Dave Mercer on Fishing the BaitBall Spinner Rig

The innovation and evolution in bass fishing tackle continues each and every year. There are new ideas continually being released with the aim at hooking more fish.

One new lure, which looks to be a hybrid between a spinnerbait and a castable umbrella rig is the LIVETARGET BaitBall Spinner Rig.

Dave Mercer, the Bassmaster Elite Series emcee and host of the TV show “Facts of Fishing” played a role in the development of the lure from the beginning shares some tips on how to fish it.

Spinner Rig Origins

The lure design process often takes years of testing to make sure it is just right. This particular lure is part of the BaitBall series, which incorporates multiple baitfish patterns in one and according to Mercer; the LIVETARGET team spent years working on this bait to make sure that it had the best action and hookup ratio.

“I remember seeing the concept of this bait before the Alabama Rig really took off, but we had to make sure it was just right. It had many evolutions and the current version is perfect,” he shared.

Details of the BaitBall Spinner Rig

The Spinner Rig is available in a host of colors, soft plastic sizes and head weights designed to match a variety of forage.  The basic concept is a wire-framed bait similar to a spinnerbait, but with three teaser baitfish bodies, a willow leaf blade and larger swimbait style bait called the Target body that is equipped with a hook. The result is a great deal of flash, vibration, and appeal for a hungry bass.

The soft plastic bodies and teasers are available in three different sizes; small, medium and large. Each of these options is available in different head sizes and multiple colors. Mercer goes about selecting the right bait based on forage size and color.

“It really is no different than a spinnerbait in how you choose the weight you use and the color. I have had my best success in clear water on the Smoke/Silver and then in dirtier water, the Chartreuse/Silver has been great,” he said.

One of the key features of this bait is the fact that it easily comes through cover. The soft plastic baitfish imitators also help to deflect off of cover and not get snagged.

How To Fish the BaitBall Spinner Rig

While it may look like a miniature Alabama Rig, Mercer says each should be fished much differently.

“I think of the Spinner Rig as the ultimate open-water spinnerbait and this is where I have had my best success for smallmouth. I like to fish it much slower than a spinnerbait and it works great because of all of the appendages and flash from the blade,” he began. “I use what I would consider a very slow spinnerbait retrieve and then pop it and pulse it a few times during the cast as this gets the best action out of the teasers. I remember when I first tested it in the water and was watching it by the side of the boat and each little twitch made the bait pulse and the slow speed made the whole package come to life.”

Another technique is to add slight hiccups in the retrieve to generate strikes. “You can make three or four turns of the handle and then make a real quick half crank. It is a good way to get the bait to change directions and get a follower to commit,” he said.

While smallmouth have been the main target species for Mercer with this rig, he has had success with largemouth around emergent vegetation.

“If you have milfoil or another vegetation that comes up about a foot from the surface, it works great when fished right above the grass,” he said.

Spinner Bait Fishing Gear

Since the bait is a little bulkier than a standard spinnerbait, Mercer recommends an in-between rod. “I like a rod that is heavier than a spinnerbait rod because it will be too soft, but not as stiff as what you would use for a swimbait,” he said.

He will fish it with fluorocarbon line and a 6.2:1 gear ratio reel.

“Normally, I use an 8.2:1 ratio for everything, but this is a bait that you really want to slow down and fish so I switch to the 6.2:1. I spool it up with 1-5 to 20-pound fluorocarbon and you want fluorocarbon because you want some forgiveness,” adds Mercer.

The new LIVETARGET Baitball Spinner Rig offers a way to get the appeal of an umbrella rig and spinnerbait in a package that is designed to be as snag resistant as possible. There are many ways it can be fished, but Dave Mercer says that a slow-retrieve will get the best performance and give fish something to look at that they have never seen before, and in places that no A-Rig could ever go.