Fishing with spoons – a Complete Guide!

fishing with spoons

Fishing with spoons – a Complete Guide!

This article will thoroughly cover fishing with spoons. Spoons are very effective and versatile lures that will catch a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater game fish! Anglers can cast, troll, or vertically fish spoons to catch fish. Capt Jim Klopfer runs fishing charters in Sarasota, Florida. He fishes with spoons often in both freshwater and saltwater environments. These are his tips for fishing with spoons.

A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook at the rear. The shape of the spoon and the design of the bend will determine the action that it has. For the most part, spoons imitate wounded bait fish. They put out a lot of flash and vibration, mimicking a wounded and easy prey. Spoons can be used to cover the entire water column, from surface feeding fish to those right on the bottom.

fishing for rainbow trout

Fishing with spoons

Spoons are very versatile and effective fishing lures. They are available in endless sizes and finishes so that anglers can match the locally available forage. Anglers can cast them out and retrieve them back in. Trolling with spoons produces a lot of fish. Vertically jigging a spoon is extremely effective when game fish are schooled up in deep water over structure. This is a technique used by many anglers ice fishing.

Read this article by Capt Jim to learn more about and shop for the best freshwater fishing spoons

One of the most enticing aspects of fishing with spoons is that it is relatively easy. Some lures have very little action, the angler must make the lure look “alive”. Other lures have “built in action”, and spoons fall into this category. They wobble with a steady retrieve, putting out both flash and vibration. These imitate a wounded or dying bait fish.

Spoons are also fairly dense and heavy. This results in spoons being easy to cast a good distance. This can certainly help when searching for fish. Finally, spoons are reasonably priced, as far as lures are concerned.

Swivels are crucial when fishing with spoons

The one downside to fishing with spoons is that they spin in the water, there is no getting around it. This is true no matter what the fishing technique. That is why swivels need to be used with spoons. The simplest method is a snap swivel. This allows the spoon to spin while making lure changes fast and easy. The smallest snap swivel that will hold up should be used. Another option in an inline swivel with a piece of leader, usually 24” or so, between the swivel and the spoon.

Great Lakes salmon fishing

Fishing spoon varieties

Most spoons are versatile and can be used casting, trolling, and vertical jigging. There are some specialty spoons that really are designed for one application. Anglers can get an idea of a spoons action and purpose by the shape of the spoon. The wider it is, the more it flutters and the slower it should be worked. Slender spoons have a tighter wiggle are can be worked faster.

Casting spoons

spoon fishing in Sarasota

The majority of spoons fall into the casting spoon category. As stated above, this does not mean that they can’t be trolled or jigged, quite the contrary. Casting spoons have the classic spoon “teardrop” shape; narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. This shape results in a spoon that casts well and has a pronounced side to side wobble.

These spoons are cast out, allowed to sink, then retrieved back in at a steady pace. Anglers can give the rod tip a twitch followed by a pause. This will at times trigger a strike. Spoons are effective fished over the top of submerged weeds for trout, pike, musky, and bass in fresh water. Saltwater anglers fish spoons on flats and in bait pods for striped bass, mackerel, bluefish, trout, jacks, and other species.

northern pike fishing

Casting spoons usually have a single treble hook on the rear of the spoon. Some are sometimes dressed with buck tail or other material to increase the attraction. Some spoons have a single “J” hook, which facilitates an easier release. Anglers can easily change the hook as well.

Read this article by Capt Jim to learn more about and shop for the best saltwater fishing spoons

Casting spoons are excellent search baits. Anglers can cover a lot of water in search of fish. The strikes are easy to detect as well; the fish usually inhales the spoon. Casting spoons are also a terrific choice when working “breaking fish”. These are game fish that have trapped bait against the surface. Spoons can be cast into the mix and a bite is almost a certainty. The ability to make long casts can really make a difference.

Striped bass, white bass, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass will exhibit this behavior in freshwater. Saltwater anglers will encounter striped bass, bluefish, false albacore, jack crevalle, ladyfish, and other species. A silver casting spoon is tough to be in this situation!

There is another type of casting spoon, the weedless spoon. These spoons wave a wide body with the hook riding up. A weed guard is also present. This combination results in a spoon that slithers through and over vegetation. While designed decades ago for largemouth bass, weedless spoons have become a favorite for shallow water saltwater anglers, especially for redfish.


Trolling spoons

trolling with spoons and planers

Trolling spoons are specifically designed to troll behind the boat. Many of the specific trolling spoons are designed for saltwater species. The reason for this is the speed at which anglers troll in saltwater. When freshwater fishing, most anglers troll fairly slowly. This results in the same casting spoons being effective.

Normal spoons can not be trolled at the 5-7 knots that mackerel and other saltwater species prefer. Therefore, specially designed spoons are used. These are long and slender and have a very tight wiggle. Silver is the most popular finish, though some anglers prefer the bright prism finishes. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

fishing charter in Sarasota

When trolling spoons, anglers have several choices in order to get the lure down to the desired depth. Anglers trolling near the surface for trout will do fine just tying on a spoon and trolling. Inline snap on sinkers are very handy and will get the spoon down deeper. Serious anglers, particularly in the Great Lakes, use downriggers. Saltwater anglers use planers, again due to the higher trolling speeds.

Read this detailed article on trolling with spoons and planers

Jigging spoons

Jigging spoons are usually heavy and sink quickly. Starting at the bottom, the spoon is jigged sharply and then allowed to flutter down on a slack line. Repeated presentations will often trigger fish, even those inactive fish. After several tries, the spoon is reeled up a few feet and the process repeated. This can be done all the way to the surface. One benefit of this technique is that the lure remains in the strike zone for almost the entire time, increasing the odds of a bite.

Check out this article on the best ice fishing spoons

For obvious reasons, anglers ice fishing can only use a vertical presentation. Therefore, jigging spoons are one of the most effective lures used by anglers ice fishing. They will catch just about every species that swims. Live bait is often added to the hook to increase the chance of a strike, fish in water that cold can be quite lethargic.

Best tackle for fishing with spoons

Capt Jim usually likes to give his opinion on the best tackle to be used with a specific lure or type. However, in this situation, there are just too many variables. Light spoons are best used with very light spinning tackle for trout and panfish. Medium spinning tackle works fine for larger freshwater fish and in saltwater situations. Baitcasting tackle is the best choice for pike and musky as well as when casting heavier spoons in search of larger saltwater species.

Top fishing spoons

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

There are many different spoons on the market for anglers to choose from. The decision can be overwhelming! Like most artificial lures, most will catch fish if properly presented and if fish are present. The following is Capt Jim’s list of his favorite spoons. By no means does this imply that any spoon not listed is inferior, it is just the list of lures that he recommends and has used successfully.

Eppinger Daredevl


The Eppinger Daredevl spoon is an iconic freshwater fishing spoon. It was been around for decades and continues to catch fish to this day. It is an excellent northern pike lure. Smaller versions are fine for bass and trout. Red and white and Five of Diamonds are the top colors. Silver and gold are effective as well.

Shop Amazon for Daredevl spoons

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Acme Kastmaster



The Acme Kastmaster spoon is an excellent lure in both saltwater and freshwater applications. It is a bit more slender than some other casting spoons. Tiny versions are great for ice fishing and trout fishing in streams. It trolls very well. Larger models catch fish of all sizes. Larger spoons are a favorite of saltwater anglers surf fishing and chasing larger fish. Silver and gold work well, as does their famous dual color patterns.

Shop Amazon for Kastmaster spoons

Luhr Jensen Krocodile spoon

Krocodile spoon

The Luhr Jensen Krocodile spoon is one of the top casting spoons. It works well in both freshwater and saltwater applications. It is an excellent trolling spoon, too. Silver and silver with the prism fishing are the preferred finishes. Anglers ice fishing use them for lake trout, pike, and whitefish.

Shop Amazon for Krocodile spoons

Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

fishing with spoons

The Johnson Silver Minnow spoon the by far the most recognized weedless spoon. As mentioned earlier, it started off as a spoon designed to fish lily pads and heavy vegetation for bass and pike. Saltwater anglers found it to be very effective when shallow water fishing for redfish, snook, jacks, trout, and more. Gold is the most popular finish.

Shop Amazon for Silver Minnow spoons

Hopkins jigging spoon

hopkins jigging spoon

The Hopkins jigging spoon is a classic lure. Freshwater and saltwater anglers have been using it for decades to catch a variety of game fish. It is heavy and sinks quickly. It also has a unique shape. The silver spoon with the hammered finish is the most popular model.

Shop Amazon for Hopkins spoons

Clark trolling spoon

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

The Clark line of saltwater trolling spoons are the most popular trolling spoons used by saltwater anglers. A few freshwater anglers have discovered how effective they are. Silver is by far the top finish. The unique design of the top helps eliminate line twist.

Shop Amazon for Clark spoons

Mepps Syclops spoon

mepps psyclops spoon

The Mepps Syclops spoon is a versatile spoon that is a favorite among anglers ice fishing. The slender design results in good action with more conservative movements. It also works well in open water situations when cast, trolled, or vertically fished.

Shop Amazon for Syclops spoons

These spoons will cover every situation than an angler would encounter in both freshwater and saltwater fishing applications. Most spoons are available in many sizes to match the forage and prey.

In conclusion, this article on fishing with spoons will help anglers understand and use these very effective fishing lures!









Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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