By Mike Stevens
When I was working in a tackle shop in San Diego in the mid-90s, a trio of anglers was always coming in and buying the same spinnernbaits. I don't mean the same models but different colors, I mean the EXACT same ones. A spinnerbait is semi-weedless and usually fished on heavier line, so losing a lot of them in a short amount of time is pretty nonsensical. Curiosity got the best of me, so I started asking them why they were buying so many spinnerbaits, and they danced around it a bit (guys who are on to something don't like to tell tackle shop employees about it, since tackle shops might be the original form of social media) but finally clued me in to what was going on after I took a vow of silence.
They were fishing spinnerbaits in San Diego Bay, and putting a beatdown on fish with them. But since they were fishing freshwater baits in saltwater, the swivels would all seize up at the end of the day, and the lures were useless. The thing was they worked so well, buying new spinnerbaits before every outing was worth it.
Oceanside, Ca. based Reebs Lures has an answer for this problem in the form of their Bolt Thrower spinnerbait. It is designed specifically to handle the rigors of saltwater, including the jaws of a halibut, the pull of a kelp-bound calico bass, or the corrosive nature of the water itself.
“I decided to build a spinnerbait with a thick wire, a strong hook, and a ball bearing swivel to strengthen the bait. I also use twist ties over the rubber band on the skirt to avoid having my skirt pulled off. It is bullet proof for toothy critters in bays and inshore,” says Bolt Thrower designer Mike Ryba.
Bolt Throwers have taken inshore fishing on the west coast by storm as guys fishing boats, kayaks, float tubes, or even from shore have discovered their value, which doesn't really differ much from their freshwater cousins. They cover a ton of water when cast and retrieved anywhere in the water column, they are very effective when slow-rolled along the bottom, and they are deadly on the drop making them great around docks and pilings.
They come in one-half- or one-ounce versions, are built like tanks, and come in a a good number of skirt color and blade configurations to cover a variety of situations
Naturally, a bass is a bass, so they catch a lot of them. But as the cat was let out of the bag, halibut started chomping on the things. These days they are finding success in many situations. I recently read about one sticking a huge arapaima in the Amazon.
I don't think we are too far away from hearing epic inshore reports involving Bolt Throwers along the Gulf Coast, Florida, the beaches of Baja and all the way up the east coast for who knows what.