

Glenn: Come here.

Keri: That's a nice fish.

Glenn: There we go. Boy, that was...

Keri: He hit it right at the boat.

Glenn: He hit it right there, boy.

Keri: Right at the boat.

Glenn: I mean, right in his face. That's a good fish.

Keri: Gotta get used to taking those off.

Glenn: Well, once you hook him in, it's got a good hook on it.

Keri: He needs to eat more.

Glenn: Yeah.

Keri: Son, go back up there.

Glenn: He's got a big face and a skinny body. All right, buddy.

Keri: Get back out there and go eat.

Glenn: Now, let's let you go. There you go, all right.

Hey folks, Glenn May here with And today, I wanna talk about a situation that kind of plagues us all. And that is, if you've been fishing over the years, you have your favorite lures that work really well for you but as time goes on, more and more lures are coming out that look really good. You get those and you find you have a lot of success with those. And then you get more and you get more and pretty soon you're running out of room on your tackle box and you start to push aside those ones you first started using, the ones you had a lot of success with, in favor of newer lures that you're having success with as well. And pretty soon those lures tend to end up in your garage somewhere or in your closet and they may never see the light of day again.

Well, that happened to me. Such was the case with the Johnson Silver Minnow. Now, the Johnson Silver Minnow has been around for a century now. And it's a fish producer. It's one of the first lures that I used all the way into my teens and early 20s. I used it a lot and caught a lot of fish on it. And then, you know, as time went on, it began to fall out of favor and I stopped fishing it for quite a while until a few years ago, I picked it back up and I started catching a lot of fish with it again.

So it's not that these lures stop producing, it's just that we tend to grab the latest and greatest and fish those instead. So I wanna reintroduce you to the Johnson Silver Minnow and give you some ideas on how to fish it.

You know, I just did a quick look on YouTube and there's not very many videos out there about it and they don't go into a lot of in-depth information. So I'm gonna give you a brain dump here of everything that I know about the Johnson Silver Minnow and if there's any videos that are made after this, they probably got their ideas from this video. So this is the original. So I'm gonna dive into it and give you guys the lowdown on this thing.

First of all, this is the Johnson Silver Minnow. That's what it looks like, right? It's just a hunk of metal. It's like, really? Why would a fish hit that? Well, the same can be said about other lures too, like the spinnerbait and the Zara Spook. You know, they don't look like anything in nature, but yet they produce, they catch a lot of fish. You know, a spoon doesn't look like anything in nature, but it catches a lot of fish.

So it's the action. That's what it is. The action has that appeal that attracts fish that makes them wanna bite. And such is the case with the Johnson Silver Minnow.

What a Johnson Silver Minnow does when it goes to the water, it's got this wobbling side-to-side action. It's pretty pronounced as it goes through the water. And that is a different look than you'll see with any other baits out there. And that's why it's so attractive to the fish. They're not used to seeing it, especially now not too many people throw this lure very much. So it's something new the fish just haven't seen. So let me walk you through this lure starting with the front.

Now, the front here, as you can see, this line tie, I don't know if you can tell or not, have you noticed that? It's off-kilter. See that? It's not... It's kind of hard to tell, I don't know if you can see or not, but it's not straight, it's at an angle. Even when you look at it down here, it's not perfectly on center, okay?

When you see that, when you take it out of the package, don't fix it. A lot of guys, a big mistake they make, they grab a pair of pliers and try to fix it. It's not a manufacturing defect. That is what gives it that characteristic wobble side-to-side action. So don't mess with that. Leave it like that. That's what you need in order for it to do that.

Now, let's move down this lure a little bit more. Here you've got this wire here. It's a weedless... Well, this is what helps make it weedless. When you first get it out of the package, by the way, that wire is down here. So what you wanna do is you wanna bend it up a little bit and get at least in line with the hook. Mine is...I've been using it a lot lately here so it's gone down a little bit. But then the higher up you get it, the more weedless it is and when the fish bite it, the wire guard goes out of the way so it hooks the fish. So don't be afraid of getting this up here in line. That's what makes it weedless.

And that's what makes this lure so appealing, is you can throw it in thick cover. It's designed to be thrown at thick cover and thick weeds and vegetation. Doesn't mean that it won't get weeds on it and that it won't get hung up but it comes through a lot better than some other lures.

So just make sure that that wire is lined up with the hook and that it's, you know, straight with the hook and everything, and it won't get hung up as much.

Now talking about the hook, the way that they color these baits is they just dip it, it's anodized, okay? So the whole thing is coated, including the hook point. So when you get it out of the package, don't just tie it on and start fishing because you got a dull hook on there. You have to sharpen the hook. It's easy to do, it just takes a few seconds, is not much work at all. If you guys used to throw these way back in the day, you felt like you had to grind away at it for half an hour to get it to sharpen. But now the way they make them it's really easy to sharpen. Just takes seconds. And I've got a video on how to sharpen hooks, just sharpen it that way and you'll be good to go.

All right. So let's get further back behind here. This is the back of the hook. Okay, wait, there's nothing there. Well, actually, this is where you put a trailer on here. Okay. There's two types of trailers you can put on here. One is a skirt. Not the kind like it's... It's a spinnerbait skirt or a jig skirt, but not the kind with the collars in the middle, you want the kind that the collar is on one end. And all you do is you slide it over the hook, and it just hangs on the back like that. And that's an excellent trailer, excellent attractant, it adds a little more appeal to it and the fish will attack it.

Another kind of trailer... Actually, let's talk about the trailer colors. Trailer colors should only be like white or chartreuse. That's it, you don't need to get too crazy. I know there's a bunch of different skirt colors out there but white or chartreuse is all you're gonna need with this bait. It's very simple.

The other kind of trailer that you want to use is a soft plastic of some sort. Not a big, bulky soft plastic because that's gonna kill the action. A thin, smaller plastic is what you want, either like a 4-inch, 5-inch ribbon tail worm, or what I like to do is use grubs. I'll just put a grub here on the back. And, again, just white or chartreuse. And all you do is just to rig that is just take the hook and put it right through the center of the grub, like so, hanging on the back, and there you go. Okay, you're good to go. You're set. That little ribbon tail in the back, that action, does a whole lot, does a lot of action back there and that's what attracts the bass. So that's it, it's a simple little setup.

Now, one thing about rigging. Rigging this is...the best way to do it is with a snap like I have here on the front. Just use a snap. Don't use a snap swivel or don't use a leader with a swivel. Don't use a swivel at all.

This bait, it has a real pronounced side-to-side action and it's really easy to get it to roll and spin. And when you do that, the bass aren't gonna bite it. So if you add a ball-bearing swivel on there, it's just gonna increase its propensity to spin. So don't do that, you're just gonna hurt yourself by doing that. So just put a snap in front. The snap enables it to wobble the most and give it a lot of action.

Now, if you're fishing it in some thicker vegetation, and it's getting, you know, weeds clumped on and things like that, which will happen with a snap, you can tie directly to it, that's okay. It'll still wobble back and forth just not as pronounced but if I had a choice I'd do the snap first but it's not... It's okay to tie directly to it as well.

Keri: There you go.

Glenn: Wow. Okay.

Keri: There you go. Woohoo, we got one.

Glenn: That's a doorbell fish.

Keri: We got one.

Glenn: I was not paying attention. I guess I should have been.

Keri: There you go, smile for the camera. Smile.

Glenn: All right. Come here, you. Here we go. Johnson Silver Minnow, man. He took it right here. Right in his face. Gotta love it. Right on the roof of the mouth too. Boy. One thing about the hooks on this thing, they are on. Wow. Here we go. All right, let's let you go, little boy, and grow up to be a big man. There you go.

Okay. Buying these baits is really simple. They've made this thing, you know, like I said for a century and they've kept it very simple. They only make it in three colors, it's silver, gold, and black. Black is what you use when the water is really dingy or muddy and you got real cloudy waters with low visibility.

Silver, you use that in ultra-clear water, we say, greater visibility than 8-feet deep, you know, 6 to 8-feet deep. And then the gold is what you use in between, that stained color, anywhere when the water visibility is like 2 to 8-feet deep, that's what you use, gold. So I don't have a lot of muddy water in my area but I do have a lot of clear so I use silver a lot. But I also use gold when the water gets a little dingy.

As for sizes, again, they make it kinda weird to get the sizes, they number them, size 1, 2, 3, and 1/2 sizes as well. You don't have to be concerned about all those different sizes, all you need to worry about is size 2 and 2.5, which is approximately 1/4 ounce and 1/2 ounce bait. Those are really the only two you're gonna use the most. So just get those two in a couple of different colors and you're good to go.

All right. So let's talk about rigging with the rod and reel, what kind you wanna use. Here, I'm using a 15-pound fluorocarbon line. I like to use Seaguar Invizx line because you can throw that in anywhere, okay? That line is castable, it's supple, you can cast long distance with it. Plus, you can throw it in all kinds of cover and it comes out without getting nicked and frayed and so it's really durable and is abrasion-resistant. So that's what I use for line.

The rod is a medium-heavy 7-foot rod with a fast-action or a limber tip. That's what I like to do. It enables me to cast that thing out there a mile and bring it back without any problems and I still got the leverage to get that fish out of heavy cover when you're fishing in that thick cover.

The reel is I wanna a slower gear ratio. I like to use a 6:3.1gear ratio, a 6:1.1 gear ratio, sometimes slower than that. This lure, again, has a propensity to spin when you bring it back at faster speeds. So bring it back at slower speed, much slower than maybe a slow rolling spinnerbait almost. You can't run it too fast without it spinning on you. So a slower gear ratio will help you bring it back nice and slow.

Now, if you're throwing the Silver Minnow over muck, you know, over matted vegetation, over weeds, the real thick stuff, then heavy up and I go for like a 7' 2" to a 7' 6" heavy power fast-action rod, spool that with 50-pound braid, I like Seaguar Smackdown Braid. And then I use a reel that's, you know, doesn't have to be a fast-speed reel here, just a 6:3.1, somewhere in there with a real strong drag. That's what's really important, something with more than 20 pounds of drag on here because when the fish grabs it, they're gonna dive back down that matted vegetation. And your job is to get his head out and get it pointed to you and keep him above the water as you, you know, scoot him across really. And that long rod is gonna give you that leverage and that gear ratio is gonna enable you to do that with that strong drag. You'll be able to get that fish out of that cover.

Okay. Places to fish this lure. This lure was originally designed to fish those heavy, thick vegetation areas, especially in the summertime when the mats of vegetation, the mat over and it's really thick, that's when the Johnson Silver Minnow shines.

You throw it on top of this mat, and you just bring it across. You can either just do a straight retrieve, the bass underneath will detect something moving, they'll blow up on it as it comes through it. Or what I like to do is I like to bring it through and I like to tap, tap, tap a little bit, just to let it slap on the surface. In that way the bass have a little bit more vibration to key on.

Bring it across where there's an opening in that vegetation, there's a little hole or something like that, and then just let it fall, just drop it down in there. And it'll just flutter and wobble as it falls in there. If a bass has been tracking it, he'll smash it.

And also expect when you get towards the edge of vegetation, when you're bringing across this mat, when you get right to the edge, expect a strike because that's a lot of times when they happen and, man, it could scare you. Get ready for it. Just don't set the hook right away when you see the explosion, wait until you feel the fish tugging on your line, and then set the hook and you'll catch more that way instead of pulling the lure away from them.

Another way to fish this lure is to submerge it underwater. This is what I like to do the most and I like to fish it through and around flooded bushes and trees and through thicker grass and reeds, through lily pads. Just let it, you know, nice and slow, wobbling through all that and just like you kinda would a spinnerbait but this time you're using the spoon. And you'll be surprised how many fish you catch doing it that way. You don't really have to do anything special with it, just a slow steady wind, bringing it through that cover, and hang on because you can get a strike at any time.

So that's everything about the Johnson Silver Minnow. I sure hope it helps you a lot. These aren't very expensive lures, they're fun to throw and easy to use and I hope you catch a lot of fish with them. For more tips and tricks like this, visit