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By Daniel Vinovich

When I was a young kid, I can remember going through my father’s tackle box, with permission of course.  There was one lure that no fisherman did without, the Johnson silver minnow.  It was my dad’s favorite lure and his dad’s favorite lure.  I know as some of you read this you can see your dad or maybe your grandfather tie one on.  Maybe it wasn’t a silver minnow.  It might have been an old spoon plug or maybe a daredevil, but no respected fisherman’s tackle box was without one.  

With all of the new high tech tackle available, a lot of these old but reliable lures have all but disappeared from the age of 80 mph boats and underwater cameras.  Spoons are probably one of the most versatile lures in existence.  They can be cast, jigged or even trolled, all with great success.  There are three basic presentations I use on walleye and sauger, jigging, rigging, and slip floats.  

For jigging, you need a heavy spoon such as the Bomber slab spoon or the Wazp Minnow Jig.  Both of these spoons are available in weights over 1 ounce, which is often needed when working deep structure or swift current.  To fish a jigging spoon, I prefer a 7 foot rod in a medium heavy action.  Rigging the spoon is simple.  You start by putting a high quality swivel 24 inches above your spoon.  This is to prevent line twist.  Jigging a spoon is a lot like ripping a blade bait.  you let out line until the spoon hits bottom.  Lock your spool and begin with a sharp upward snap of the wrist, then allow the spoon to flutter back to the bottom.  Most of your hits will occur as the spoon flutters on the fall.  So, if you feel any difference in weight, set the hook.  

Rigging spoons on 3-ways is one of my favorite river presentations.  The rig is made by attaching a 12 inch, 10 pound test leader to a #7 3-way swivel.  The end of the leader is attached to a 1 to 3 ounce lead sinker.  The amount of lead is determined by the speed of the current.  The next step is to attach a 36 inch, 10 pound leader to the second eye of the swivel.  On the end of this, you tie on a  Walleye Willow Spoon.  A willow spoon is a light weight spoon designed to be tipped with plastic or live bait.  It has a slow side to side swimming action that walleye and sauger cannot resist.  The rig is completed by tying the third swivel to your rod.  To fish this rig, you turn the bow of the boat upstream and troll, letting out just enough line so the weight just ticks the bottom.

Slip float spoons are a very effective way to fish shallow structure or weed beds.  You start by sliding a float stop and bead on your line.  Next, slip on a float.  There are a lot of floats on the market.  I prefer to use the pencil shaped floats.  Last comes the spoon.  I use very small spoons designed for ice fishing.  I also use the trout and panfish willow spoons.  The trick to using this rig is to add just enough split shots to the line so a majority of the float rides below the surface.  This is done so the walleye doesn’t feel any resistance when it takes the bait.  I usually tip the small spoons with a lively leech or minnow.  This rig is also my best crappie killer.

These are just a few ways to fish spoons for walleye, sauger, or any game fish.  I am sure with a little imagination you can come up with many uses for this old but reliable lure.  Give spoons a try.  They sure have made me a believer.

See ‘ya on the water,

Dan Vinovich

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