Fishing with Spoons Revisited
A spoon is a spoon is a spoon.
We pride ourselves on teaching our readers how to fish, when to fish, where to fish, and who they might find that is crazy enough to go fishing with them (check out our forums and introduce yourself to see what we are talking about). But the more we teach about the behavior of the fish we chase, and the more we learn from our readers and at social encounters, the more we realize that learning the fine points (and not so fine points) about this sport we all love and live is more a process than it is an event.
Take fishing with spoons. You can fish all your life around live baits and not have a nickel’s faith in a wiggling piece of shiny metal, or you can live your fishy life committed to fly rods and the feeling that anybody that uses baits or plastic, for that matter, are pretty much barbaric. We do not. We love to catch fish with bait and we love to catch fish with rods and reels. We love to catch fish in nets and we love to sneak up on them with fly rods. We are a fishing magazine and we are overwhelmingly staffed by anglers. And talk to any of us and we have some love somewhere inside of our fishing bones for spoons. Spoons work even for fly anglers, but we will get there in a while.
These red and white spoons, available in an inexpensive set of five different sizes, are many people’s first introduction to spoon fishing. They are very effective Bass lures and will work for many saltwater species too.
A Spoon is a Spoon is a Spoon, Right?
No. There are different kinds of spoons for fishing. They can act differently, they can be used with and without tails or add-ons like pork rinds, (still?) popular with anglers chasing Largemouth Bass. There are different colors, and in some cases a gold spoon will work while a shiny silver spoon will not work, and vice versa. They are great for trolling and they are great to cast. Other than (or along with) a white bucktail jig, if we had only one lure to carry onto a deserted island or into a survival situation, it would be an appropriately-sized silver spoon.
These are called Kastaway spoons and are not cupped. They are designed for distance casting and rapid retrieval, and are commonly found in the tackle boxes of experienced anglers.
Basically a spoon in its purest form is an oval-shaped piece of metal with a concave center. The hook can either be secured inside the hollowed region of the spoon or it can be hung on the back with a split ring. Most of the ones with split rings have treble hooks, and we strongly suggest you bend down all the barbs on the hooks. They will still hold onto the fish that strike the lure, but they will be way easier to get out of the fish’s mouth, and if you keep the fish wet when you release them they’re a lot more likely to survive.
There are also flat hooks with no concave shape, but they are all, for the most part, longer than they are wide.
Casting hooks are heavy enough to cast, and any hook that weighs more than an eighth of an ounce can be thrown a decent distance with an ultralight spinning rod. There are also casting spoons made for fly fishing with the same oval shape and, in some cases, even the concave cup to increase the noise they make when you retrieve them. Flat ones, often with hammered scales to further make them look fishy, are often called slab spoons for good reason.
Spoons made for trolling are usually lighter than casting spoons and are designed to be dragged behind the boat as a trolling lure. You can get trolling spoons in very small sizes, and they work quite effectively as casting lures if you put a torpedo weight on the line. Even a few heavier split shot can give you enough weight to cast. However, small trolling spoons can be very effective when used for their original purpose. They are really effective in waters where fish are eating small baits like anchovies.
Weedless spoons are designed to keep grass and other garbage in the water from getting stuck on the hook. If the grass is thick enough it will still hang onto the lures, but if you know how to work them and get used to them, their ability to wiggle through heavy brush is absolutely remarkable. Gold ones are highly effective on Redfish, which are often in the water when the grass levels are very high and other lures prove ineffective.
Spoons come in a variety of colors, with many painted like fish, frogs, and things that do not exist in nature. We tend to think more of metallic spoons, with frog simulators a close second. The painted spoons are usually only painted on the outside of the lure with the internal cup left metallic.
A Final Note About Spoons
Spoons are a lot like jigs in that they are an almost universal lure. They flash, they gurgle, they wiggle, and they make different sounds and behave differently depending on how you retrieve them.
You can pause them, let them sink to the bottom, or bounce them and they will act like a jig. You can retrieve them without varying the speed and simply let them wiggle the way they’re meant to wiggle.
The speed at which you do retrieve them will determine where in the water column the lure swims. Hold your rod tip high(er) towards the sky than you normally do, and try retrieving the spoon just fast enough to keep it bubbling on the surface.