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The Big Joe Spaits Flutter Spoon
 

The Big Joe Spaits Flutter Spoon originated on Lake Fork in Texas and was made famous by Kelly Jordan. He is now throwing the Lake Fork Tackle's version of the Flutter Spoon. Which is stamped from the same mold but with different color schemes and components. Kelly boated big fish after big fish on Kentucky Lake during the Nationally televised show "Ultimate Match Fishing" and the secret was out. Below is a great read on using the Flutter Spoon.

Buy Lake Fork Flutter Spoon             Buy Talon Lures Flutter Spoon

DEEP WATER SPOONING
By Mark Perry

When fishing and spoons are mentioned in the same breath most thoughts turn to vertical jigging for white bass or wintertime fishing for lethargic, cold water spotted bass. Both methods do not excite most bass anglers as a preferred means to load the boat so you can imagine my initial thoughts last winter when longtime Lake Fork pro guide Tom Redington mentioned deep spooning  to me at some seminars we were speaking at over the winter. He offered me a chance to spend a day in the boat with him learning to work deep water with large spoons. Despite my skepticism I had to give the invitation serious consideration since Tom has been fishing Lake Fork since 1993 and guiding there full time since 2002. The noted Ranger pro has also amassed a very respectable resume’ in local, regional and FLW events.  When he speaks most folks would be wise to listen as Tom is one of the most hard-working and humble guides you’ll ever meet. Not to mention its hard to pass up a day on Lake Fork no matter the time of year.

After further discussion we decided to devote a day later in the summer to exploring this technique in which Tom has had much success both in his guiding and his tournament fishing.  During that time while we were waiting pretty much the whole fishing world got to see firsthand just how devastating the technique can be when Kelly Jordon repeatedly bagged huge limits on Ultimate Match Fishing using large spoons on Kentucky Lake which like Fork can kick out some toads.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  We finally were able to get our schedules aligned for a late July trip. As I left home heading to Lake Fork I was more than a bit shocked when Tom told me the best bite was coming later in the day. I’m thinking the man has been in the sun way too much this year if he truly thinks we can get enough action in the middle of the day in the hottest part of the year on the busiest lake in Texas to get a good article together. Again the fact that I was headed to Fork to fish made up for any doubts that had crept in.

After a short stop at Lake Fork Tackle and the proper outfitting of their baits I met up with Tom at Lake Fork Marina. We had a leisurely lunch at Moser’s Restaurant (which is almost worth the trip to Fork by itself) then we were on the water by noon.  As Tom brought the big Ranger Z520 to life and we roared out of the marina the furnace like blast of a Texas summer was bearing down on us in full force.  With air temps exceeding 100 degrees and bluebird skies above I really thought we may struggle just to get a few bites. Those doubts were quickly quelled as Tom set the hook on the first chunky Fork bass of the day on his second cast. Tom had started us out in 20-30ft of water just basically working a long point out into open water. After a short fight Tom lipped a beautiful 3lb bass that had almost literally swallowed the 6” Lake Fork Flutter Spoon he was using. It was the first of more than a few good sized fish that we boated courtesy of the LFT spoon. We only boated one fish under  3lbs on the day with quite a few in the 3-4lb range.  Also had a couple in the 6lb and over range.  More than anything else it opened my eyes on just how good the technique can be on both summertime and deep bass.  Deciding  whether to watch and take notes or actually trying to fish was a tough choice. Tom is an excellent teacher on the water and I was afraid I would miss a vital tip or some advice that would benefit this article and my own fishing in general.

Starting out Tom gave me a quick introduction to the baits and setups he was using. He primarily uses the Lake Fork Flutter Spoons made by Lake Fork Tackle. The spoons come in a variety of colors but most have some type of chrome on them.  Currently there are three sizes of the spoons available in the 3”, 4”, and 5” lengths. Using either or both paint and prizm tape the spoons are customized with eyes and colorations to mimic baitfish and the ever popular barfish (yellow bass) that is prolific on Lake Fork. The baits range in weight up to 1 1/2oz, ” but Tom is quick to point out he is petitioning Mark Pack, owner of Lake Fork Tackle bring a 8-10” version to market. “I catch a fair amount of 1-2lb bass on the spoons and I feel like the bigger spoons will indeed get a bigger average bite but still allow you to get the attention of 3-4lb class fish”, says Tom.  When throwing the spoons Tom prefers a 7’ MH graphite rod with a fast tip. He chooses a Lake Fork Pro Series Carolina rig rod for his spoon fishing, “You want a little backbone to drive home the hookset and you also want a line with a little stretch” and so he chooses a 20lb fluorocarbon line for most of his spooning when using the larger spoons. He drops down 10-15lb fluorocarbon with the smaller spoons.  Because using a line that is sensitive and allows a little stretch will help you feel the bites and keep fish on Tom elects to use P-Line fluorocarbon. The reel choice should be  a fast retrieve baitcaster with a decent spool capacity. A reel with a 6.2:1 and above ratio is preferred. The spool capacity is important because the spoons cast very well and its easy to spool a reel with a long cast. Though each person may have different preferences Tom advises that his years of experimenting with the technique has led him to these equipment choices.

As far as technique is concerned its very easy to learn even for a novice angler. As most guides can attest, simplicity is the key to a great trip and using techniques that clients can quickly master makes for a great day and lots of repeat customers. Spooning is one of these presentations that most folks can do with a little time and effort and a basic skill level. Basically when the boat is in position on the spot or structure you cast out and let the spoon fall on a slack line. Once the spoon is on the bottom you start working it with a series of aggressive strokes using the rod to move the bait. You are literally raising the rod tip from a nine o’clock position to a nine to a twelve  o’clock position repeatedly. It is vital that the bait fall on a slack line.  One of the keys to the retrieve is pulling the spoon way off the bottom and allowing it to have a longer fall on the slack line. This allows for the bait to wobble more thus getting the attention of the fish a bit longer. You may have to experiment and even raise the rod all the way over your head closer to the one o’clock position to accomplish this. The cadence is varied by the mood of the fish that particular day. The bites range from a loading up type sensation to an all out crushing type bite. The bait falls with a very erratic wide wobble which causes most bites to occur on the fall. You simply repeat the cast and work the bait back as described till you get bit. If the school is there they usually will bite quickly. Its what I call an “honest” technique. Tom also mentions that “once you get that first bite it is typical to get the whole school activated and load the boat pretty quickly”.  The drawbacks to using the spoon is that due to sheer weight and design of a spoon it lends itself to bass coming unbuttoned. The spoons are 1 ½ oz and up and it can act to dislodge itself when a bass jumps. Tom demonstrated a technique he called “grinding” a fish in. “Basically after I hook the fish I keep my rod tip low to the water and keep good pressure while reeling at a fluid, steady pace”, “you want to keep the fish down and minimize jumps”.  Much like frog fishing your hookup ratio can drive you crazy when fishing a spoon but the rewards are huge. Its simply a solid way to fish for less pressured fish and tends to put a bigger size average fish in the boat. Out of all the bites we had that day I only saw Tom have one fish pull off so all in all the tips that Tom taught me really seemed to increase the landing of fish.

Once the proper gear is assembled and once we have the technique down probably the most vital part of deep water spoon fishing is location, location, location. We targeted water 20-35ft deep primarily. We were able to hit quite a few spots that day and we decided early on that we were targeting big fish. Tom stressed the importance of using a good map and your electronics to target areas and depths that fish were set up on. One of the comments he made that stood out is when he mentioned,  “a depthfinder is only a depthfinder when fishing shallow water, it becomes a fish finder when fishing deep water”. That was proven over and over throughout our day on the water.  Tom uses the larger screen Lowrance color units on his Ranger. “The larger screens show me so much more detail and that is crucial when trying to find the little sweet spots on structure”. The basic principles of traditional deep water areas such as ledges, points, channels, and other structure are effective but it’s the fine tuning that Tom taught me that really opened my eyes. He chooses to look for the bigger arches on his screen and prefers they be stacked and compact. The presence of baitfish schools is a huge bonus but not always a requirement when the bass are stacked. These tightly grouped  bass schools tend to be more easily caught and its also easier to get the school ignited after catching one or two fish. Tom made reference to the “grenade effect” where he stated, “ imagine throwing a grenade into a school of fish, once they scatter its harder to get your bait in front as many fish as when they are stacked tight”. Its like playing the percentages in that you want your bait in front of as many fish at all times possible. Like most deep water fishing though it can often be a timing deal. Repeated stops on the same spots throughout a day are important.  Eventually you will hit it just right and get bit. Another aspect of summertime and deep water fishing in general is to take into consideration that you will encounter suspended fish that may not react to other presentations. This is where spooning can shine. One of the best tips I learned from Tom is the premise that when you encounter suspended fish simply note the depth they are suspended at and locate other structures  that bottom out at that depth. If they are holding at 22 feet you can locate other areas such as a hump that top outs at 22ft or treetops in that range and find more active fish holding there. You can then work those areas and usually entice a bite. The suspended fish act as a clue to what depth you should be targeting. Also the spoon allows you to get a reaction bite by bringing it up through that water column and allowing it to fall back through them.

As I learned throughout the day you really need to be targeting the same areas that you normally throw a Carolina rig, a deep Texas rig,  dropshot, or deep diving crankbait with the spoon. It is just as effective if not more so in certain situations than anything else. Tom notes he has had success just about everywhere he has thrown the spoon especially from summer into late fall. What started out as a “novelty” or situational bait has become a staple of his fishing. “I will almost always make a few casts with the spoon when I put down a Carolina rig or deep crankbait just to show them a different look and more often than not I am rewarded with a fish”. Normally he sticks to late morning into mid day time frames when using the spoon. Once you get lowlight conditions the shad seem to scatter out making the bite less effective in the deeper water.  Otherwise it’s a technique that is well worth learning and should pay off by helping you put more fish in the boat especially in what can be the toughest time of the day and year on any lake.

As I thanked Tom for a great day back at the marina I came away with more knowledge on a technique than I expected. We as bass anglers all tend to look for that magic bait all too often and forget how important presentation really is. While the Lake Fork Flutter Spoon is a phenomenal bait I cannot over emphasize how much a great teacher like Tom can show us. He proved that a basic, fundamental approach can make even the toughest conditions on the water seem easy to overcome. The proof was there in front of my eyes and I came away a much better angler.  In addition Tom was a blast to fish with and very personable. His boat and his gear was meticulously maintained. The fishing was great I’ll definitely be adding the spoon to my fishing arsenal.

For a great trip to Lake Fork I highly recommend Tom Redington as your guide. He can be reached at www.lakeforkguidetrips.com at (214)683-9572. Also I highly recommend Lake Fork Marina for your accommodations. Clean rooms and great food and a fully stocked pro shop with a launch ramp on site. Everything is on site so you can have access to all you need for your stay at Lake Fork. Contact Cameron at www.lakeforkmarina.com  or (903)765-2764.