August 20, 2013
Now Is The Time To Spoon-Feed Big Bass
By Dave Wolak
Dropping a heavy metal spoon directly below the boat is a perfectly acceptable technique for jigging up saltwater species or perhaps Great Lakes trout, salmon, and walleye. It might seem like such a simplistic method of catching fish doesn’t have a place in today’s high-tech, fast-paced world of bass fishing, right? Truth is, that’s just not the case. You can’t argue with the effectiveness of a spoon; heck, they even include them in survival kits. Believe it or not, I have seen quite a re-emergence of spoon use in the modern-day bass fishing arena, but just like any other lure, you have to understand where and when to put them into play.
I actually won my very first bass tournament with a spoon. In that small event years ago I caught suspended smallmouths right under the boat on a river channel edge in about 25 feet of water. Over the years I have used spoons here and there when the venues or situations were prime for spooning, but lately I find myself reaching for them more and more, picking up new spoon tricks as I go. What I can tell you is that we’re coming into prime spoon-feeding season right now.
Just like in saltwater, spoons shine in the presence of deep suspended bait with predator fish hanging close by. In the late summer and early fall you see a lot of this staging across the country because the lakes establish more pronounced thermoclines at different depths, and the bait tends to congregate on these temp breaks. Unless there’s a significant amount of current, wind, or another feeding trigger, bass often just chill somewhere in the middle of the water column within striking distance of the forage, waiting for something to break and scatter the bait schools. Enter the spoon.
Not only have I found bombardment with a heavy spoon to be an effective way to break up the bait balls and create a feeding frenzy, I have also found it to be equally (and sometimes the only) effective way to pick off these difficult-to-catch suspended bass. What you’re doing is surprising the bass by creating a target they have to react to quickly. That said, I have found that heavier spoons, such as a Kastmaster (above), often get more bites than light spoons because they rise and fall more dramatically when you rip them. I often use spoons that weigh up to an ounce-and-a-half, even in clear water only 15 to 20 feet deep. I snap the spoon aggressively with the rod tip, moving it from the 5 o'clock to the 12 o'clock position. The other great thing about spooning is that when a bass hits you’ll know it. Anglers used to a worm tap are in for a big surprise.