No, I am not talking about music; I am talking about real metal; a bass jigging spoon. Most people categorize jigging spoons with deep water and suspended bass. No doubt, the jigging spoon is at its best with these conditions; but it is actually an extremely versatile lure. It is an excellent lure at catching schooling bass. Also, the jigging spoon excels when you need to cover water quickly in clear water. However, it is a highly underrated tool for bass fishing.
The spoon originated in bass fishing’s early days. Back then, they were literally made out of spoons. Fishermen would cut off the end of a spoon, drill a hole at each end and install a hook. Since then, the spoon has become more elongated and narrower. This “new-and-improved” version is what we generally acknowledged as the casting spoon. Along the way, someone decided to modify the spoon to where it was narrow and thick; thus the jigging spoon was born. Usually dressed with a single treble hook (often feathered), the lure is generally used for vertical fishing.
When bass (or other species, bass are not the only fish prone to eat the spoon) are lethargic, not many baits work better than a spoon dangling slowly and temptingly on the end of it’s nose. When water temperatures dip below 45 degrees, fish often times want the bait with a shake-pause, shake-pause cadence. With water above that temperature, most of the time it is best to use a lift-drop method when vertical jigging. As water temperatures rise and fish are more active, try “popping” the rod tip and letting the bait fall back on a slack line. As the bait falls, watch for the line to jump or for the bait to stop falling. In either case, set the hook.
In the fall, when bass are chasing shad and other baitfish and schooling them near the surface, is another prime-time for the jigging spoon. Just because, it has jigging in its name, does not mean it cannot be casted with great success. When the fish surface, cast the jig around the edge of the school and let it sink. Then, use a yo-yo retrieve, or a straight reel to simulate an injured baitfish trying to escape. Often times, the larger bass, will be towards the bottom of the school; letting the smaller, more active fish do the work and gorging themselves on the injured baitfish they let escape. In situations with schooling fish, you can also use the jigging spoon as a topwater and make the fish come up-top and eat it! Once again, cast to the school (around the edges or in the middle, it does not matter. You are targeting the active fish with this retrieve), and begin reeling as soon as the bait touches the water. As you burn the lure, it should skip across the surface, causing the illusion that a baitfish is escaping. You would be amazed at the intensity of the strikes!
One problem anglers frequently encounter when fishing the spoon is fouling. When the bait begins to fall on a slack line, the hook often snags on the line. When this happens, the fishermen usually feels an increase in resistance. Many times the hook can be freed by a simple pop of the rod tip, other times it must be brought in.
One thing that many anglers struggle with when fishing jigging spoons is color selection. There are two main colors that most manufacturers offer; gold and chrome. I get more strikes with a gold spoon when the water is stained, or the sky is overcast. However, this seems to be largely opinion. Many people I have spoken to swear on the exact opposite system; chrome when it is cloudy, gold the rest of the time. This is largely a matter of confidence. I will quote a well-known fishermen, “Confidence is the most important lure in your tackle box.” Heck use your confidence color for spinnerbait blades if makes more confident in the spoon (as long as it is chrome or gold).
No, the bucktail on the hook does not quite have the hair of Mr. Neugent, but it looks just as good to a bass. Anytime the bite is slow tie one on. Or, if your partner is killing you with the dropshot rig and you are can’t buy a bite, drop a spoon down to give a different look. The jigging spoon may not be the most glamorous bait in the box, but it can catch it’s share of bass.
Here’s to five alive,
Blake Rutherford (fisherboy15)