Hey, John Crews, Bassmaster Elite Series Pro here. I've got in my hand, on my rod, a spybait. Now, a spybait is a technique that's been around for a number of years, and it seems like that it gets popular, and then it kind of dies off. It gets popular, and then kind of dies off. But I'll tell you, it's a bait that's probably underutilized on the pro level, and on the amateur level.
I'm gonna walk you through kind of my setup. The setup is very important, plus I'm gonna talk to you about the places that you want to fish a spybait. Now we're gonna start off with the equipment. It's a spinning rod deal. It's a light-line technique, for sure.
And a lot of the Japanese enthusiasts, where this technique came from, they're using really light-line, 4 and 5-pound test. I can't quite stomach that. I'll fish it on 6 and 7-pound Sunline Sniper. That's my preferred leader material. But you wanna make sure you have a longer leader, like a 20- to 22-foot leader on that.
And then I'm gonna have 12 pounds Sunline Siglon. It's a very sensitive line. It's very supple. I'm gonna turn the boat just a little bit. It's a very supple line, so it casts that spybait an absolute country mile. And then the part about that braid backing is it when you make those really long casts, you can get a good immediate hookup when those fish bite it.
And, as I mentioned, it's a spinning rod technique. I actually designed a spin bait rod, spybait rod for Cashion. It's a 7 foot, 6 inch. Seven foot's okay. Seven-three is better, but a seven-six is by far the best length. That longer length in a rod for the spybait makes a huge difference when you're hooking up with the fish, and when you're fighting those fish. That longer rod can really get those fish in the boat, and keep them buttoned up, especially when we're talking about smallmouth.
Now, a spybait is tremendous on smallmouth. It's huge. And I think that's probably where it's the most popular is it's smallmouth. But it can catch some giant largemouth, and it is very good as well on spotted bass. So, no matter what species you're targeting, you can't forget about that spybait.
Now, how are you gonna fish it? Where are you gonna fish it? That kind of stuff... Let me just mention, first of all, as we're talking about that stuff, the spybait is a great way to utilize forward-facing sonar. If you have forward-facing sonar, and you're seeing fish in the middle to upper part of the water column, they're not coming up and hitting topwater baits.
Maybe you're pitching drop shots or something on them, and they're not following those baits down. Spybait could be a very good way to catch it.
Now, I didn't mention... This is a SPRO Spin John 80. This is a bait that I designed. There was flaws with the other spybaits that I was fishing, so we designed this Spin John 80.
It's got a swivel on the front, blades on both ends. There is something to the blades on both ends, the vibration that that gives off. It has extra drawing power. As I mentioned, you want a comparable bait to think about, "All right, what am I using this similarly to?"
A jerkbait's probably the closest thing, but you definitely don't fish it like a jerkbait. It has that similar drawing power of a jerkbait, but it doesn't require all of the effort. You're gonna be throwing this on spinning rod, as I mentioned, and going through that. But here, just to give you a little sample cast, I'm gonna throw it out here kind of in the middle of this channel. There's a lot of bait-fish and stuff out here.
I'm gonna let it sink for just a few seconds, then I'm just gonna slowly reel it. And as that bait is slowly being reeled, it rocks back and forth just like this. It rocks back and forth, and those blades are gonna be spinning front and back, and there is a lot of drawing power from a visual standpoint that that spy bait has. Just absolute slow.
And believe it or not, you'll have a lot of those fish come up behind it, and bump it before they actually eat it. So, when they bump it, don't go setting the hook. Just keep reeling. If you feel them load up on it, then you can set the hook on them, and just keep that rod fully loaded. But if you have this fish bump, and they don't end up getting it, just stop your bait because what it's gonna do, it's gonna shimmy really hard on the way down. I get a lot of fish following up that spybait will eat it on just a little quick pause. Let that bait fall down a little bit more and catching a lot of fish.
I mentioned clearwater. It is a great clearwater technique because of all that drawing power of the bait, rocking a little bit. So, let's kind of talk a little bit about colors. Went through the technique where you're fishing it. It's a clearer water technique for sure. Slightly stained water. I would say you want at least 2 to 4 feet of visibility.
I'll tell you a quick story about on myself. When the spybaits first got popular, I thought it was silly looking. I didn't think it would be any much of a trend. I bought one, went out there, water that was very stained, probably no more than two-foot visibility. I threw a spybait out there, and I let it sink. And on my first cast, I'm not kidding you, first cast, I caught a 13-inch bass. It got almost all the way to the bottom, and then it went [vocalization]. Looked like a worm bite.
I said, "I'm pretty sure I know what that was." I started reeling. Sure enough, I caught it. It was a 13-inch smallmouth bass. And just kind of a funny story. And ever since then, I've loved them. I've loved the spybaits and the spinbait, especially the Spin John 80.
But as far as colors go, this is smoke purple. It's one of my favorite smallmouth colors. Smallmouth love purple and they love a subtle type colors like that. That's definitely one of my favorites. Probably my all-time favorite that works in the most water conditions is called Matt Shad. It's got this matted gloss finish. It's kind of purple-ish on the back. Little bait, fishy looking. That's probably my number one all-around color.
For spotted bass, there's a color... It's called herring pink. Definitely a really good... It's got a little chrome insert. And it looks like a little baby blueback herring, in my opinion. I think that's one of my favorites up north. If you're fishing those lakes that have a lot of perch in them, we have a real perch gold blades on there.
A lot of people understand that gold blade smallmouth connection. We continued that. And then if the water's got any kind of stain, or you're fishing low light, nasty shad, or what I have on here is Cell Mate. Any kind of lower light condition where you're around shad, those are kind of my go-to choices.
So, just anywhere you see baitfish action, any type of place that you fish a jerkbait, that's where you're gonna be fishing the Spin John, or any other spybait. So hopefully, that'll help you catch fish spring, summer, and fall. Don't sleep on it in the wintertime too. It's a great wintertime technique, especially for those big spotted bass down south, spybait. Don't let it slip by you too.