A large number of folks that responded to my poll saying they average fishing about one day a month. Due to that response, I decided to write some "How-To" articles. These articles will present things that have worked for me over the years, most of them learned by trial and error - mostly error! They are not necessarily the best way or the only way, but just a technique that has worked for me. Please, if you have a better or different way of catching fish, let me know!
What Kinds of Fish Hit Jigging Spoons?
Fall is a great time to jig a spoon. Here in middle Georgia, shad bunch up and the black bass, white bass, hybrids and stripers and crappie bunch up under them as the water cools in late October and early November when the water temperatures reach the low 60s. Dropping a jigging spoon to these schooled up fish is an efficient way to catch them, and often the best way to catch them.
Tackle To Use Jigging a Spoon
I use a 5 1/2 foot Lightning Rod casting rod with an Ambassadeur 5500C reel spooled with 17# clear Stren line. The rod has lots of backbone but a light tip. The tip allows me to work the spoon, and the strong backbone helps set the hook hard. The reel handles the heavy line well and I know I can "count down" the spoon by counting the times the level wind goes across the spool. Each pass equals 8 feet of line out. I can use the heavy line here because the water is usually fairly stained. In clear water, I drop back to 12 or even 10 pound line, and use a somewhat lighter rod.
If I target smaller fish like white bass or even crappie I use a light spinning rod and light line to give the smaller spoons more action and to get a better fight from the fish.
There are many spoons available. Hopkins makes several models and all work good. I had exceptional luck with a Mr. Champ spoon for several years, but it is no longer made, as best I can tell. The Kastmaster is very similar to it but has not worked as well for me. Bomber, Dick Nite Spoons, Binks Spoons and other companies make slab spoons and there are many locally produced spoons that will work. Silver is the usual color, but I have had good luck with gold spoons also.
I always put a split ring in the eye of any spoon I am using to allow it to move freely. Most come with one, but I will not fish one without it. I also replace the hooks on most spoons. I like light wire hooks that are extremely sharp. You need a sharp hook to stick in the fish on a light strike, and the light wire hooks will straighten if you get hung and you won't lose as many spoons.
Where To Find Fall Fish For Spoon Jigging
Ride points, humps and creek channels with a good depthfinder like the Lowrance HD models, looking for clouds of shad. Often you will see marks of fish under them, showing the predators you are after. Even if you don't see the bigger fish, try fishing under the shad if they are near the bottom anyway. You might get a nice surprise.
Also look for cover like standing trees where crappie and bass hold. They will suspend in the trees and wait on schools of shad to come by.
How To Jig A Spoon for Fall Fish
Get your boat right on top of the school of shad. I have a depthfinder on the front of my boat with the transducer mounted to the trolling motor, and this helps. Drop the spoon to the bottom on a tight line, watching your line. If it stops before hitting the bottom, or if your line jumps, set the hook. Fish will almost always hit on the fall.
If nothing grabs it on the first drop, start by lifting your rod tip about two feet and letting the spoon fall back, being alert for a bite at all times. Keep this motion up, with a steady up and down pump, for several minutes. If nothing hits, start popping the spoon off the bottom higher, moving it up three and then four feet. Sometimes the long flutter back is what it takes. Vary the speed of the rise and also the height to see what the fish want.
Something else to try is sliding the spoon on the bottom or letting it lay there without rising off the bottom. This is especially effective in real cold water, or if the fish are inactive for some other reason. Try it and see if that is what they want!
Sandbars near deep water have always been good for me, and often a clean, smooth bottom is best. Don't hesitate to drop your spoon around brush and stumps, though. Usually you can get it back, often with a fish attached!
Give spoons a try where you fish. All kinds of fish will hit them, and they can make your fall fishing even better.