Spoon Smack Down
Spoons, a simple design that works across all species of fish. Coming all shapes sizes and colors they work in any situation.
History of the Fishing Spoon
Spoons are very simply designed. Just shaped metal attached to a treble hook. The spoon's origins go all the way back to the 1700s in Scandinavia and even a reference of a copper spoon attached to a hook even earlier than that.. Yet something so simple, with few modifications over the years works incredibly well for getting fish to bite. Spoons flutter through the water like a leaf falling from a tree branch. Creating vibrations and flashes like fleeing prey. It is hard to know if the ancient anglers knew about fish and their attraction to vibrations, but we can assume that they noticed the flashes the spoon made as well as its shape, most of the time looking like the flank of a smaller fish. Maybe it's my Scandinavian roots or the fact they spoons almost always bring fish in. Either way there's usually a spoon tied to the end of my line.
A Very Versatile Lure
Spoons are great because they can be fished in multiple equally effective ways. My preferred method to fish a spoon is to cast them, however trolling and jigging spoons can be just as effective as casting. Spoons are also a great multi species lure, you can catch anything from a Crappie to a King Salmon to anything in between. Coming in seemingly infinite size color and shape options there is a spoon for any situation.
Why do they work?
Spoons work. Spoons work so well because of three things it's able to do. The first is the way the wobble or flutter in the water creates vibrations that are similar to a fleeing bait fish, this impacts the lateral line or vibration sensor in fish to indicate there is prey nearby. The second is that flash when it flutters, this looks like a struggling prey fish. This flash also can trigger an anger strike from some species such as northern pike or smallmouth bass. And lastly the shape looks like the flank or broad side of a prey fish, along with the flashing tells the predator that there is a struggling easy meal. The placement of the hook on a spoon also helps prevent hit and runs, many predatory fish hit their prey from behind, by having the hook on the bottom of the lure this puts it in prime position to hook a fish that takes a swipe at the back half of the spoon.
Casting spoons is in my opinion the best way to fish the, it gives the best control of depth and speed. Due to their one treble hook spoons are mostly weedless and can be cast into incredibly shallow water. In some cases when cast near brush or into shallow water fish will hit just as the spoon hits the water. Spoons work while casting because they sink when the retrieve is stopped, and the slow flutter into deeper water can entice fish to strike. I have caught bass to walleye to pike and trout while casting spoons. Vary the retrieve to see what the fish are preferring and stick with that style.
There are many ways to troll spoons, there is free trolling (without any added weight), downrigger trolling, and weighted trolling. Weighted trolling differs from downrigger trolling by having a weight attached to the line and leader while the down rigger setup has no actual weight on the main line.
Spoons are lightweight and when trolled to fast without additional weight they will run high in the water column or on the surface. When trolling spoons without additional weight there are two options, the first is to troll fast and run the spoon up near the surface of the water. This is good when the fish are active and the water is really shallow or there is a lot of cover and structure that can be hooked up on. The other option works well when fish are not as active, this is a slower troll that allows the spoon to slowly wobble back and forth in deeper water.
Trolling with a downrigger is reserved for very deep water, typically to target salmon and lake trout during the hot summer months. A down rigger is a heavy weight attached to a wire cable, the main line is hooked to the weight by what is essentially a pull trigger that will release the line when a fish hits the lure. This runs the spoons from anywhere between 40-200 feet very effectively. Downriggers work well because you are able to troll at a high speed, creating a high amount of lure action and vibrations and the lure will still be within the desired range.
Weighted trolling is a good technique when you want to troll fast and keep the spoon down in the high activity zone. When fishing with this method you will tie a 1-2oz weight to the end of the line and then attach a 10-20 foot monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to the weight and attach the spoon to the end. This method allows the full action of the spoon while keeping it down between 10-20 feet of water.
Spoons can also be used as effective jigging lures. The flash and the flutter when on the downward drop of the lure can trigger strikes from fish. Jigging spoons work best when there are lots of fish in a deep hole that are not very active, the jigging action can tempt a suspended fish into striking.