shad jigs

‘SPOONS’ are a broader category for bass anglers…

A friend mentioned the other day that it seems catching fish on spoons (including blade baits, tailspins and ice-jigging baits) was not as productive on overcast days. He made that conclusion not only based on local, immediate conditions, but on log entries he had collected over the years.

The thought caught my interest, since there are several factors involved regarding baitfish at the depths typically associated with these type lures.

But after a little research, it’s plain that the baitfish and the fishermen are both partly to blame.

The fishermen, because they may ignore the fundamental concept of where bass “locate” (ie. travel, forage, scout, reside, spawn, sanctuary), which is somewhere in the top, middle or bottom of the water column. In other words, we often pigeon hole “spoon fish” as those found relatively deep and often at, below or just below schools of baitfish.

I’m not blaming them, however. Most bass fishermen know that threadfin shad begin to die-off fairly regularly at a water temperature of 45 degrees, and may not even survive when the water gets down to 42 degrees.

Yet, in lower elevation lakes in warmer climes there are reduced shad die-offs in winter. That would suggest that you can’t count on a direct correlation between spoon fishing and any winter demise (and downward fluttering) of baitfish.

Thus, spoon fishing may not be as productive during a moderate winter, only because of where the fish are actually holding/suspending. Under those more mild conditions, shad are able to feed on phyto-plankton, and that provides some possibilities. The shad may not be near the bottom, but somewhere much higher in the water column.

According to the scientists, the reason you sometimes see threadfin shad dimpling near the surface late in the day is that the phytoplankton present is using the last bit of sunlight to flourish. As this food source rises toward the light, so do the shad that feed on them.

Could it be that on those less productive “cloudy” days that the bait is just higher in the water column, not “down deep” where we often drop our jigging baits?

Yet consider some other situations. There may not need to be any bait “on the meter” for there to be bass below. The last half a dozen years or so I have caught many winter fish with a belly almost slathered in mud. These fish were hunkered down in the silt (presumably for insulation sake) and didn’t show on the meter at all.

Sometimes, bass hugging the bottom will stay put until they finally are moved to strike, while other times they may rise up (along with dozens of their cohorts) to meet your spoon as it falls toward them.

What the bait and bass are doing or what they are not doing are questions you have to explore.





8 Responses to “Looking for answers come ‘spoon time’”

I will drop a jigging spoon anytime I see a little bit of structure on the bottom. Sometimes those bass are so close to the bottom, they don’t show up on my graph. Spoons are great in winter but I’ve caught spoon fish during other seasons as well. I always get my spoon wet everytime I go fishing.

by George Kramer

Being open-minded with any bait is smart. But while we hope to get a reaction down deep, they can hit that spoon anywhere. Last report I got from El Capitan in late December was boiling fish hitting 1/12th ounce Kastmasters. That’s a version of spoon fishing as well. 😉

I have all kinds of spoons, but what do I tie on? A Bass Pro Shops 3/4oz Strada spoon in chrome finish! It’s so hard to change spoons when I’ve caught so many on this spoon, but I have vowed to try other spoons, and fish jigs this year!

Soon we forget the Shurmmy shad spoon for the shallow shad hiding in the brush during low light hours. The flutter spoons for those schooling summer shad feeders. Most folks think of spoons as structure spoons for cold water periods when the shad go deeper to survive the colder water. Threadfin shad are phytoplankton eaters and plankton moves with current, raises and falls with sun light. Spooning is all about sonar and birds, find the bait depth, put the spoon in front of the bass, it’s not rocket science.

by George Kramer

When present, those natural cues in conjunction with sonar readings are pinpoint helpful. They’re just not always in play.

What brand is that tail spinner in the picture?
Received one of these in a club raffle and it had no packaging / labeling etc. Had an amazing day on the lake with it been looking for it ever since. Found some that are close but not exactly the same.
Thank you.

That was a MARKEY–No longer made. Had popular spinnerbaits for a time, but just couldn’t sustain things.

Too bad, it’s a great bait.
Thank you for the info, much appreciated.