Bass on Weedless Spoons
By Jason Mitchell
There are many weedless soft plastic and frog options that can be pitched into wild rice, reeds, lily pads, and slop. Whenever there are stems or branches sticking out of the water however, weedless spoons can be tough to beat. Weedless spoons are typically going to be a little heavier than most weedless frogs or soft plastics rigged to work weedless over the tops of weeds so they do have to be retrieved faster but the shape and weight enable an angler to punch through the vegetation that is growing above the water much easier. For wild rice and pencil reeds for example where you want to cast with the seam of the stems and get back into the cover as far as possible, spoons really shine.
There are a lot of good weedless spoons on the market. The Johnson Silver Minnow is a classic that has been catching fish for years. The Northland Tackle Jaw Breaker Spoon is a modified spoon with a heavier weed guard that was really designed for penetrating thick wild rice and other hard to fish stems that collect on the hook and guard. What surprises many anglers new to weedless spoons is that there is some versatility with spoons depending on the retrieve and how the spoon is tipped. Spoons tipped with a craw or beaver tail style body will typically ride high through the water where the spoon drags across the surface while the soft plastic ripples or flops behind. Spoons tipped with a straight curl tail worm or ribbon tail worm will typically wobble and zig-zag just under the surface and can be rigged to flutter down into open pockets and edges.
The key with using these spoons in heavy cover to their utmost effectiveness starts with good casting and getting the lure moving through the water at the right pitch or angle with the line to the rod tip. These fundamentals are important because if the lure starts moving with the correct angle and speed as soon as it hits the water, the lure is going to move or load up fewer weeds. Many weedless presentations go through weeds just fine but if the stalks and stems are loading up and moving as the lure moves through the water, you are not going to catch as many fish. If you can see weeds moving as they hang up on the lure, the lure is not going to catch as much even if the weeds eventually slide past the weed guard and the lure comes clean.
To catch the most fish possible with weedless spoons, match up the right retrieve to the right tipping option to match up with the profile of the spot. Typically, we start on the edges of good cover like wild rice or pencil reeds and work our way in. On hot sunny days during the middle of the day or if there are high winds, fish often push deep into the bed. Often, experimenting with the soft plastic trailer regarding size, profile and color is more crucial than experimenting with the spoon. Spoons will catch plenty of fish without being tipped and spoons like the Jaw Breaker have a killer skirt that really looks good in the water but in many cases, the spoon is just a vehicle to deliver a soft plastic craw or worm. The weight of the spoon enables further casts and also enables the presentation to slice through vegetation above the water easier. For penetrating thick stands of wild rice and pencil reeds, weedless spoons really are one of the most efficient ways to pull big bass off of these locations. If nothing else, use the spoon as a search lure in heavy cover. Spoons can be fished fast and if a fish blows up and misses the spoon, an angler can always follow up with a traditional jig and pig or Texas rigged soft plastic.
For many anglers, weedless spoons often get overlooked. Weedless scum frogs are really popular right now as are other soft plastic options but these presentations shine when there is not much vegetation above the surface of the water, as these lures don’t have the weight to fall through stalks and stems. When fishing ultra shallow cover that hangs up soft plastics and frogs above the water, this is the perfect situation for weedless spoons.