Spybait fishing can be a bit of a mystery to some fishermen. If you’re looking to catch big bass out in the waters, then learning about the spybaiting technique can add a bit of variety to your skills and help you catch more bass when you’re out on the waters. Getting the right lure is important, but the technique also makes a big difference.
What is a spybait?
Spybaits (a.k.a. Spy Baits) are lures that are made to be sneaky. Their entire construction revolves around being subtle and they’re the polar opposite of jerkbaits, chatterbaits, and wake baits that are used to create a lot of action and disruption on the water. These loud lures often brought many bass fish out of hiding. They’d get a lot of attention and the bass would follow the lures, but they wouldn’t always commit and as the lure was gradually reeled back to the boat, they’d lose attention and find something else to do.
Spybaiting used a slightly different technique. Originally invented in Japan sometime between 2006 and 2008, this technique took a drastically different approach. Instead of purposely trying to draw in a lot of attention, fishermen used lures that had less action in order to encourage bass to bite. It wasn’t so much about alerting a large group of bass and hoping for a strike; it was about isolating a bass and getting it to commit to a strike.
This began with fishermen modifying existing lures to reduce the amount of action they caused. For instance, they would cut off parts of crankbaits and make tails slimmer. They would go slow and steady when reeling in their baits as well to cause less disturbance. As things progressed, they tried to balance the subtle approach while still maintaining some level of action to attract the bass, but they could never quite find the right combination. Eventually, fishermen started using small propellers together with their baits to create more noise and vibrations as they were retrieved. This created small trails behind the baits and also alerted nearby bass without being too loud or flashy.
These days, spybaits are essentially subsurface baits that sink while moving side to side to remain upright. It creates the appearance of a wounded fish that has drifted away from its school, encouraging bass to strike it.
What’s the best spybait setup for bass fishing?
Because you’re aiming for subtlety, spybait setups revolve around lightweight equipment. For a fishing line, a 4lb fluorocarbon goes perfectly because of how subtle it is. Many 4lb fluorocarbons are actually made in Japan as well, making it a great pairing for spybaiting which is essentially a Japanese fishing technique. With a light line, the propeller blades of a spybait will naturally spin to create momentum that helps it stay below the surface of the water while creating side-to-side movements.
So as long as you focus on lightweight tackle, you’re good to go and you won’t need to make any big changes to your entire setup. Remember; spybaiting is all about being subtle and sneaky, so pair it with the right equipment and you’ll go a long way.
How do you fish using spybaits?
Casting a spybait is fairly straightforward. You throw it out very far because of how lightweight your entire setup is, then you let it fall. Once it reaches the desired depth, point your rod at the lure and reel very slowly and consistently. Again, you want to be sneaky and subtle with your spybaits, hence why you need to go as slowly as possible. Be patient and wait for the strike. Don’t try to do more with it because you’ll end up creating too much disturbance. Just let it sink, reel it in slowly, and be patient.
When you’ve actually snagged something, you want to wait a few seconds so that the fish inhales the bait completely. Spybaits usually have very small hooks and your setup will be fairly light, so you don’t want to try and fight it like you’re using a heavy setup. Maintain your patience–that’s the key to using spybaits.
So to summarize, here are the top tips for using a spybait:
- Get a lightweight setup so you can cast far and let it sink to your desired depth.
- Be sneaky and subtle. Don’t try to do too much with the lure; it’s not designed for that! Just go slow and let it do all of the work.
- Cast it far so that you have plenty of time to gradually reel it in without drawing too much attention to your boat.
- Once you feel a strike, wait a little while to ensure the bait has been “eaten” by the fish, then start fighting it.
As you can see, spybaits are generally very simple to use. The biggest factor in success is patience. If you’re not being patient then you won’t master the spybaiting technique. It all falls on how subtle and sneaky you can be, but when you’ve finally caught something, you can’t get too excited. Additionally, it’s easy to feel an urge to want to do something with your lure. Trying to do too much will just result in your spybait creating too much disturbance.
In short, using spybaits demands a lot of patience, discipline, and concentration. Make long casts, let the lure sink, and gently reel it in to maintain its depth.
When should you use spybaits?
Spybaits want to be noticed. You want the bass to notice it and you want to encourage them to strike at the appearance of a wounded bait. As such, clear conditions are generally the best because you’re appealing to the bass’s vision. While spybaiting is great all year round, spybaits are best used when bass are schooling in large open waters, or if they’re clumped around cover. People tend to prefer using spybaits around late fall, but it can really be used whenever you feel like your other lures aren’t getting any strikes.
To conclude, clear conditions will yield the best results for spybaits. If the waters are calm and there are plenty of bass around, then you’ve got the perfect conditions to use a spybait.
Recommended Spybait Lures
Duo Realis Spinbait 90 Spybait – Gold Perch
The Duo Realis Spinbait 90 is an extremely popular spybait option that enthusiasts love. It’s designed for tournament use and is used by professionals around the world. It features fairly large hooks which are unique compared to many other brands of spybaits, and it creates an interesting listing action that mimics various types of baitfish. If you’re serious about spybaiting, this is a great option to invest in.
Berkley SPY Spybait Hard Fishing Lure
This Berkley spybait comes in a number of different colors and sizes, making it the perfect addition to any versatile tackle box. The propeller is small yet subtle, and it bounces around in the water which adds to the illusion of an injured fish. This spybait does sink fairly quickly compared to other spybaits, so you may want to reel a little faster than what you’re used to with other spybaits. As such, this can be a good option to start with if you’re relatively new to spybaiting and want something a bit easier to work with.
IXlures Prop Fishing Pencil Lure Spinbait Spybait for Bass Trout
This thin and sleek spybait is the embodiment of spybaiting. It’s subtle, it’s small, and it has dual propellers to help it maneuver through the waters as it sinks down. It creates a surprising amount of surface disturbance thanks to the way it’s constructed, but it’s also a little heavier than other spybaits which means it sinks down fairly easily.
13 FISHING – Shadow Spin – Hybrid Baits
Unlike other spybaits, this one only features a single propeller at the front of the bait. Despite this design difference, it still shimmies from side to side with ease when submerged and it has a soft wedge tail for improved action. It’s surprisingly realistic when it’s in the water and when paired with a lightweight line, you’ll be able to cast it surprisingly far. It also comes in a variety of different styles, making it great for a variety of water conditions.
Jackall I-Prop 75S
This subsurface double-propeller bait has seen a lot of success both among casual fishers and tournament professionals. It has surprisingly sturdy hooks and comes in a variety of unique designs that closely mimic baitfish that you’ll find in a variety of different waters. This makes it an excellent investment regardless of where you use it.