Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Jigging Spoons and Tail Spinners
Article January, 2003
I wrote this article several years ago and this is the time of the year for it to be used. I felt it would be a good article for this month, and for all who missed it and all who may reread it.
We are fast approaching the time where jigging spoons and tail spinners will be the bait of choice. As the fish start moving to their deep water sanctions the spoon will come into play. This bait comes in an array of sizes and shapes. I use the CC spoon that is chrome in color. Some days I will use the 3/8 oz. and on some days I will go to the 3/4 oz. spoon. Normally I do not change from these two sizes of bait. I will normally use my electronics to locate fish on deep humps, road beds, and Creek channels.
Another good place to look is on the edges of the old boat lanes. Bass are very structure oriented and any break in the normal structure can attract these fish. The fish can be scattered all over a boat lane. Or they can be bunched up on a small hump or any existing brush pile. Be sure and mark these fish with a buoy so that you can get over the top of these fish and be able to vertically drop the spoon or tail spinner down to the bottom where the fish are located. I will then use either a sweeping motion to bring the spoon off of the bottom around two feet and let it fall back to the bottom. I will keep my line just tight enough as the bait falls so that I can feel any strike. I also watch my line very closely to see if it should stop before reaching the bottom. You will have to practice your hook setting ability because when a strike is detected you have to set the hook immediately. Most of the strikes will either be a small tick or the bait might just stop before it reaches the bottom. On some days the fish may want the spoon jerked off the bottom very rapidly with a few hops added in to emulate an injured bait fish. Then there are the days where the fish only want you to stand the bait up on the end and let it fall over on its side. There are also the days where they want the bait slowly brought up off the bottom and then just let it fall back to the bottom staying in contact with your line.
You will have to play around with line size. Use the lightest line that you can get away with on the type of structure your fishing. The lighter the line the better the spoon will fall and result in more strikes. This again goes back to size and presentation. When the weather has changed and we have those bright skies after a major cold front the spoon size and line size can play an important role whether you will catch fish that day or not. Should you find suspended fish and locate the proper depth at which to drop your spoon just let it hang and natural twist in the line will cause the spoon to twirl. On certain days that is all that is needed to draw a strike. During the winter I have caught fish in 36 to 48 feet of water. As I said earlier based on the type of structure that you are fishing the lighter the line the more fish you catch. But because of structure that is present you may have to go to a heavier line.
The tail spinner type lures are fished basically the same as you would a jigging spoon. The biggest difference is that this type of bait has a small spinner on the tail. This bait can be cast out and swam back to the boat on a countdown method where you may be fishing for suspended fish.
You can also cast this bait out and let it fall to the bottom and hop it back to the boat as if it were an injured bait fish. These type of baits also come in a lot of different shape and sizes. You will have to choose the one that you like best. With either of these type lures you need to watch your line as the bait falls back to the bottom.
When you are fishing a spoon you will catch a lot of yellow bass or as we call them bar fish. There is no daily bag limit or size limit and from what I understand they are very good eating. You have to be extremely careful when you are taking these fish off of the hook. Their gill plates are very sharp and can cut you if you are not careful. I will normally grab these fish with my fingers and close their gill plates and hold them firmly until I get the hook dislodged. A good pair of needle nose pliers will also come in handy. Normally when you find the bar fish there will be big bass close by. These bar fish are also a good food source for our bass. Don't be surprised when you are reeling up a bar fish that on some occasions a very large bass will follow the fish to the surface and hit it just as you are taking it from the water. I can't tell you how many times I have told clients about this and have them laugh until it happens to them. Remember the state record was caught while a man was fishing for crappie.
Thanks and Good Fishing,
by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim