Spinnerbait Fish­ing Strate­gies for Pea­cock Bass

Air Kun­ing and Chen­deroh Dam (Perak, Malaysia)

SA Bass - - International - >> Words by Fish­ing­boy | http://the­fish­ing­boy.blog138.fc2.com/ >> Pic­tures by Fish­ing­boy, Syed Ali and TCE Sports

With the ex­cep­tion of the crankbait, per­haps no other re­ac­tion bait has stood the test of time more so than the spinnerbait. Orig­i­nally in­vented in 1951 and first man­u­fac­tured in St. Louis, Mis­souri, the spinnerbait can come in handy in a myr­iad of angling sit­u­a­tions, quite lit­er­ally any­where in the world. In my opin­ion, it is an in­ven­tion that is well ahead of its time and one of the very few mul­ti­species lure that catches fish in ei­ther cold or warm wa­ter con­di­tions.

Spinnerbait fish­ing in Malaysia

In Malaysia where I grew up, the spinnerbait was a well­re­garded sta­ple bait of avid snake­head an­glers long be­fore other op­tions be­came more widely avail­able in tackle shops across the coun­try. Though spin­ner­baits have re­cently been over­shad­owed by the rag­ing suc­cess of crankbaits and swim­baits for some styles of fish­ing, it does not mean that spin­ner­baits have be­come to­tally ob­so­lete, in my opin­ion, cer­tainly not when it comes to pea­cock bass fish­ing be­cause not a lot of baits will ac­tu­ally al­low you to cover wa­ter as ef­fec­tively as a spinnerbait un­der a wide va­ri­ety of warm wa­ter con­di­tions in Malaysia.

Spin­ner­baits ex­cel when the wa­ter has at least a lit­tle stain to it, gen­er­ally in mid-20s to low-30s de­gree Cel­sius. Though soft swim­baits can do a bet­ter job in lakes that have bait­fish-dom­i­nant for­age, es­pe­cially black wa­ter lakes with pre­dom­i­nantly open wa­ter cover, a spinnerbait is an ef­fec­tive lure in sit­u­a­tions where pea­cock bass move to the edges of cover. In fact, the lat­ter is ac­tu­ally a pretty com­mon sce­nario in a lot of lakes in Malaysia. There­fore, that is why I al­ways have a spinnerbait tied on, be­cause no mat­ter where you fish, you will never be far away from the near­est cover.

Spinnerbait fish­ing con­di­tions

What are the most com­mon sce­nar­ios that call for a spinnerbait? Cover and wa­ter con­di­tions aside, one key el­e­ment that makes the spinnerbait such an ef­fec­tive sit­u­a­tional lure is wind-blown cover. Where there is pre­vail­ing wind, I will head for the near­est cover and I comb those ar­eas thor­oughly with spin­ner­baits. All in all, windy con­di­tions usu­ally mean it is prime-time for spinnerbait bites. No mat­ter the lake, when the wind blows, whether in stained or semi-clear wa­ter, pea­cock bass will be mov­ing up the wa­ter col­umn in search of for­age.

Spin­ner­baits are ma­jor fish pro­duc­ers, es­pe­cially around edges of cover. They al­low an­glers to cover a lot of wa­ter across the wa­ter col­umn on the same cast through mainly snaggy cover. Wind-blown sur­face rip­ples re­duce light pen­e­tra­tion and en­cour­age pea­cock bass to move closer to the edges of cover. Wind is ba­si­cally caused by dif­fer­ences in

at­mo­spheric pres­sure, when air moves from ar­eas of higher to lower pres­sure. The fall­ing barom­e­ter makes pea­cock bass more in­clined to for­age and chase. The ef­fec­tive re­sult of that is a much en­larged strike zone where you do not have to put the bait within inches of a fish’s nose. Just get it close enough for the fish to see or sense the bait’s vi­bra­tion and you are bound to find ac­tion.

Fish high-per­cent­age ar­eas

Pea­cock bass will belt a spinnerbait from a va­ri­ety of cover per se, but they tend to show a pref­er­ence on any given body of wa­ter, on any given day. So, the first step re­volves around find­ing those high-per­cent­age ar­eas. When I am fish­ing on ex-min­ing lake fish­eries in Air Kun­ing, I ba­si­cally look for grass, hy­drilla, hy­acinth or any avail­able cover. Find­ing pea­cock bass with spin­ner­baits is of­ten a re­sult of trial and er­ror, from re­trieve speeds, the depth you are fish­ing and bait styles that is the best on any given con­di­tion. Use the spinnerbait’s snag-re­sis­tant prop­er­ties to your ad­van­tage and ef­fi­ciently cover wa­ter that is in­ac­ces­si­ble to other lures. I will cast be­yond cover where pos­si­ble and then drive my spinnerbait close to it. I re­peat the process and vary my re­trieve speed and depth ac­cord­ing to pre­vail­ing con­di­tions.

I like the power-fi­nesse spinnerbait ap­proach to pea­cock bass fish­ing. In fact, that is my go-to ap­proach in re­sponse to angling pres­sure on lakes in Air Kun­ing and Chen­deroh, in up­state Perak. Angling pres­sure can cre­ate fi­nesse fish­ing sit­u­a­tions and even big lakes are not com­pletely im­mune to pres­sure. As an­glers, we should al­ways con­sider what we are try­ing to im­i­tate with the spin­ner­baits we throw, start­ing with size be­cause size and pro­file mat­ters.

Im­i­tate lo­cal for­age

Most lakes in Air Kun­ing have a bait­fish-dom­i­nant for­age base. Over there, I will throw compact spin­ner­baits with small blades such as O.S.P High Pitcher. For those who pre­fer reg­u­lar spin­ner­baits, 3/16 or 1/4-oz with smaller blades make good al­ter­na­tives. I pre­fer a Colorado lead blade with wil­low leaf trail­ing for power-fi­nesse pre­sen­ta­tion around shal­low wa­ter cover. If I need to re­trieve the bait a lit­tle faster, deeper or tighter to cover, I switch to tan­dem

wil­low blades. I like to use white, sil­ver or other nat­u­ral col­ors in semi-stained wa­ter and loud col­ors, such as pink, chartreuse or even blood red in stained and muddy wa­ter con­di­tions. There are var­i­ous re­trieve styles for spin­ner­baits but I gen­er­ally pre­fer to keeps things sim­ple most of the time. I caught nearly every pea­cock bass on steady re­trieve, but some­times you have to throw in lit­tle pauses, pops and mix it up to en­tice a big bite.

Tackle sug­ges­tions

Hav­ing the right rod is re­ally im­por­tant when throw­ing a spinnerbait for pea­cock bass. I ba­si­cally rely on two medium-high mo­du­lus rods de­pend­ing on con­di­tions and size of spin­ner­baits. In my opin­ion, medium-high mo­du­lus rods can im­prove your hook-up ra­tio with spin­ner­baits greatly. When us­ing 1/4 or 5/16-oz spin­ner­baits around sparse cover, I use a 6’-9” medium Ma­jor­craft Corzza CZC692M cast­ing rod paired with a 5.8:1 Daiwa Al­phas 103 cast­ing reel and 12lb-test Sun­line fluoro­car­bon line. For heav­ier 3/8 or 1/2-oz spin­ner­baits, I use a 7’ Ma­jor­craft Corzza CZC-702H cast­ing rod paired with a 6.3:1 Team Daiwa TD-Z 105H cast­ing reel and 14lb-test Sun­line fluoro­car­bon line. Shorter rods are more ac­cu­rate when I am work­ing around shal­low wa­ter cover. When I am cov­er­ing big hy­drilla flats and screw palm banks on Chen­deroh Lake, I like the ex­tra length and power of a heavy-ac­tion rod to help me get ex­tra dis­tance on my cast and drive hard

fight­ing fish away from nasty cover.

Ex­per­i­ment and be ver­sa­tile

Im­por­tantly, I be­lieve pea­cock bass an­glers must re­main ver­sa­tile when fish­ing a spinnerbait, es­pe­cially to­day in Malaysia where angling pres­sure is im­mense. Con­di­tions on the lakes all over the coun­try can change rapidly for bet­ter or for worse and what works to­day may not work tomorrow, es­pe­cially dur­ing the in­ter-mon­soon pe­ri­ods.

The bot­tom line is to pay at­ten­tion to the con­di­tions and ex­per­i­ment to en­sure your bait im­i­tates the preva­lent lo­cal for­age.

Be sure to check out Air Kun­ing and Chen­deroh Lake on your next va­ca­tion to Perak, Malaysia. Thank you for read­ing and I hope you find this ar­ti­cle in­ter­est­ing. Fish hard, fish well and god bless.

Ac­knowl­edge­ments

I would like to thank my spon­sors TCE Sports Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), Nice Fish Distri­bu­tion (UK), Bitez and SportyFish Se­ries (Sin­ga­pore) for their sup­port and con­tri­bu­tion.

I caught this solid 3lb’er around scat­tered grass on a pink 1/4-oz spinnerbait with tan­dem wil­low blades

Wind-blown iso­lated bushes such as these in Air Kun­ing can be fish mag­nets dur­ing cer­tain pe­ri­ods of the day

Spin­ner­baits are ‘big fish’ bait! My friend, Robert Tan caught this solid fe­male on flooded hy­drilla

Do not let muddy wa­ter and screw palm cover in­tim­i­date you on Chen­deroh Lake. A spinnerbait can get near those fish hold­ing cover with­out get­ting hung up

Some of the cus­tom-made spin­ner­baits that I use on my most re­cent trip to Malaysia

This is my Chen­deroh Lake per­sonal best (pe­riod). I caught this fish on a blood red 1/4-oz spinnerbait with tan­dem wil­low blades on top of a flooded hy­drilla flat that is be­side a screw palm is­land

O.S.P. makes some of the best compact pro­file spin­ner­baits. The High Pitcher se­ries spinnerbait is su­perbly well bal­anced out of the pack­age, durable and comes fit­ted with ex­tremely sharp hooks

My heavy spin­ner­bait­ing setup (7’ Ma­jor­craft Corzza CZC702H paired with a 6.3:1 Team Daiwa TD-Z 105H cast­ing reel and 14lb-test Sun­line fluoro­car­bon line) sits next to my top­wa­ter setup

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