||12-18-2013 02:13 PM
Anyway I can help.....
Somebody from NorCal read some of my recent trips out on Casitas lake with a spoon and wanted some help. I wrote him an e-mail and figured that since he didn't know much about the subject and had little or no experience I might share some of my thoughts to him with the rest of you. Mind you this how I do it and in not to be taken as any sort of Gospel. If you agree or disagree jump on it and lets spread some tips around on this thread. This is what works for me and you will have to practice/tweek it to make it work for you. Enjoy.
Well the game's over and I've gotten my wife in to surgery and home again and have a little time to focus on your spoon questions. I personally think the spoon is very underrated and very few know how to fish them or have spent the time to learn all they can do. My rule of thumb is to use a ¾ oz spoon from twenty to 55 feet and a 1 oz spoon deeper than that. You get less feed back from the lighter weight of the spoon so the 1 oz size will help you out. I have caught bass and successfully released them from as deep as 110 feet here at lake Casitas. That is not the norm but I just had to know one day if the marks on my meter were bass. I am currently using 10 pound maxima ( I use nothing lighter and have a big bulk spool of it and use nothing over 12# either) a short pistol grip med heavy Loomis (5 ½ foot) and the old school green curado sf. The reel I set up pretty freely so as to allow the bait to free fall and it's maximum speed but not so free that when the spoon touches down it over spins to the point of a backlash. I frequently will just make a long cast and wind it back to the boat to straighten out any problems that are caused from the act of fishing with the spoon. My take on how to work the spoons is to let the spoon drop as freely as possible on the initial drop allowing it to get all the way to the bottom. I put the reel in gear and try to keep my rod tip about a foot from the waters surface as I rip and drop the spoon back down to make contact with the bottom again. I feel most folks overwork the spoon by ripping it to high with a longer rod so if you use a longer rod try to remember this. Typically I rip about 3 feet and let the spoon fall back on a taunt line. That means I am following the spoon down at it's fall rate. You will note that you are catching the treble on your line and fouling the rig up and this is caused by dropping your rod tip faster than the spoon is falling. It is very rare to have the fish bite on the way up but are most likely 99% of the time to bite on the fall. If my spoon stops before it gets to the bottom even if it doesn't feel like a bite I will reel down and set the hook. 99% percent of the things you feel on the rip up are either the structure you are fishing or some stray fishing line. You are forgiven for swinging on the fishing line as it does feel like a fish. I read the other posts from the angler's who responded to your question and here are My choices for spoons. I use a ¾ oz spoon for almost everything. A hammered chrome spoon will out fish anything painted. However as you are fishing a lake that has Kokanne in it a morning dawn bait Duh spoon might do okay but the majority of these fish have been feeding on shad that are dying from various reasons and when the water is colder they get used to eating dying fluttering down shad. A ¾ oz chrome Hopkins shorty was what I used for the first 15 years and still is/was the best spoon around until I found the BPS ( bass pro shop ) tungsten spoons. I feel the compact size allows me to match the hatch better and nothing falls as fast through the water as tungsten....Maybe spent uranium or solid gold but tungsten is cheaper and very dense and better by far than stainless steel. When you put the Hopkins next to the BPS tungsten you will see the big difference in size. I always change out the stock hooks and I now use a #4 Gamagatsu red hook on all of my spoons. I have never found a feather on the hook to make a difference But if you need color or flash it can help. On lakes that have smallmouth you will really mess them up good with the red hook. I resharpen them often with a stone I keep in my breast pocket right next to a bendz mender needle I use for fizzing some fish. I have a plug knocker for getting some baits out of their circumstances but you will find with patience and a little light jiggling most baits will come free of their own accord. Never use a snap swivel or any swivel in conjunction with your rig as it flat kills the action. Use the stock split ring to tie to. Do I get line twist... **** yes..but I use it to my advantage. A major portion of spoon fish that I catch is because I have stopped the ripping action and just hold the bait a foot or so off the bottom. The line twist has your bait turn flat to edge on down there so it's like it's a blinking light...on,off,on. The just clomp down and swim away. When in heavy cover where I am worried a bit more about getting that spoon back out again I will rip slower until I feel comfortable that I am in the structure not stuck in the structure and I employ the stop and hover technique more. When you hook up it's easier to get that spoon(and fish) back out of the jungle. These are basics for the vertical presentation but I do fish them differently according to what the fish are doing and water temps and fish species. IF I am going to be casting the spoon I don't just huck that bait out and retrieve it. I make my casts perpendicular to the shore so that I don't get stuck on every rock outcropping or branch or elevation change on the way back. Spooning up hill would be the equivalent so I will cast towards the bank into say 10 feet of water and let the bait fall to the bottom on a taunt line and then begin ripping and dropping the bait down the slope until I get either to the bottom or deeper than I intend to fish. A small rip off of a vertical wall equals a long drop closer to the cover/structure. It will surprise you how little you get hung up by fishing this way and if you do get hung up just use the trolling motor to get over the top or on the other side of whatever you in to jiggle the bait out. A GREAT spoon for this stair stepping action is the lowly Kastmaster 5/16oz., 3/8oz., 1/2oz. are all sizes I use and again in chrome or chrome blue with the stock hook swapped out. While tungsten is a great bait there are times it's fall rate are to fast as the fish want the bait to flutter more. In these instances the s.s. Hopkins or the Kastmaster and a silent killer silver buddy will be your go to bait. I prefer to fish points and more vertical banks or the edges of submerged creeks that are sheer and the fish that are on them are used to chasing bait as it comes across the tops of the submerged river/creek channel. Right now the water temps at my lake have just now dipped below 60 degrees ( I hate SoCal ) and By watching the western grebes you can tell our bait fish are offshore...typically in 80 feet or more. I have an hds10 with structure scan and I am going around locating brush or trees and stumps that jut out off of the more vertical hillsides of our impoundment and catching my fish there at around 40 feet. Some days they are there some days not. I just have to frequent different trees to find the biters. You can shut off a bite by releasing the fish right over the same spot as you are catching them so when tournament fishing you might want to get drop them off away from the spot your actually catching them on. I do use buoy's to help me but I try to keep them away from my target so as to not interfere with what I am doing and to just give me a reference point to work from. It is amazing how small the strike area might be and also just how many fish you can drag out of that one small spot. Small mouth really smash the spoon and throwing to the base of a steep hillside and stair stepping down the bait to the bottom will show you some interesting facts about how they are dispersed in the water column. I have caught fish almost on the bank on one cast and then two casts later I'll pick off one down at 40 feet. It's all about fall rate. If I threw a baseball at you head you would either reach out and catch it or let it go by. Speed makes fish stupid and do things that they might not do otherwise. So by fishing your spoon in the dead of winter you will be able to not only fish a reaction bait all day but you'll be able to feel your bait while others are freezing and not feeling there baits at all. You can have 100+ fish days on spoons including almost every species of fish in your lake on the same bait. I have done this in a tournament. Literally catching and culling through a bunch of fish while others struggled to feel or get bit. The wind does not affect this bite but usually gets it going better especially for smallmouth and the stair step method. Crappy weather won't affect this bite but usually get's it going better. When Tournament circuit fishing one fish can be worth a lot of points and help you out immensely in the point standings at the end of a year as opposed to averaging in a zero from a tournament. As you can see I can go on for hours about this bait but I'll leave you to think up more questions and feel free to to give me a holler if you've got more. If the fish are reacting well to the kastmaster or the stair step presentation off the lake walls a 1/2oz. or 3/4oz. Silver buddies can also absolutely make your day really special. Typically these spoon fish are not monster fish but my best on a spoon is over 9 pounds which I consider a trophy. Good luck to you and tight lines.
P.S. Check your line and cut off some as much as a few feet and retie often and if you are in the heat of battle it is very easy to slip off a unsharp or bent up hook from that split ring and replace with a new one...couple of seconds might just help you out on that next bite.