The Dillon Bush Equation

With the Barometric pressure up and the water clarity a little better Gareth Lynch worked the upsized DT to land several nice cod.

With the Barometric pressure up and the water clarity a little better Gareth Lynch worked the upsized DT to land several nice cod.

“A spinnerbait is just a spinnerbait.” Oh how I loathe this hollow line so commonly preached by the ever-growing band of Dillon bush pariahs. To add a little poetic right to another saying I believe rings true of the above naïve quote is this – “The problem with many fishos is the intelligent ones are full of doubt while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” Any angler worth their salt will understand the complexities of spinnerbaits. Far more than a simple bent blade, these finely tuned artificials almost take on a mathematical type equation, one that’s ever-changing and unlikely to be learned in a single lifetime. Even after two decades using these flashing lures, we are still unlocking the finer points and possibilities that are found on the water with each and every session. Personal enlightenment can take many forms, some are more obvious than others. In recent years we have watched spinnerbaits evolve into one of the most successful lures used to target large Murray cod and other native fish. Their increased effectiveness has been influenced for the most by the innovative ideals of their designers and the input of the anglers using them. Size and strength have become important factors, as too has the acceptance of the stinger, soft plastic trailer. To brand all spinnerbaits as the same is to present an angling résumé that could easily be scribed on the back of a postage stamp using a fat texta.

The spinnerbait conundrum

Gareth Lynch nailed this nice sized cod casting a 1/2oz mumbler fitted with a hollow bellied soft plastic. Different plastics dictate many variations in running depths and action. In this case the plastic creates lift allowing the lure to be worked through heavy terrain.

Gareth Lynch nailed this nice sized cod casting a 1/2oz mumbler fitted with a hollow bellied soft plastic. Different plastics dictate many variations in running depths and action. In this case the plastic creates lift allowing the lure to be worked through heavy terrain.

We are fishing a smaller river almost pushed into holes. Word had it the water clarity was good but on our arrival it was obvious things had changed. A coffee-coloured stain the river held almost zero visibility, something I was not keen on for native fish, unless of course you are fishing bait. We were tempted to turn and head home but since we’d come this far it would be a shame not to put in at least a few casts. We knew the fish were stacked in the deeper sections as the runs between had little enough water too even cover their backs. Pushed together, perhaps we could tempt a strike even under such poor conditions. This is where the spinnerbait conundrum begins.

Dirty water + good numbers of native fish stacked deep = deep running spinnerbait

From here the complexities branch even further providing several different formulas. It’s fine to select a deep-running spinnerbait but it needs to be held in the zone for the majority of the retrieve. Under such conditions you almost need hit the fish on the nose to insight a take. At the same time you need to be able to retrieve the spinner slowly enough that it lingers in the said zone, in this case within a foot of the bottom. You might choose to go heavy with a single willow blade. This configuration will hold depth as is required but the retrieval rate for the required lift might see it flirt through the zone a touch to fast. This makes it hard for the fish when the clarity is poor. At the same time a Colorado configuration will slow things down but might rise up out of the zone as it catches more water. Once again the fish will be unable to feel and detect the lure as it rises.

Blade choice snares big cod

My choice for this scenario was a single mag willow blade, a slice between the two on a 5/8 oz head weight fitted with a small soft plastic trailer. Half hour in and few dozen casts on, the flashing blade was shut down by the canning strike of a metre plus cod.
With the Barometric pressure up and the water clarity a little better Gareth Lynch worked the upsized DT to land several nice cod.

With the Barometric pressure up and the water clarity a little better Gareth Lynch worked the upsized DT to land several nice cod.

Having fished this same stretch of water a month before, it was interesting to note the required difference in spinnerbait selection. On the previous trip the water was clear and, while the barometer was down, the first day we did manage to raise a few fish. Fishing mate Gareth Lynch opted to run an upsized DT spinnerbait with stinger and soft plastic trailer. He also switched the blade size up from a pair of size 6 up to a 7. This lure creates maximum pulse and has a presence of mind that few fish can ignore. A great choice for big cod, Gareth had put himself in the hunt as they would obviously be able to see the large flashing blades. My choice under these conditions was to run a 1/2oz mumbler rigged with hollow belly plastic and stinger.

Keeping all options covered

6 Spinnerbaits and mumblers come in many shapes and sizes its up the angler to choose the model best suited to the water or conditions they intend to fish. Put simply a spinnerbait is not just a spinnerbait .

Spinnerbaits and mumblers come in many shapes and sizes its up the angler to choose the model best suited to the water or conditions they intend to fish. Put simply a spinnerbait is not just a spinnerbait .

Our choice of lures had us running two different sections of the water column. While Gareth’s DT configuration created good lift, my choice in mumbler would stay deep and the hollow bellied plastic would allow it to hold the zone under a very slow retrieve. Even the simple selection of plastics can alter the action and lift on a spinnerbait proving the possibilities are almost endless. As the barometric pressure continued to dip over the course of the day, the mumbler proved the better choice as the fish were less inclined to move far from cover. While they could no doubt see the large DT flashing overhead, they were reluctant to take the next step and hunt it down. It didn’t take long for Gareth to rethink his choice and opt for a deeper running model.

Ice on the swag

Next morning we woke to clear skies with not a puff of breeze. With a thin layer of ice on the swag a frost had pushed the barometric pressure through the roof overnight and the fish would be no doubt ready to play. Gareth instantly swung back to the DT and smashed home several nice cod in quick succession. They were up and about and keen to swim after and hammer the large flashing meal. When you begin to see the subtleties that come into play like barometric pressure for instance the bigger picture quickly becomes a little clearer. A spinnerbait is not just a spinnerbait but a movable feast that can be fished fast or slow, from top to bottom, and under all manner of different circumstances. It’s simply up to you the angler to work it all out.
Rod MacKenzie

About Rod MacKenzie

One of the most passionate anglers you will meet, Rod simply loves his fishing and is eager to share the wealth of knowledge and experience he has picked up over the years.

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