Articles/What is Spybaiting?/

What is Spybaiting?

As fall begins to cool the waters of surrounding area lakes, bass anglers are turning to the unique action of a spybait when other presentations aren’t doing the trick. Jason Dudek of Minnesota explains “spybaiting works best on suspended fish when the bite is tough, in very clear water.”  When bass are suspended on mid-lake humps in the summer and in shallower depths in the fall the spybait can crack the code on an otherwise slow bite. The unique actions of the spy bait require extremely clear waters in order to elicit a strike.  

Spy baiting originated in Japan and made its way to the United States in the last couple years by way of the most common brand, Duo Realis. Every year, more and more anglers add it to the toolbox. US based companies like Storm have gotten in on the action with similar features at lower costs. Since this bait was designed for a tough bite the features and minor details in the action of its design create a unique situation where you typically get what you pay for.  

With a similar body design as a common jerkbait the spybait is designed to act and be fished differently with 3 key characteristics. The 3 key features include the plume, the list, and the shimmy. Spybaits can be cast out and allowed to sink for a specific amount of time based on the rate of fall for the weight of the spy bait used. They sink fast and fall horizontally instead of nose down. It’s during this fall and retrieve that the spybait uses its unique features to grab the attention of fish in the area. The key is to let it fall to the right depth of holding fish which requires you to know what depth they’re at and how many seconds of pause it will take for your spybait to get there. The rest is a slow, steady retrieve and a catch.

Feature 1: The Plume

The plume effect is caused when both front and back blades spin at the same time during retrieval. These spinning blades create a disturbance in the bait path that will catch a fish’s attention. While the retrieve of this bait is important, it’s the sinking nature of the bait that makes it effective. 

Feature 2: The List

Just like the listing of a ship. Spy baits are designed to list as they fall horizontally. Quality spybaits list back and forth in a rocking motion which creates a flash each time it moves from one side to the other. The bait needs to get down to the depth where fish are holding but they’ll see the slender profile coming!

Feature 3: The Shimmy

The third key feature of the spybait is its shimmy action. During the listing action the spybaits are also designed to shimmy which provides an additional micro flash.  Bass can’t help themselves which causes these baits to out fish other techniques during the right times of year when bites are tough.

Suggested Line for Tossing Spybaits

Since this bait performs best in clear water where the fish can pick up on small details of this bait, it needs to be fished with a light, clear line. We’re talking leaders! Spool some 10lb braid and a 6lb fluorocarbon leader to get the stealthy performance and strength you’re looking for.  This presentation is about accuracy and timing, not power.

Current Spy Baits and Line You’ll Need to Get Started

Cold and clear means it’s time to tie on a spybait. Start with a spinning rod and reel. If you don’t already have a spinning set up, give the 13 Fishing Fate Chrome and Creed Spinning Reel a try at an affordable cost. Here’s some other base products to get you started. Color is a personal preference since spy baits should be fished in the clearest water conditions:

Lists featured in this article


Spybait List

Styles: Spybaits