How to Fish a Spoon

Spoons are a type of artificial lure that is popular with many anglers because of how easy they are to use. For beginners, spoons are also very helpful in practicing many types of fishing techniques, including casting, retrieving, and jigging.

The Basics of Spoon Fishing

These lures are called “spoons” because of their concave shape which allows waves to catch the spoons and move them around in the water. Based on their designs, different spoons will produce different movements: a longer or deeper spoon will go side-to-side more than a shorter or shallower spoon.

The spoons move and flash light the same way that a bait fish does, making them ideal lures for catching big fish that eat smaller fish, like walleye, largemouth bass, muskies, trout, salmon, and northern pike.

Types of Spoon Fishing Lures

There are many types of fishing spoons with different ways of acting in the water—casting, weedless, surface/topwater, jigging, or trolling—and which one you use will depend on how and where you want to fish.

Casting Spoons

This is the most traditional type of spoon, with a deep cup and an oval shape that produce a strong back-and-forth movement. Casting spoons will have a single or treble hook that hangs from the lure on a split ring, allowing it to move freely with the spoon. They come in a range of sizes: ¼ to ¾ oz. casting spoons are used to fish for walleyes, bass, and pike; 1/36 oz. are used for panfish; and spoons that weigh 3 oz. or more are used for lake trout, muskies, and pike.

The name of this type of spoon comes from the technique used with it: casting it out and reeling it back. Mixing up how fast you cast or where you place the lure can encourage curious fish to bite.

Trolling Spoons

Perfect for slow trolling behind a boat, these spoons are much thinner than casting spoons, with a lightweight fluttering movement that is especially attractive to trout, salmon, and walleyes. Trolling spoons can be submerged using a downrigger or diving pane, or sunk even further down to target species near the bottom by using a long line on a diving crankbait rig.

Topwater/Surface Spoons

A topwater or surface spoon is specially designed to be used over water with thick vegetation where fish like pike, bass, and muskies like to hide. They are usually made of flashy plastic with extra attractors to draw the fishes’ interest, and when one floats its hooks are pointed upward, making snags on vegetation less likely.

If you are using a topwater spoon, remember to point at the spoon with the tip of your rod, and wait to feel the fish’s pull before setting the hook. Sometimes the fish will totally miss the lure due to the vegetation in the water, and you’ll need to keep moving the lure to keep its attention and make it strike again.

Weedless Spoons

These spoons are used in water that has very thick cover like sunken logs or aquatic weeds. In size they are ¼ oz. to 11/8 oz., and they have one hook that is securely welded to the spoon body and protected from snagging by a wire guard. This spoon is used with special retrieval strategies. “Straight retrieve over and thru the cover” tips the hook with a pork rind or plastic grub to add another attractor. “Twitching and pausing” casts the spoon into open spaces in the water and allows it to settle there.

Jigging Spoons

These spoons are are made for the technique of vertical jigging, which many anglers use to catch walleye, bass, or other fish that live in deep water. Jigging spoons’ thick, heavy shape allows them to sink quickly, and when they are pulled or “jigged” they flash brightly.

When fishing with jigging spoons, choose a medium heavy, fast-action rod, and a 12-2 lbs. line with low stretch. After casting the spoon, you’ll need to use many short, small jerks of your rod to move the spoon and increase your odds of a strike. When your line falls in the water, keep an eye on it, and set your hook if it twitches or stops.

Spoon Colors

Fishing spoons also come in many different colors for many different fish species and water types. There are so many that it can be hard sometimes to make a choice, but there are some classic and reliable colors worth investing in.

For use in slightly stained or clear water, use casting spoons with nickel or brass backs with colors of red and white, black and white, or red five of diamonds on yellow.

In darker, more deeply stained water, use brass or nickel backs combined with orange, yellow, or firetiger colors.

Trolling spoons’ colors are designed to imitate the forage of fish found in large bodies of water like ciscoes, smelt, and alewives. They typically use shades of blue, green, or purple combined with nickel or brass backs.

These are just general recommendations, since many fish species will be attracted to a specific color spoon . When you are planning to use spoon lures in a water system that is new to you, it is worth doing more in-depth research with local fishing pro shops or guides, so that you can find the right spoon in the right color for your fishing situation.