Tackle & Technique – Slow Roll Spinnerbait

Tackle & Technique – Slow Roll Spinnerbait

Feb 24, 2015

Casey’s Slow Rollin’ Spinnerbait Tips

By Mike Pehanich

He won his first tournament on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour at the tender age of 23, and, five years later, he remains one of the “youngsters” on the tour.

But Casey Ashley is a self-described “old school” angler in many ways.

Take his spinnerbait preferences, for example.

See exclusive Small Waters Fishing video on Slow Rolling a Spinnerbait with Casey Ashley on this post.

Slow rolling a spinnerbait is one of Casey Ashley’s favorite techniques.

“I like to keep it simple – a 1/2 ounce double willow blade combination,” he explained as he dropped the trolling motor and eased into a promising cove on Table Rock Lake. “The front blade is gold. The back blade is silver…The head is not even painted, though it does have red eyes on it.

“And you can see mine has an ‘old school’ chartreuse and white rubber skirt!”

Next to a jig, a spinnerbait is Ashley’s favorite on-the-water tool. And he likes to point out that the skirted jig and spinnerbait are close cousins in the first place!

Above all, he likes the spinnerbait’s versatility.

“There are a lot of things you can do with a spinnerbait – build it up to make it bigger, modify it to put out more flash and more vibration,” he said. “Or you can sleek it down and put on smaller blades, change blade colors, mix a gold with a silver blade. I can change the blades on a spinnerbait. In two minutes, I can have a whole different bait, a different color, and a different action.”


Watching a spinnerbait morph in your hands is part of the fun of fishing the wire  bait. But make no mistake, Casey Ashley likes the spinnerbait for its effectiveness more than the fun of playing  “Mr. Potato Head” with the components!

Most of his catches come on home-poured 3/8-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce lures, but he also carries a one-ounce spinnerbait with modified blades that enables him to hunt 30-foot ledges with the efficiency of a big-lipped crankbait – and have a better ratio of hooked to landed fish to boot!

Exclusive SWF video “Casey Ashley’s Slow Rollng Spinnerbait Tips & Techniques”

A decade ago, you could find a spinnerbait on the deck of almost any bass boat. Today? Not so much!

Some speculate that fish have become conditioned to spinnerbaits over the years. But I’m more inclined to think that fewer anglers take the time today to get intimate with the bait – to learn its variations, range of retrieves and presentations, and the subtleties of adapting it to different weather and water conditions. Could it be that too many of us have turned it into a simple chuck-and-wind tool? — MP

Slow-rolling a spinnerbait has become a lost art. The technique calls for fishing the lure slowly and close to the bottom or through cover. In fact, it calls for understanding the bait for what it is – a skirted jig with a spinner component – and fishing it accordingly.

A tandem blade spinnerbait adds flash and water displacement, enabling fish to zero in on the bait from greater distance.

But how do you maintain blade rotation when you slow a spinnerbait to a crawl?

To Casey Ashley, it all boils down to blade separation.

“I use beads for my blade separation,” says Ashley, holding up one of his customized tandem willow blade baits. “I don’t want my front blade to touch or overlap the back blade at all. When this front blade is turning, I don’t want it to take water off the back blade. I still want the back blade to rotate at all times. That’s what enables you to slow roll a spinnerbait even when you are fishing deep structure.”

Most tandem-blade spinnerbaits allow the front blade to slide during the retrieve. That may not affect the performance of the lure at moderate to fast retrieve speeds. But roughly 10 hollow metal beads separate the front and back willow blades on Ashley’s customized baits.

Casey Ashley prides himself on keeping fishing simple wherever possible. “I own three different colors of spinnerbait skirts: white, white and chartreuse, and blue and chartreuse. That is pretty much it. Those fit almost any application I could ever run into!”

He demonstrated how his modification enabled both blades to revolve enticingly at the slowest possible retrieve speed.

“I can turn the handle as slow as I want and those blades keep turning!” he beamed. That’s because of blade separation. And blade separation is the key to slow rolling!”

Casey’s Postscript: “One more thing…I hardly ever use a trailer hook!”

Learn the whys and hows of matching rod, reel and line to your spinnerbait technique from Casey Ashley in Outfit Matches & Misfits: Casey Ashley on Spinnerbait Tackle.

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