Sometime you just gotta get flashy. Sure. Subtlety has its place in trout fishing world, and at times it’s all about matching the hatch. The trout can’t eat what they can’t see, though, and when streams push hard and pick up a little stain, the fish become much more opportunistic, often operating in ambush mode. That’s one of the times when a flashy spoon comes in mighty handy.
Spring weather systems commonly cause trout streams to swell, which totally changes the best angling approaches. Longer casts, bigger baits, increased flash, extra thump and a need to deliver offerings into sometimes-distant eddy areas all come into play, and spoons fit the bill well for all these tasks. It’s important to note, however, that not all spoons are big, fast and flashy. Lightweight spoons in muted tones or with natural patterns allow for subtle presentations that provide appeal under more moderate conditions while still kicking out vibration, which helps get the fish’s attention.
When many anglers think of spoons and trout, the images that come to mind are those of fairy large and sometimes heavy metallic offerings that get pulled behind downriggers for Great Lakes brown trout, steelhead and salmon, and indeed spoons account for tremendous numbers of big-water trout. Smaller versions of the same types of offerings have similar appeal in creeks and rivers, though, with great casting applications. Those are the applications we will consider.
With all spoons being formed from metal and somewhat flat, and most being elongated with a treble hook at one end and a line tie at the other, you wouldn’t think there would be many differences among them. Looking more closely, though, numerous variables affect not only the way spoons look but how they cast, sink and swim and the amount of vibration they emit. Understanding variables and their effects is important because switching from one spoon to another — even another of similar size and general appearance — can be the difference between casting and catching.
Size is the most basic and obvious variable, with spoons used for stream trout typically ranging from about 3 1/2 inches down to less than an inch in length. Very generally speaking, bigger spoons work better in bigger streams; however, the current flow, the color of the water, the size of the trout and the size of forage also influence the best choice. Given low flows and high skies, for example, you very well might want to tackle a large river in small pieces, using a small spoon and making short casts.
A spoon’s thickness and weight, relative it overall size, is important factor because that impacts how easily it can be cast, how it handles in the current, the speed it can be worked and the depth of water it is suitable for probing. A Lindy Vikings Spoon is well equipped for the high water that is common during the spring in many rivers. It’s heavy enough to make the accurate casts often needed to hit defined eddies and to handle well in the current, but it can still be kept off the bottom and out of the rocks by working it with the rod held high. For lower flows, a lightweight spoon like an Acme Tackle Phoebe is often a better choice.
An individual spoon’s wobble is another important factor and the one the calls for the most on-the-water research and day-by-day experimentation. Some spoons spin; others wobble widely; still others wiggle tightly or jump erratically. There really isn’t a formula for the right action for each situation, although harder kicking and more erratic actions tend to appeal to more aggressive fish on dark days and in higher or more turbid flows. Carry an array of spoon designs and invest time playing with each to see how each moves with different retrieves.
Related to the trout’s likely aggressiveness, always consider a spoon’s profile. The shape of a spoon obviously affects its sink rate and the way it moves in the water, but it’s also important in terms of what the fish actually sees coming through the water. A broader bodied bait looks substantially bigger than a narrow spoon of the same length, and if it’s a flashy metal spoon, it will reflect far more light. That, of course can be good or bad, depending upon conditions and the mood of the fish.
Pages: 1 2