A spoon for all occasions
It was one of those question-slash-challenges more often spawned by boredom or a snack break while on the water, but not in this case. As a matter of fact, the catching could not have been going much better at the time.
Due to a southwest wind that eliminated any hope of fishing the open lake, we had fished virtually every other pattern available throughout the morning and caught fish at every stop. The species were as varied as the venues. We caught everything from sand trout to a small shark. The action was non-stop and while we had been in a catch and release mode since mid-morning, we had already managed to box four slot reds, five flounder and several solid specks.
Over the course of the day, we had fished the bayous, two backwater ponds, a mile or so of semi-protected shoreline in the lake, the rocks along the revetment wall and the shallow flats in Old River Cove. Tal Blanchard and I took advantage of an early spinner bait bite, but for the most part had stuck with a pumpkin-chartreuse Sea Shad rigged on a quarter ounce jig head and consistently caught more fish than his father-in-law, Doc Settles.
Doc tied on a gold quarter ounce Johnson Weedless Minnow spoon on the business end of his 7-foot medium action spinning rod at the boat launch that morning and it was still tied on at the end of the day. He re-tied a short section of new leader a time or two, but never changed lures.
Doc caught his fair share of keepers, but finished a distant third in the numbers category. For that very reason, Tal ribbed him time and again for his unwillingness to switch to the obviously more productive soft plastics. His reply was always the same, “Some folks are married to topwaters and some just want to catch fish…..I like the spoon!”
Mildly frustrated by his father-in-law’s unwillingness to at least give the tail a try, the question of the day was finally posed and perhaps answered far too quickly. Having fished with Doc from Baffin Bay to Grand Isle and already knowing his answer, Tal asked both of us, “If you could take only one lure fishing in this type of water…what would it be?”
While I am convinced that there is a reason and a season for several types of lures and I do prefer some over others, my immediate reply was a 4-inch tube jig rigged with a quarter ounce head. “You haven’t fished a tube with us the past two years,” squawked Tal, “Where did that answer come from!”
“I think the tube is seldom if ever the best lure, but it is versatile and at one time or another I have used it to catch virtually every species of fish that exists in this ecosystem,” I replied. “Pinned down to just one lure….that would be my choice.”
“Dad, you don’t even have to answer,” interrupted his son-in-law, “but I have seen you catch some big trout on Corkies and Super Spooks down south.” Doc reeled in his spoon, put his rod in the holder and smiled as if he were the only one with the correct answer.
“I know Dickie thought he caught us a little off guard, but your question was too specific for me to choose any plastic and you know your top waters have way too many limitations,” stated the wiser of the three of us. “I would probably agree with the guide’s choice of plastics since he knows these waters better than we do, but you said only one lure….not a jig head and a pack of tails.”
“What happens when your one plastic body tears up and will no longer stay on the jig. That could be on the first fish or the tenth, but you are done,” he pointed out. “What if there is too much vegetation to fish it through or the rocks are too bad or they want it on top?” he asked matter of factly. I had already conceded before he picked his rod up and dangled his spoon in our direction.
“I can throw my old gold spoon into the toughest of winds, fish it from top to bottom, swim it through the grass and rocks without hanging up and it will still be with me at the end of the day. I know it isn’t the end all-be all lure, but you said one lure and I don’t know of anything else that versatile or durable,” he added while in mid-cast towards the shoreline.
Having silently settled for second place at best, I was pondering why I don’t throw the weedless spoon more often. I fish it in certain situations, but never as a “go to” choice for every application. It has flash, a great swimming action, casts like a bullet and fished with a small in-line barrel swivel produces no line twist.
How many dollars worth of your favorite plastic tails will you fish your way through before you wear out even one spoon? Should you decide to splurge and buy one in gold and one in silver or even two different sizes you could easily buy a new rod or reel at the end of the year with the money saved. Wives just have to understand that there is never actually any money saved when it comes to fishing!
The question of the day should have been, “What is there not to like about a spoon?”