Does anyone else fish with spoons?
I’m sure a lot of anglers do, but I rarely see anyone throw out a piece of steel to catch a fish. Nowadays anglers seem to be more susceptible to hard plastic baits like hot n ‘tots or shad raps. They also use soft plastics like curly tails. However, there was a time when spoons were very popular.
For those who may not know what a spoon is, it’s a flat metal bait that resembles a spoon. In fact, history goes that the inventor of the Silver Minnow, Louis Johnson, began his research with a real tablespoon.
I wonder if this could be an urban myth, but it still shows the ingenuity of the anglers. And before you grab your mom’s award-winning spoon, you need to know that the Johnson Silver Minnow spoon lure was created after a lot of angling research. Fishing research can be fun.
Johnson was not the first inventor of the spoon, because Lou Eppinger developed his spoon, the Dardevle, in 1906. And yes, that is the correct spelling. It is said that Eppinger invented this spelling because some people didn’t like the term devil. The dardevle comes in many sizes and colors, but most ancient anglers know the dardevle for its red and white pattern.
As for size, I used the large dardevle to catch a musk, but my son Chip once used the tiny fly rod to catch perch in an abandoned open pit pond. The smaller sizes also worked for me for large bluegills and crappies.
I became acquainted with spoons at a young age when my father took me fishing at Sandy Andy. Now there is a name that only older readers will recognize. Anyway, Dad was more of a hunter than an angler, but the two boys around us knew what they were doing when they caught crappie after crappie with a spoon shape they called Hawaiian wigglers. It was basically a spoon, but it also had a rubber skirt to enhance the action. It is a safe guess that the rock led to the name Hawaiian Wiggler. On our next trip to Sandy Andy, my father had his own Hawaiian wiggler. I doubt he caught anything, but like I said, Dad was a better hunter than a fisherman.
Since that early days I have used spoons often with sporadic success. Sometimes they catch fish, sometimes they don’t. The same can be said of any bait anglers know.
A bait bought with high expectations left me so disappointed that I couldn’t even remember its name until I looked it up online. It’s made by Hoffman, and this promising looking pikeperch bait is a spoon with a tail made out of marabou feathers. Hidden in this tail is an additional barbed hook that is small enough to catch even the tiny mouth of a bluegill.
When I think about this little spoon, I wonder if it might not be ideal for my fishing techniques. It should catch panfish such as perch, bluegills, and crappies. It’s also big enough to attract pikeperch and bass. Should I give this little spoon with the barbed hook another chance? You can bet on it and I’ll build one up soon. Maybe it will become my favorite spoon.
Spoons are undoubtedly a good choice for catching certain types of fish, but be careful with cheap imitations. As with any good bait, someone will try to copy it.
Remember, a red and white striped spoon doesn’t make him a dardevle. The action is always different from the original. The same goes for other baits. Stick to the original if you find one.
A spoon might be just the right bait for catching anything from bluegill to musk, especially in the hot water temperatures when fish hang lower where the water is cooler.
Last but not least, the many variants, colors and sizes of the available spoons invite you to experiment. Maybe you will be the next Lou Johnson or Lou Eppinger.