July 31, 2013
New twists and wobbles for an old favorite.
Where might you cast a spoon in Florida coastal waters? If getting bites, any bites, is your main objective, you can start with anywhere, anytime.
Spoons cast far, emit lots of flash and vibration, and they're pretty much indestructible. Redfish, snook, largemouth bass, trout, bluefish and many other species eat them.
For many anglers, spoons are specialty lures. They're what we tie on for long casts to spooky fish, punching through a stiff wind, or probing murky waters to locate fish.
With even further specialization in mind, let's check out some new thinking on spoon tackle and technique.
Plastic tails are showing up on a lot of spoons, and sometimes they seem to attract more bites. Color, texture or perhaps built-in scent (on some models) are the draws. Added buoyancy is another plus, when you're fishing shallow, snaggy bottom, like oyster bars.
Newer spoons come with added fish attractors that many species find irresistible.
Some newer spoons come with skirts or soft-plastic tails right in the box, but customizing your own is as simple as threading a streamlined soft-plastic onto the bend of the hook. The larger a bait's profile, the more water it displaces and the more fish-attracting vibration it emits. Just don't overdo it. Too much body interferes with the wobble. Also, with longer trailers like bass worms or eels, it's easy for a predator to grab a mouthful without ever touching the part that bites back.
At least one spoon is now sold with an interchangeable plastic skirt that not only keeps the lure higher in the water, but also adds a swishing lateral motion that spices up the presentation. Remove the skirt and the spoon works deeper.
Plastic, of course, isn't the only material suitable for spoon trailers. Be creative. Tied to the hook, a short strand of colorful yarn, perhaps 3 inches or so, makes a quick and attractive addition.
Adding a spinner or buzzer assembly in front of a spoon makes for a verstatile hybrid lure. There are a few ready-made models out there, combining the attributes of a traditional weedless spoon with those of an in-line spinner. Ideal for chopping across dense vegetation, like flooded spartina grass, this type of lure evokes reaction strikes from predators, including both reds and freshwater bass.
Gold spoons are renowned go-to lures when you're casting to reds on the flats.
Gold is a favorite color of both fish and fishermen, but silver or chrome may be the best choice for imitating shiny threadfin herring, finger mullet and other baitfish. Copper and nickel-plated spoons offer a slightly different flash, while black seems to be a good choice for low-visibility conditions—overcast days and sunrise or sunset—when predators consider any dark profile a potential meal. Bright colors such as pink, chartreuse and red can often spark feeding interest when fish snub traditional spoons.
Spoons with rattle chambers welded across their underbellies get plenty of attention, but you can modify bare spoons by gluing the same rattle tubes common to bass fishing onto your lure. Clip-on rattles made by Woodies Rattlers (http://www.woodiesrattlers.com) affix to the rigid weedguard of a weedless spoon. This not only adds enticing sound, but it also increases the mass in front of the hook, thereby making it more weedless.
You can also insert rattle chambers into a soft-plastic tail, but do so after affixing the tail to the hook so you don't end up with space conflicts. The only downside of this option is that losing a tail means losing a rattle chamber.
Simulate scales, gills or eyes with decals, thin strips of waterproof tape, or permanent markers. There are dozens of sources for these and other materials, and odds are good your local tackle shop has some dedicated lure tape. If not, a quick search on the Web turns up lots of suppliers.FS
First published in Florida Sportsman magazine, February, 2006.
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