BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 24

r e n n i TailSp

Spoons are the Rodney Dangerfields of bass fishing. They don’t get much re- spect from the rank-and-file partly be- cause – well, they’re just not sexy. Plus, they’re at their prime during the cold wa- ter season when many have put their bass tackle away for the winter. Is spooning a painstaking way of ex- tracting a few cold-water bass from their chilled environs when nothing else will work? Far from it, according to Larry Hemphill. The man known to many as “Lunker Larry” has been fishing these baits for 32 years. “When you get on a spoon bite, it’s the fastest bite in bass fish- s r ing.” nne i p s l i a t n e Basic fish biology and the predator- . etwe s b 0 6 k 9 n 1 i l t en ed l t prey relationship are critical factors in u c e b r p u x t e e n f h u t o m ss an why these simple lures produce. Zack There’s ican history fro with the succe it Thompson, who took home the FLW Na- r a d e e B z s m i ’ r A n a an tional Guard Western Division’s Angler pul and M o p e h e t r f e o m w t o s c of the Year honors for 2009, notes that The lure George, a produ pany founder T shad congregate in fall and winter and m , e o l n t C e t i d . L r a a e th that creek channels are key holding e w abam l m a A g f o a r s y e structures for them. However, Thomp- Compan o also worked a of the tailspinn son’s view is that it’s often bluegill e h s g e w r , o p e n y t n G o a M rot ter, p a and crappie rather than bass that l g s n r i t a a e e y r o c Tw nch chase the baitfish balls. And bass, u . a 0 t began 6 s 9 1 A n . i s r i o e r h those notoriously opportunistic feed- m rn at his ho as elected gove ned notoriety fo t the ers, jump on the gravy train to chase a i w a ” r e g o c e o a both panfish and the shad they’re llac e D a s Wall u W o , h t l s o i o ch ock tion l S eating, which in turn is why a spoon a b e g o h e t t r g d n e i e i s r d t he can be such an effective lure at Stan n “ e , 3 h ” 6 4 9 w ’ 1 , 6 a e t n m this time of year. As Thompson Ju ba l. A a o l o A o h t f c o s n e y e s h it points out, although spooning is Univers tion efforts at t re and was cho hen not glamorous, “A fish is still a u a g W g fi e . r t g g n n e i e ev des pos t fish and a spoon imitates shad a m i h t n t a a n s r e a o e n lur better than just about any other e h t Mann w for the gover g n i n uc ” i d e lure.” o d g r r r p a o u e n g a G a g e e l e t b b Lit Aside from the fact that ny “ a e p h n t m e t o v i c e d s ’ g e spoons have a habit of trigger- am agin n k Mann e c h a , p 3 y 6 l 19 ear ing biters, they have the added n i e h e t s s d a n a m e attraction of getting the job lac rd. l a a c W e f h t o on g done faster than other lure a honor fl l l e a i b s e r r e a choices. “It’s an efficient, trov n o c a included t o n clean way to catch fish in a t g if n n e i d h i t s o e n r as r p short period of time,” says o w f e n c a a r l l e a c i H W g Thompson. “Catching bass re. ple u a r g a fi p George y r a o t lef dict vertically doesn’t move d a r e n t h a t n t o o y c h B s d . n a them off the structure.” was mpt e d t t n t a a s i s n n e o atio As a result, he notes that g e r four tim 972 assassinati g e s s e i d h r th groups of bass stay ac- 1 e o f c a n s g t u n h o i r g n i e r r du l i ad tive for a longer period. iv c h r d e u e h t o , f r s o d 0 p e sup erv “You can catch five, six s y l early 8 o g h n w o e , r t h e t s c at lla nd or seven bass before views a r of his life. Wa or, died in 1998 the school moves off.” n e r d e n v i o a Both Thompson rem a’s g m a b a l A and Hemphill agree terms as that the first step in . 9 7 f o e ag making spoons pro- duce is finding the

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In the hands of skilled anglers, though, these heavy metal contraptions produce bass and win tournaments. Zack Thompson of Orinda, California proved that when he won the 2004 BASS Open Tournament at Clear Lake on spoons. At the 2009 Triton Owners Tournament, James Smiley and his partner Tom Ochoa caught many of their bigger fish by ripping a Lucky Craft Spin Board off Clear Lake’s bottom in 10 inches to 3 feet of water. Just after the 2009 Labor Day weekend at Lake Berryessa,

long-time guide Larry Hemphill and friend Rick Tietz spooned up a 5-fish limit of spots and largemouth that broke the 14-lb mark. And rising star Justin Lucas quietly used tailspinners as a key bait in one of his FLW co-angler victories in 2007. Intriguing stuff; particularly for a class of lures that seldom garner bass fishing headlines. So just how do we go about putting these lures to work for us?

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Spoon-a-liciouS FiShing

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January/February 2010