Spoons are catching great numbers of assorted fish from Lake Lanier right now! These little metal lures when jigged vertically at depths of 20 to 30 feet, are producing terrifically!
Since most schools of fall and winter bass remain in open water near the larger shad schools, they are more difficult to locate. Therefore, accurate sonar equipment is a “must” when trying to find these schools. However, any good visual sonar unit that is understood by the person using will work. Other needed items are a powerful electric trolling motor, front mounted flasher or graph, and a few highly-visible buoy markers.
The accepted outfit for vertical spooning is a five to six foot medium action graphite rod with one of the old style baitcasting reels like Garcia’s 5500C or a Daiwa Millionaire. Load the reel with twelve to seventeen pound test Stren high-visibility line for best results and fewer lost spoons.
Since most predator fish are usually suspended well above the bottom, a method to accurately put the spoon at the desired depth is a necessity.
Therefore, the previously mentioned older baitcasting reels are perfect. They possess a level-wind guide that goes from side to side as the line is pulled from the reel. A measurement of the length of line removed during one pass across the face of the reel, divided into the desired depth will give the number of passes needed to reach the proper depth. Depending upon variables like size of line and fullness of the spool, most of the reels will measure five to seven feet per pass. By the way, these older reels are often purchased cheaply at neighborhood garage sales.
Jigging spoons come in many different weights, shapes, and colors, so choosing the right one can be difficult for a newcomer to deep water fishing.
When jigging in water deeper than twenty feet, however, straight spoons are best.
A curved spoon can be used in shallower water, but it flutters so much that positive control is lost and strikes are hard to detect. Therefore, it’s always best to stick with the straight spoons.
To actually locate feeding schools of fish, watch the graph closely while crisscrossing the deepest part of any creek channel until either suspended fish or bottom-hugging schools appear on the screen. If you don’t see fish, don’t waste your time!
After locating a school of fish, catching them is fairly easy. Throw out a floating buoy marker as a visual indicator, then drop the spoon straight down to the desired depth and jig it sharply upward twelve to twenty-four inches, allowing it fall back on a tight line. Since most strikes come as the spoon is falling, it is necessary to watch the line carefully for any sign of change.
If a difference is noted, sweep the rod upward quickly in an effort to set the hook.
When the surface temperature of the water drops below fifty degrees, try slowing the spoon’s movement down a little and don’t jig it upwards as far. In fact, sometimes just holding the spoon still in one place for up to twenty seconds will produce strikes in colder water.
One big mistake made by newcomers to jigging spoons in deep water is their tendency to become lazy and just drag the lure. Since the line always seems to be going straight down, anglers often continue jigging in the same place.
What they don’t realize is that in open water, the boat is always moving. Even though a more pronounced angle might be noticed where the line meets the water, the tendency is to continue dragging the lure. When that tiny angle is transmitted into as much as thirty feet, the spoon is no longer where the fisherman expects it to be, and he has unknowingly lost control. An angler casting to a shoreline would never think of making the cast then allowing the movement of the boat to do the rest, and to be successful spooning in deep water, the same work ethic must be adopted. If not, the result will be plenty of lost lures and no fish.
Deep water spooning is always either “feast or famine”. The “feasts” right now, however, have been fantastic!