Spooning for Bass Basics
Spooning , though not viewed as a normal go to bait is probably one of the oldest type fishing lures known to anglers of past. After the plastic worm, this simple looking piece of metal that mimics a shad in distress has more likely caught more fish than almost all other lures. Even though if you were to look into most anglers tackle boxes , you probably would find that most anglers don't have them in their arsenal of baits they carry. On the other hand, I'm sure that almost all bass fishermen have tried them more than once in their search for successful baits to use. Spoons were first used as a trolling type lure but many anglers will gain a new respect for this lure if used more often.
Although,from the first days of my fishing history ,I have always carried some sort of Spoon type bait in my tackle box , I seldom used them, as much as I presently do.
I was first introduced to this small piece of lead (though not all are made of lead, I still have and use some older spoons made of Copper and a few made of Bronze) at a national B.A.S.S. Tournament I entered back in the early days of my tournament carreer. It was a very early spring tournament with the temperatures hovering in the middle 20's for a forecasted high for the day. I drew out with and older angler from southern Arkansas that had very high expectations for his tournament results. Luckily, Our first stop was a short run to a spot I considered a “community hole”. The freezing air chilled my bones as well as my expectations,now being a local on the lake we were fishing I knew the area very well.As we dropped the trolling motor to fight the brisk winds I began with my usual bait for that time of year which at that time was large jig. After several minutes I noticed my partner rearing back to set the rod and now the battle began.After a minute or so he brought a beautiful 3 plus pound spotted bass to the boat.Of course I took notice of the bait he was using,it was an old flat spoon that was devoid almost all of the chrome and bent into an “L” shape. After digging around in my gear to find myself a spoon..(this was while he boated another keeper fish and slid it into the livewell). By the time I luckily slid my first fish into the live well, he was sliding his 5th keeper into the boats livewell.
That morning we caught around 25 bass.
Open water would appear to be the place to use this bait but over the years many anglers including myself have found that when used in place of several different lures such as jigs,worms,or other baits used to probe the bottom that this lure will catch fish in a lot of circumstances when no other bait will produce fish. There are very many different approaches this bait can be applied to when searching for pressured and tough bite fish.
When learning to use this lure ,Most would be better suited in trying the lure in open water to learn to get the feel of this bait. I would say that probably 75-80% of all bites on this bait happen on the fall. Start by tying on the bait with a short leader ,connecting about 6 inches to a foot of line with a split ring or swivel to minimize the twisting that this lure will do when "stroking" the bait up and down in a rythmic motion.
What we found is, as we would drift to the edge of the baitfish, the bass were waiting in ambush to pick off the shad that broke away from the school. We would let the spoon fall to the bottom, pop our rods up about 2 feet and then let the spoon fall on semi slack line. This is real important to Jigging spoons. If you slow them down they will fall straight down with no action. If you let them fall at their own rate they will flutter back and forth like a feather falling in air. This action makes them look like a wounded minnow and the bass, being a natural predator, are there to get rid of the weak bait and also get an easy meal!
When I fish a jigging spoon I normally rig it on a medium heavy or heavy rod. When fishing a 1/2 ounce lure you need a fairly stout rod to have any sensitivity. Again, throw it out and let it fall to the bottom on slightly slack line. Pop your rod and again let it fall. Every time the lure stops pop it again. If the lure does not pop, hang on!!
You most likely have a fish. You will also get this lure hung up some times and you will rollover a lot of flat rocks on the bottom. But when you roll some of those rocks you might give up the hiding place of a crawfish and that will bring roaming small mouths from a long distance. So keep your lure around the spot and there is a good chance those smallies will see the spoon also! I also check my hooks about every half hour. As you are bouncing the lure off the bottom it will dull the hooks pretty quick. I will either sharpen the hooks or replace them when they are dull!! Sometime I just tie on a new lure so I can get back to the fish!!!!
The big learning that day was that if you see baitfish drop a jigging spoon. I might mention that you can not always see the bass on the locater, but if you can find small ball of shad close to the bottom you can bet there are bass somewhere near.