Bulldozin' BladesBulldozin' Blades The versatile spinnerbait can be fished in a variety of ways. Two tactics the pros employ are "slow-rolling" and "dead dragging".
By Rob Rosario
It was a cold May afternoon, as my friend John and I launched his boat, at Lapeer County's Lake Nepessing. A good-sized lake in mid Michigan, it is known for its chunky bass and abundant northern pike. We had both fished it several times in the past and it is also the site of many local bass club tourneys. We motored over to a sweet spot on the lake's western end. A hump that comes up from 25 feet to 15 feet then to 5 feet. A sheer wall of weeds had already begun to take hold. After several passes with the sonar, we positioned upwind of the hump, and started to cast towards the spot. John started with a deep diving crankbait, while I was casting a ½ oz spinnerbait. On the second cast a healthy two pounder inhaled the blades and came noisily to the boat. Two casts later and a good sized northern couldn't resist. It too was quickly boated. Meanwhile, John had switched to a ¾ oz. spinnerbait and quickly boated a good two pounder.
This was to be the order of the day. Whenever we would find a hump that came up from deep water, that is where the bass were staging for the spawn. Several fat females came to the blades as we slow rolled them over the deep weeds. At one point, as I reached over to check the graph, my spinnerbait was dragging across the bottom. When I reeled in the slack, a four and a half pound largemouth saw fit to scoop it off the bottom. All-in-all twelve bass and four northerns were taken in a four hour period between three and seven in the evening.
Slow rolling and dead dragging spinnerbaits is not a new technique, and is in fact a staple in many anglers book. It will also take big bass, much like a jig-n-pig will. Slow rolling involves using a heavy (1/2 to 1oz) spinnerbait, and a retrieving it slow enough that it ticks the top of weed clumps, stumps, or other low lying cover. Many manufacturers now include these weighty blades in their catalogs. Nichols makes the 44 Mag, a ¾ oz bait with double #4 willowleaf blades. Strike King has the Pro-Ledge, also ¾ oz with small willows. Dead dragging is similar, except you are working the bait on the bottom, crawling it across cover until it is picked up. The reason for the smaller blade is for minimizing the lift that heavy line and larger blades create. Simply put, a ¾ oz spinnerbait, with big Colorado or willows, is not going to stay down. By increasing the weight you have to reduce blade size.
I use two different setups for 'dozing blades. For slow rolling, I use a 6 ½ foot medium heavy casting rod, with a low-gear baitcasting reel, and 12-18 lb. test Maxima. For dead dragging, I use a 7 ½ foot flippin' stick, with an Ambassadeur 4600C3 loaded with 18-20 lb. test. I fish it just like I would a jig-n-pig. Another lure that I like to use for slow rolling is a twin spin. These hybrid spinnerbait/jigs are excellent drop baits and the small #2 colorado or Indiana blades keep it on the bottom. On all these baits I like to put a pork or plastic pork trailer on. In colder weather, I tend toward using pork such as Uncle Josh's big daddy and jumbo pork frogs. While in warmer weather, I go to plastic pork like ZOOM's big salty chunk. It doesn't dry out like pork does during the hotter months of the year.
I will slow roll all year long, if it's a technique that is producing. I caught my biggest smallmouth (yes, they are suckers for it too!) while slow rolling a twin spin in 20 feet of water. Five pounds of bronzeback, in the middle of October. If you haven't tried it, pick up some weighty blades, spool on the heavy stuff, and start 'dozin the bottom with spinnerbaits. I guarantee you will up your catch rate.
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