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Jigging Spoons for Bass Fishing

by Russ Bassdozer

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Jigging Spoons for Freshwater Bass Fishing

Bass anglers simply do not use jigging spoons enough. Spoons are especially effective in winter and summer when bass are deep. But spoons work year-round provided that you are able to find the right type of structure and cover where spoons are most effective.

Vertical Jigging Blindly on Structure

Where bass or bait aren't really showing up on the meter, I tend to use the 3/4 oz size more to prospect blindly, bouncing bottom on rough patches, cover or structure.

When a little bit of bait or bass activity can be graphed above bottom, the 1/2 oz size falls a bit slower through mid-water, fluttering side-to-side like a falling shad.

Fish the Baitfish

Now, the absolute best type of cover or structure for spoons is to find a school of baitfish such as shad over deeper water, meaning anything from fifteen feet or deeper. Yes, I am referring to baitfish schools as the best form of structure and cover for spooning. If you are able to drop a spoon through a baitfish school, there will often be gamefish below. Find baitfish and little else matters, not the time of year, time of day, cloud cover, wind or water conditions, location, etc.

You may be able to spot these baitfish on the surface, or see thick clouds of them darkening the water like a shadow moving below the surface. Most of the time, however, the baitfish are too deep to see, and their presence is only given away on an electronic fishfinder screen. So you need to hunt the baitfish schools using the fishfinder, then start spooning with the boat right atop the balls of "structure and cover" when the baitfish show on the screen.

If gamefish are actively feeding on the bait schools you've found, the spoon will often be whacked as it flutters and falls through mid-depths. When bait or gamefish can be graphed in mid-water above bottom, the 1/2 oz spoon falls a bit slower through mid-water, and stays in the strike zone longer, fluttering side-to-side like an injured falling shad.

If gamefish are not up and actively feeding, they can still be present, lurking on the bottom, biding their time. Where gamefish aren't showing up on the fishfinder, I tend to use the 3/4 oz size, since it falls faster, bouncing bottom on rough patches, cover or structure within close proximity to the bait. Fish in these situations could be tailing the bait, but not yet willing to come out into the open, sticking tight on small, irregular bottom features instead.

In a bottom-bouncing approach, it is often best if the spoon hits bottom each time it falls after you lift it. Hitting bottom is often the critical aspect of the presentation. Who knows why? Sometimes, the fish want you to swing the spoon up off the bottom the instant it touches down. Other times, bass may want the spoon to lay on the bottom (deadsticked) a long time before they will come over to pick it up off the bottom as if it was a dead shad just laying there.

Nevertheless it's true that most all strikes occur on the downstroke as the spoon freefalls, not on the upstroke or lift. But then again, there are times when bass want the spoon "speed-reeled" fast as you can halfway up to the surface. After it strikes bottom, speed-reel halfway back to the boat, then stop abruptly, before letting it flutter back down, hit bottom (so key) and speed reel it halfway up again. The hits that come while speed-reeling will be vicious. It's too much fun!

Many bass anglers favor the 3/4 oz size (shown) over other spoon sizes.

Match the Hatch

Many anglers tend to favor the 3/4 oz size spoon. Always keep in mind however that schooling fish can get fixated on a certain size of prevalent bait fish. Often they may concentrate on very tiny baitfish or "no see 'ums" which can be very frustrating for the angler. If  you're not having much success even though you can see fish breaking the surface blasting bait, but you can't see the bait itself - or the bait looks super small, that's a good clue you need to downsize your offerings to the 1/2 or even 1/4 oz spoon size.

Vertical Jigging in Deep Water

This is the most common way to use these. Hit bottom, then lift-and-drop the spoon by lifting the rod. The speed and height you lift the rod may vary, but expect most hits to come on the drop as the spoon flutters and rocks from side to side as the bright chrome flashes while it falls, looking like an incapacitated baitfish.

Skittering Across the Surface

Another less common but highly effective method is to skitter and splash the spoon across the surface in the vicinity of surface-feeding schooling fish. There's a definite knack to doing this. With practice, you can become adept at this topwater skittering presentation. Keep your rod tip high, and you want the spoon to develop that side to side wriggling cadence it has on the fall - except you want it to shimmy and gurgle side to side across the surface. Once the spoon starts to shimmy, just keep it coming, splashing and gurgling all the way. When it gets a bit jitterbuggy on you, that's the sweet attraction, and this surface shimmy is necessary to spark the grand illusion of life in the spoon. At that point, especially if following fish are seen swimming behind it or slashing at it, you can toss in a sudden pause or simply let the spoon slip a few inches under the water and keep it coming. It seems once a fish gets after it, then letting the spoon lower below the surface a few inches can draw a more solid strike some times. One thing you shouldn't do however is to pop it or use jerks or twitches of the rod tip. Most times, this will cause the spoon to tangle. You may use soft slow draws of the rod tip to manipulate it, to get the surface shimmy started, but once that side to side action develops on the surface, just keep it coming and get ready for a pulse-quickening explosion on top!

Jigging spoons is an art. Yet there are few artists. Unfortunately, anglers simply don't use spoons enough. So why not pick up a few of these spoons form Bassdozer's Store? You'll be glad you did when you get on a wicked spoon bite!

These chrome-plated spoons have a whiter flash than nickel-plating.

These are die cast zinc (as opposed to lead) with a thick chrome plating that makes them just about indestructible!

They're suited for freshwater. The zinc base material is not suited to resist saltwater corrosion.

Stainless steel split rings are included for you to attach your own hooks to these. The spoons come with no hooks. Add your own.

Keep in mind that a simple, plain undressed treble hook is often better than a feather treble on spoons. Why? Because a plain treble allows for the best side-to-side fluttering action on the fall, which is when fish strike it.

I often like to use a #2 treble on the 3/4 oz; #4 on the 1/2 oz; and #6 on the 1/4 oz, but it's your call.

A hook that will bend before the line breaks when snagged is often preferred, since you can get snagged spoons back that way, and simply bend the hook back into shape. Actually, the factory hooks that come on many hard plastic crankbaits, topwaters or jerkbaits - you know, the ones you replace right out of the box with premium brand hooks? Save those bronze hooks to use for your jigging spoons. They are usually the little softer, bendable wire which is perfect for spoons.


Shown above, from top down (approx. to scale):

  • 5 Jigging Spoons ~ 3/4 oz ~ No Hooks
  • 5 Jigging Spoons ~ 1/2 oz ~ No Hooks
  • 5 Jigging Spoons ~ 1/4 oz ~ No Hooks

Shown above, from top down (not to scale):

  • 3/4 oz rigging illustration with #2 hook and Duolock snap.
  • 1/2 oz rigging illustration with #4 hook and Duolock snap.
  • 1/4 oz rigging illustration with #6 hook and Duolock snap.

Note: Hooks and snaps not included with item for sale, but split rings are.

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