Can You Spybait In Cold River Water For Smallies?

spinbait 80 smallie


Ahh, the first day of spring…

Here is Pennsylvania, we should be looking at high temps in the 50s and typically the river water temps are usually in the mid to upper forties by now. With the extended winter weather, it has been impossible for my buddy Kenny V of Reel River Adventures to get his River Pro jet boat on the river.  We saw a brief window of opportunity last week when the wind gusts had died down a bit and the air temps were going to be more seasonal. We decided to hit the river. We launched on the Juniata, hoping the water temps would be a bit warmer than the main stem of the Susquehanna.

Cold River Conditions

When we launched, the water temp was 38 degrees and the air temps weren’t much higher. We moved up river from the launch and found another guide already fishing the sunny side of the river where we were going to fish so we fished the shady side. After catching a few bass on Keitech swimbaits jigged off the bottom, I decided to give the Duo Realis Spinbait 80 a try. After all, it is reported to turn on neutral fish and to be retrieved in a slow methodical manner.

Most of the videos I have seen showed the bait being used in lake situations so I didn’t know how it would go. The two questions I had were, would it perform in river current and could I keep it in the strike zone without getting snagged.


If you have seen some of the videos (you can catch them here: click), the bait is designed to sink and then to be retrieved in a very slow manner, keeping it in the strike zone on light line. I threw it on a 6 1/2 foot spinning rod with 15 lb braid and a 10 lb test flouro leader (about 6 feet of leader). The props on the front and back create a unique, subtle wobbling pattern and turbulence.

With my first cast, I threw it toward the bank, retrieved it slowly and as it swung down to a 45 degree angle to the boat, BAM, a 16 inch smallie crushed it. I was fired up because this was my first experience with the bait.


The fishing was hot through about noon and swimbaits definitely ruled the day but on a day with 38 to 40 degree water and very little action on tubes or jerkbaits, the Swimbait 80 “spybait” technique was successful. I can’t wait to try it again!

Have you tried the Spinbait 80? If not, you can pick them up here: Spinbait 80

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