The spinnerbait settled on the edge of a small logjam close in along the creek bank, where even at noontime the overhanging tree branches cast considerable shadow. Almost as soon as the retrieve was started, a largemouth bass had struck, a modest, 14-incher that was quickly released.
The spinnerbait -- gold blade, chartreuse skirt and white, split-tailed trailer -- had been working well for more than an hour, pulsing, throbbing and enticing strikes from bass ranging from 10 to 16 inches.
The bait had been working well in depths from three to 12 feet, inside and along the edges of thick cover, being fished much in the way bass pro Shaw Grigsby Jr. uses a spinnerbait.
"Spinnerbaits are the primary lure I use year round," says Grigsby, a seven-time BASSMasters Classic qualifier from Florida. "Traditionally, anglers believe spinnerbaits should be 22 used in stained water. [But] I use them in both stained- and clear-water situations."
And he uses them shallow and deep, varying blade sizes, skirts and colors to suit the conditions.
"Spinnerbaits are the most versatile of all lures because you can work it on the surface, three feet deep or 20 feet deep," says Grigsby, adding that the lure also works well in heavy cover or in open water.
"Most often, fishermen cast a spinnerbait and then steadily reel it back, and at times that method catches fish," Grigsby says. "I've found that fluctuating the retrieve is more effective."
Speeding up, slowing or allowing the bait to fall through deep water on the edge of a dropoff, for example, can prompt bass to strike. Grigsby suggests varying the retrieve until you find what the fish will hit most consistently.
And don't be shy of casting spinnerbaits into heavy cover, where the big fish might be holding.
"Spinnerbaits are very weedless," says Grigsby, adding that fishing in heavy cover in tidal waters requires using fishing line that is resistant to abrasions. "They can be cast into heavy cover areas with minimal hang-ups. Go ahead and place the bait right into the cover and get the fish on."
Line color also is important when fishing spinnerbaits. Grigsby prefers green line in clear water and clear or low visibility green in stained water.
"Try different retrieves until you determine what the bass like," says Grigsby. "Cast in tight, even in heavy cover, and I can't emphasize enough how much difference the green-colored line makes in getting fish to hit."
DNR Bass Stockings
The Department of Natural Resources stocked tidal waters with almost 133,000 largemouth bass fingerlings this spring to -- supplement natural reproduction.
Abundant predators, erratic tidal ranges and strong currents all are hindrances to natural reproduction in tidal waters.
The fingerlings, hatched at the Unicorn Lake Fish Hatchery in Queen Anne's County, were released into the Chester River (48,680), Northeast River (10,840), Choptank River (69,696) and Worton Creek (3,400).
State biologists estimate the fingerlings that survive will grow to 12 inches by 1997.
A set of four stamps, portraying outdoor sportsmen Theodore Roosevelt, Zane Grey, A.J. McClane and Saxton Pope/Art Young, is being sold by Field & Stream as part of the magazine's celebration of its 100th anniversary. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the limited-edition stamps will benefit environmental education.
Each of the outdoorsmen on the stamps has an historic tie to Field & Stream. The four-stamp series can be purchased for $9.95 (plus $2.50 shipping and handling) by calling Sun On Demand at (410) 332-6800 or (800) 829-8000, Ext. 6800. They can be charged to VISA, MasterCard or prepaid by check.