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The Saltwater Magazine for Gulf Coast Fishing!

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Tackle Time
Spring Issue 2007
 
Start With a Spoon...

Coastal angling is one of the hottest things going. Look at any boat ramp or TV fishing show and you'll see coastal fishing is on the rise. If you're new to this saltwater environment you may wonder where do you start? You've got to buy rods, reels, line and lures. Oh, yeah, lures. How do you decide which lure to use?

A great place for the beginner to learn about lures is to start with a classic. Numerous all time top 10 lure lists include the same lure. A lure that has been around since the start of lure fishing. Start with a spoon.

Spoons were among the first lures invented and remain one of the most successful lures of all time. Coastal angling and spoons go back together throughout history. Ask any coastal angler which lure to choose for catching redfish and a spoon will be included on their list. For many of those anglers a spoon holds the top spot on their list.

If you're fishing for redfish start with a weedless spoon. The weedless feature allows coastal anglers to fish a spoon in areas interspersed with grass. Redfish like to hang out in grass because that's where the food lives. Small crabs, small shrimp and small baitfish all live and grow in grassy areas.

The spoon most often used to pursue redfish is a weedless gold spoon. In either the or 1/2 oz. version, it's the favorite of many coastal anglers and hard to beat. Spoons work great for the beginner because they can be properly worked with any tackle. Simply throw the spoon out and make a steady retrieve. Anglers want the spoon to wobble on retrieve, not spin.

Gold weedless spoons are a great way for beginners to start but there are a few variations beginners should also consider. One is a copper colored spoon. In some areas a copper spoon will out produce a gold colored spoon. One company, Texas Tackle Factory of Victoria, Texas, has recently re-introduced the copper weedless spoon. Company President Keith Rainwater heard about copper spoons from a lot of fishers in the Port O'Connor, Texas area so he decided to make some.

"There's a big following of copper spoons in the Port O'Connor area," Rainwater stated in an interview. "There was a void left when all of the other companies decided not to make their weedless spoons with a copper finish. We try to give our customers what they want."

Another spoon beginners will find useful is a silver spoon with single treble hook. To fish, this spoon probably looks very similar to small baitfish. A small, silver treble hooked spoon, in the 1/8 or 1/4 oz. size, is a great lure for catching speckled trout, Spanish mackerel and other fish. The silver spoon is also easily worked by both beginners and experienced anglers, by simply throwing out the spoon and retrieving it with a steady retrieve.

One thing anglers add to their spoon is a small, brightly colored tag. Most spoons are sold with small red, pink or orange tags included in the package. Often seasoned anglers will not fish a spoon without this tag and for good reason. The tag helps you catch more fish.

The small plastic tag is often a target for fish species other than those the angler is after. Needlefish are notorious for snipping at this tag. Piggy perch also find the tag irresistible. Attracting baitfish to the lure may also attract the game fish's attention.

Anglers can make their own tag by buying a package of fluorescent pink, soft plastic, shrimp tails. Simply slice the shrimp tail like you would a sausage in thin slices, hang one of the slices on the spoon hook and you're set.

Spoons can also be used when fishing for larger fish like bull reds and crevalle jack. Large silver spoons, 2 to 5 oz. in weight, are a great option for the beginner to start their fishing for these big fish.

These spoons weigh enough that beginners can cast them the extra distance often required when fishing for larger fish. Again anglers simply cast a large spoon in front of the school of fish and make a steady retrieve. The fish will find the spoon.

As with any lure make sure the spoon hook is very sharp. To test the sharpness simply run the hook point down your thumbnail. A sharp hook point easily digs into the nail without any pressure. If the point does not dig in, the hook point needs to be sharpened. Anglers should check hook sharpness several times during the day especially after catching a number of fish. Usually the hook point will need to be touched up with a file.

It's also a good idea to mash down the barb on the hook. Barbs were designed to hold bait on a hook, not the fish. Hooks with a mashed down barb actually penetrate easier than hooks with a full barb. Anglers will find single hook spoons are much easier to remove from fish, especially large jacks or redfish. Large fish are hard enough to handle without having to worry about a thrashing fish snagging a treble hook into you when removing the hook. With a single, barbless hook the fish is easily released.

Large spoons sold with a big treble hook can easily be converted by removing the treble hook and adding a strong split ring with a single hook. The less time it takes to handle large fish the more likely they will be released in good shape. The single barbless hook makes this possible.

Spoons are a great way for the beginner to start coastal fishing. They don't take much practice to use and anglers using spoons will find out they are great fish catchers.

Start with a spoon and you'll start catching fish.

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