Jigging Spoons for Bass

by: Dave Johnson - Bass Pro Radio.Com

 It was back in July of 1989, Two things happen that turned me on to a new lure.  First I was watching what was then the new Bass Masters TV show and there was a piece featuring Randy Fite and how he fished Jigging Spoons.  Second, a buddy of mine who trolls (I like to call them lure draggers) out on Lake Ontario for salmon and trout, told me about a hump about 2 miles off shore.  He said the water goes from 45-50 feet up to 18 feet.  He said he was catching a lot of springtime Browns and Rainbows over the hump as the fish started to move off shore due to the warming shallows.

 Now armed with this new deep-water weapon from the TV show, and this new fishing spot that should hold some open water smallies, I ventured out there to investigate!  This was before the days of GPS.  Finding open water structure on this big body of water was no easy chore.  My friend said that if I put my boat in the channel to one of the bays and took a magnetic north heading from the channel, I should find it.  Well I did find it the first time.   But I will admit there were a few other times that I missed it!  A few degrees off course and you go to the right or the left and miss it!!

 Once I got on top of the hump, I threw out a marker buoy so I would have a reference point.  I kept making bigger and bigger circles around my marker so I could find where the hump fell off into deeper water.   After I had about 6-8 markers out I found the hump was about 300 yards wide east to west, and about 100 yards north to south.  But what really got me excited was the hump was covered with balls of baitfish.  Once you saw the billions of baitfish on the depth sounder all you really needed to do is look over the side of the boat to see the simmering schools of 2-3 inch shad.  Needless to say I was getting pretty excited. 

 We started to throw crank baits and stick baits to see if we could find any Smallies but we could not get the baits down deep enough.  So then I remembered the Jiggin Spoon.  I tied on a Man-o-lure that was about the same size as the shad we were looking at.  I dropped it over the side and just like I had learned on the TV show let the spoon fall on slightly slack line until something stopped its fall.  As soon as it stopped I popped it back up but it had a 15-inch small mouth attached and the fight was on!!!

 What we found is, as we would drift to the edge of the baitfish, the bass were waiting in ambush to pick off the shad that broke away from the school.  We would let the spoon fall to the bottom, pop our rods up about 2 feet and then let the spoon fall on semi slack line.  This is real important to Jigging spoons.  If you slow them down they will fall straight down with no action.  If you let them fall at their own rate they will flutter back and forth like a feather falling in air.  This action makes them look like a wounded minnow and the bass, being a natural predator, are there to get rid of the weak bait and also get an easy meal!

 That morning we caught around 20 small mouths before being force off the lake by a Lake Ontario fog bank.  We could have stayed and caught fish but we were worried about being run down by one of the big cabin cruisers that prowl the open water of the big lake. 

 When I fish a jigging spoon I normally rig it on a medium heavy or heavy rod.  When fishing a 1/2 ounce lure you need a fairly stout rod to have any sensitivity.  Again, throw it out and let it fall to the bottom on slightly slack line.  Pop your rod and again let it fall.  Every time the lure stops pop it again.  If the lure does not pop, hang on!!  You most likely have a fish.  You will also get this lure hung up some times and you will rollover a lot of flat rocks on the bottom.  But when you roll some of those rocks you might give up the hiding place of a crawfish and that will bring roaming small mouths from a long distance.  So keep your lure around the spot and there is a good chance those smallies will see the spoon also!  I also check my hooks about every half hour.  As you are bouncing the lure off the bottom it will dull the hooks pretty quick.  I will either sharpen the hooks or replace them when they are dull!!  Sometime I just tie on a new lure so I can get back to the fish!!!!

 The big learning that day was that if you see baitfish drop a jigging spoon.  I have used this method on Lake Erie and picked up multiple 5-pound plus smallies and on the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Susquehanna River for a wild day with stripers. 

Big Lake Erie Jiggin Spoon Smallies!