A spoon is just like the name says. It’s a metal or plastic curved body with a split ring in each end. A hook is fixed to one end, and your line gets tied to the other. That’s it. They can easily be made at home. They come in every color of the rainbow, and in every combination imaginable. Some are colored to imitate various species of bait fish, some are colored like nothing on earth, and some are just plain black, silver, brass, gold, or copper.
The spoon was invented sometime before 1851, by Julio T. Buel, of New York. As the story goes, Mr. Buel somehow managed to break one of his silver spoons. Rather than throw it away, he drilled a small hole in each end, put a hook in one, and tied his fishing line to the other, and took it fishing. It was so successful that in just a few short years it spread across the country and quickly became the lure of choice for serious anglers. Since then, it has evolved into a few different styles, but the basic design remains unchanged.
When a spoon is cast out and retrieved, it swims erratically from side to side, like a minnow having seizures. It’s this action that triggers strikes, and does it so well that it catches any fish that eats other fish, anytime, anywhere in the world, in fresh, or salt water. All you have to do it figure out what color, size and retrieve to use. They can be cast out and reeled in, twitched, ripped, yo-yoed, trolled, jigged, or any combination imaginable. They can be fished anywhere in the water column, from the surface, to the bottom, in cover, or open water.
These are the ones most people are familiar with. Good examples are the Daredevel, and Johnsons Silver Minnow. These are thinner and lighter than other types. The weight determines how fast it will sink.
These are just lighter versions of casting spoons. They require downriggers, spider rigs, and other more advanced equipment. They are great for white bass, hybrids, and striped bass, but are seldom used for black bass.
These are heavy, and made to be fished vertically, straight up and down. You just drop them to the bottom, right into cover, and raise them up a few inches, every 30 seconds or so. They can even be tipped with live bait.
These are designed to climb into the surface area, disturbing the water, and are great for fishing right over weed beds, lily pads, hydrilla, and such. They differ from other spoons in that the hook shank is soldered to the underside of the body. They ride with the single hook up and also have weed guards, so they can be thrown right into the thick of things. One of the best known of this type is the classic Johnson Silver Minnow.
Each of these types (with the exception of surface spoons) come in a variety of sizes, from 1/16th ounce for bluegills, crappie and other panfish, to 4 oz. and larger for trophy muskies, and ocean predators. For bass, you want 1/8 to ¼ ounce, or maybe up to ½ ounce for trophy bass. They like a good mouth full.
- One of the best ways to fish casting spoons is to just cast them out, count-down to the depth you want, and just reel them in. Keep in mind that they sink a bit bit faster than other lures, about 1 foot per second. You can also reel-pause-reel to trigger more strikes.
- Ripping a casting spoon along rip-raps, overhangs, and the edges of channels is about as deadly as it gets for bass. Be ready for savage strikes.
- In winter, when bass are finicky and holding in deep cover, try dropping a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow, straight down into their hole. Jig it gently and slowly up and down by just barely raising the rod tip about 2 or 3 inches, and slowly lowering it back down. Move it just fast enough to get a little action, no more.
- In spring, throw a surface spoon right into weed beds and lily pads. Work it right over the tops, and when it gets to a break, or hole in the mass, allow it to sink down a bit. This triggers explosive strikes.
- When bass are in submerged timber, or rocks, yo-yo a weedless rigged casting spoon right in the cover. Try to bounce it off of the trees from time to time. This can drive bass wild.
- Don’t be afraid to cast a surface spoon right over fallen trees, and reel it right over them. Often as not, a bass will chomp it as it goes over the tree and falls.
- Single hooked jigs can be rigged with a minnow, or a plastic grub tail, a Sassy Shad type tail, or a pork trailer. This can be deadly at times.
- If you know someone that ties flies, the treble hooks can be easily dressed with bucktail, or feathers in any number of patterns. You can also just add a rubber skirt to them.