The popularity of casting spoons is almost universal. The key to success is learning the proper size and weight to mimic the prevalent baitfish and achieve the necessary casting distance, and to use the right retrieve. Decades ago we learned how to use spoon lures on Krocodiles, Kastmasters and Clarkspoons.
We learned which models swam fast and which swam slowly, which ran deep and which fluttered just below the surface, and used the ones best suited for different situations. We were dialed into the best fishing spoons.
How to Use Spoon Lures
In the spring, when it’s time to wade inlets and estuaries, smaller casting spoons with deep concave bodies like Johnson Sprite or the weedless Johnson Silver Minnow work well. The spoons suspend, tremble and sparkle above the estuarine grass, mimicking pinfish and other small forage fish, great for speckled trout and flounder.
When menhaden run, Krocodiles and similar spoons that wobble and flash get the nod. We caught many bluefish cranking spoons at a moderate speed through a blitz on the bunkers.
In summer, when water temperatures soar smaller, Kastmasters or Clarkspoons produce on Spanish mackerel. Their quiver that suggests the smaller baitfish that mackerel can’t resist.
In autumn, once the water cools big red drum or fast-moving false albacore come within range, opt for heavier, wider spoons that sink deeper and present a broader profile.
How to Use Saltwater Trolling Spoons
This basic but effective trolling spoon rig incorporates a cigar sinker or similar weight ahead of the leader to keep the spoon below the surface. To troll deeper or at a faster speed, use a heavier sinker. The only drawback is that the sinker remains connected to the line when you fight a fish.
Saltwater Trolling Spoons Explained
For trolling I turned to the L.B. Huntington Drone spoon. From the 4½-inch down to the 1½-inch, it’s effective for Spanish mackerel, kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, and dolphin. A similar single-hook trolling-spoon, the Reflecto, has puts tuna and wahoo on deck when other lures go untouched.
Rubber-Band Planer Rig Diagram
Below are the separate parts of the rubber-band planer rig.
- Girth-hitch a rubber band to the back of a snap swivel.
- Drop the spoon back to desired distance and tie the rubber band to your fishing line.
- Clip the snap to the deployed planer tether.
- Dip the rod tip in the water and provide enough slack to let the snap slide down the tether to the planer.
- 25 Feet of Mono Leader
- Albright knot
- 12 to 18 inches of cable leader
- Crimped sleeve
Different Types of Spoons for Saltwater
But spoon designs also include some made for specific needs. The Hopkins Shorty and No=EQL spoons were seen as specialty lures for a bluefish blitz. Their thickness, heft and slender profile enable the long casts, quick drops and fast retrieval speeds d to reach swift-moving fish running deep. Tony Maja’s bunker spoon, a wide, pear-shaped spoons created for striped bass remains a northeast favorite.
Rigging Spoon Lures
Likewise, a short length of surgical tubing in neon green, red, orange and other bright colors draws more strikes from stripers, bonito, bluefish, and mackerel. Modifications or not, spoons will continue to catch fish inshore, offshore and in between. As my grandfather used to say, every saltwater angler should have some and know how to use them.
Different Types of Spoons
- Top brands/models: Johnson Silver Minnow, Johnson Sprite, Rapala Rattlin’ Minnow
- Best retrievers: Slow to medium to stay just above grass, shell or rocks. Twitch and stop off and on to let spoon flutter.
- Target species: Redfish, seatrout, striped bass, flounder, bluefish, jacks and other inshore species
- Top brands/models: Acme Kastmaster, Luhr-Jensen Krocodile, Gator Spoon
- Best retrievers: Medium to fast with quick rod tip twitches to trigger reaction strikes.
- Target species: Schoolie kingfish, Spanish and cero mackerel, bluefish, bonito, jacks, barracuda
- Top brands/models: L.B. Huntington Drone, Luhr-Jensen Reflecto, Tony Maja Bunker
- Best retrievers: Troll off flat lines for surface action, and off downriggers, planers or wire lines for larger pelagics in midwater.
- Target species: Kingfish, Spanish and cero mackerel, wahoo, tuna, bluefish, dolphin, barracuda
- Top brands/models: Hopkins Shorty, Hopkins No=EQL, Cotton Cordel Jigging Spoon
- Best retrievers: Jig and bounce off bottom for fish hanging deep. Crank fast with hard rod-tip jerks for fast-moving fish.
- Target species: Striped bass, seatrout or bluefish hanging deep, flounder, sea bass and other bottom dwellers