SA Bass - - Technology -

1. Tex­ture

Blades are ei­ther ham­mered (stamped or dim­pled) or smooth. “As a rule, smooth blades are the best choice for deep-water ap­pli­ca­tions be­cause they have less re­sis­tance,” Bolton says. “Less re­sis­tance makes it eas­ier to fish the bait deeper and keep it there.”

Bolton likes ham­mered blades for shal­low ap­pli­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly when the water is dirty or stained. The ham­mered tex­ture pro­duces ex­tra flash, and the added re­sis­tance makes it eas­ier to fish the bait shal­low at slower speeds.

2. Style

Wil­low leaf: The wil­low-leaf blade doesn’t pro­duce as much vi­bra­tion as other blade styles, but pro­duces a tremen­dous amount of flash and comes through brush and aquatic veg­e­ta­tion with ease. Bolton says wil­low-leaf blades are well-suited for a num­ber of dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions in shal­low water or deep. He likes them mostly in clear or slightly stained water that is rel­a­tively warm – 55 de­grees and up. The wil­low leaf is his bread-and-but­ter blade when fish­ing deep ledges or grass be­yond 10 feet deep.

Colorado: The round Colorado blade pro­duces a sig­nif­i­cant amount of vi­bra­tion or “thump,” which al­lows an an­gler to re­trieve the bait at a rel­a­tively slow pace and keep it in the strike zone. The ex­tra vi­bra­tion can be a big plus when dingy water ham­pers a bass’ abil­ity to see, but Bolton also likes it in cold water. The Colorado is the tra­di­tional choice for night­fish­ing and is Bolton’s choice for slowrolling mid-range depths around riprap, rock points or bluffs.

In­di­ana: The teardrop-shaped In­di­ana doesn’t dis­place quite as much vi­bra­tion as the Colorado and pro­duces a lit­tle less flash than a wil­low leaf. This is Bolton’s fa­vorite blade for stained and off-color shal­low water. “It gives you the best of both worlds, plus you can fish it a lit­tle deeper, say 10 feet, at faster speeds with a larger head size if you need to,” he says.

3. Ar­range­ment

While there are bass spin­ner­baits avail­able with as many as four blades, sin­gle and dou­ble models are the most pop­u­lar. Bolton throws a lot of tan­dem set­ups and says that al­ter­ing blade style and size is a good way to cus­tom-tai­lor a bait to the con­di­tions.

“The thing you al­ways need to re­mem­ber with any blade com­bi­na­tion is that the big­ger the blade you put in front, clos­est to the head, the more vi­bra­tion you will take away from the blade on the swivel,” he says. “How­ever, what you give up in vi­bra­tion you will gain in flash and lift.”

For ex­am­ple, Bolton says he can es­sen­tially throw a bulky 1-ounce spin­ner­bait where he’d nor­mally use a 1/2-ouncer by plac­ing a big No. 7 Colorado blade on the swivel and a No. 4 or No. 5 Colorado in front.

“You’ll give up some vi­bra­tion do­ing that, but you’ll gain a tremen­dous amount of flash and lift that will en­able you to fish it ef­fec­tively in shal­low water that’s off-color or cold while pro­duc­ing a re­ally big tar­get at the same time.” Just the op­po­site can be ac­com­plished by go­ing with a small-blade com­bi­na­tion. “If I’m fish­ing in clear water and I want to fish a spin­ner­bait faster and deeper, I may down­size my blades to some­thing like a No. 2 wil­low in front of a No. 4 1/2 wil­low,” he adds. “That will take away some of the lift and al­low me to fish the bait faster.”

4. Color

Nickel and cop­per blades rule, but Bolton says col­ored blades have a place. Chartreuse is pop­u­lar on north­ern small­mouth fish­eries, while red can be ef­fec­tive in ex­tremely dirty water.

“Another sit­u­a­tion where I’ve had good suc­cess with col­ored blades is on cloudy, rainy days when fish­ing around grass,” Bolton says. “White wil­low-leaf blades can be a killer in that sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing the fall.”

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