I always look forward to the fall and early winter because this is one of the most productive times of year to fish a jigging spoon.
Until I met Rick Tietz I knew very little about spoon fishing. You would be hard pressed to find someone who knows more about fishing spoons than Tietz. He is the creative genius behind Blade Runner Tackle and his line of Duh Spoons have earned a reputation for catching oversized black bass, big salmon and trophy stripers. When stripers group up in the fall there is no better or more fun way to catch them than with a spoon.
The key to finding stripers is to locate the bait. Delta stripers forage on many different prey items including bluegill, split tails, crawfish and shad. For the most part, find the shad, especially the larger shad and the stripers won’t be far off. Tietz advises to keep a look out for active birds working bait boils. If there are no visual signs of bait, Tietz will use his Lowrance electronics to search for shad and active stripers. Good places to begin your search include drop offs, channel ledges and deep holes.
Once you locate a group of fish you need to pay close attention to their movement. “Stripers move with the tides,” said Tietz. “I have followed groups of fish for miles with my trolling motor on high. There have been times when my spoon would never reach the bottom for hours. Stripers can be in 35 feet of water one minute and they can be feeding on the surface the next minute and then they will go right back down to deep water the next.”
Blade Runner Tackle offers a full line of spoons in 8 different sizes ranging from .75oz to 4oz. Tietz recommends starting out with the popular 82mm 1.75oz model. The 82mm has great action and is the perfect workhorse. As conditions dictate, Tietz adjusts his spoon size to compensate for wind, depth and current.
Two factors that play an important role in successful spoon fishing are water clarity and spoon color. “You gotta read the clarity of the water,” advised Tietz. “In cleaner water I’ll go with a chartreuse and white or electric chicken. If I am fishing a deep school in 30′ to 35′ of water, there is not as much light penetration even in clear water, I will go with a 2oz. dark green. The fish see the darker colors so much better in deeper water. If it is stained, chartreuse white and firetiger are good. Another interesting color is chrome. In dark water chrome looks black and in clear water it reflects a tremendous amount of light.”
Spooning for stripers does not require a specialized rod and reel set up. Tietz likes a medium heavy to heavy action rod with a parabolic bend A rod with a fast tip can tear the hooks out of a striper’s mouth. A good fiberglass crankbait rod such as the Cousins Tackle FRB733PT makes an excellent spoon rod. Pair your rod with a high speed casting reel and 25lb monofilament line and you will be ready for action.
Working a jigging spoon is not a difficult technique to learn. Start by allowing your bait to free spool to the bottom or if the fish are suspended, stop the spoon’s descent just above the level of the fish. Pay close attention to your bait as many bites will come on the initial drop. Work the spoon in a yo-yo like fashion, snapping the tip of the rod upward while using the flex of the rod. Keeping controlled slack in your line as it falls will allow the spoon to flutter with the proper action and will also keep the hook points from tangling in your line. Be alert as most of your bites will occur as the spoon flutters downward. Experiment with cadence until you find the rhythm that works best.
Spoons catch fish of all sizes. You never know what you’ll catch when you drop your spoon down. Sometimes you will be surprised just as we were when Tietz caught and released a 30lb plus striper on our last outing.