September 09, 2012
By Matt Straw
Forgotten things. Overlooked things. Rummage through the box and find some memories. Chances are they catch fish better than any of the new-fangled techniques. If it's been collecting dust in your box for more than 5 years, chances are good that the lure is suffering the same fate in other boxes and no living fish has seen it.
Working on a project for In-Fisherman's annual Gear Guide on spoons right now, and it reminds me just how neglected certain portions of a tackle collection can become. The article is all about spoons — new colors, styles, and shapes. But while sizing up all the new stuff, you can't help but review the classic stuff being displayed on the pages of all those websites. Open the Len Thompson home page and there's a 5 o' diamonds, like the one with all the paint scraped off in my box. Later I see a Doctor Spoon and my mind's eye sees Erik Askegaard straining to hold up a hefty northern on the Churchill River. When I arrive at the Acme Tackle home page, a blue-silver Kastmaster pops up and I see John Hojnacki holding up big browns on a Lake Michigan pier with 10-foot waves washing over the concrete behind him.
And when I get to the Eppinger site, a parade of big lakers and giant pike flashes by. Dardevles of all shapes and sizes have put specimens of many species of freshwater fish in my boat. My good friend Curtis Dumdie displays one of their newer creations (above) — the Rex Spoon.
Working on this Gear Guide project reminded me how effective weedless spoons like the Rex can be when working tangles of logs and branches for smallmouths. It's a matter of speed and touch. The Rex, like every good weedless spoon, rolls seductively along with the hook pointing up and protected by a wire guard. Meaning if you work them slowly and react gently to contact, the spoon can't rise into any wood — it can only flutter into it blade first or hit it nose first. Just finesse it along and it will follow the fishing line up and over logs and branches. I tie them direct to braided lines testing 14 to 20 pounds. The lack of stretch helps pull brawling smallies out of the cover quick. Right now, the stealthy black version of the Rex (shown) is producing really well.
I'm looking at some other new additions to this genre. And pulling smallmouths out of impossible tangles of wood with them. Pick up this year's Gear Guide and I'll show you what I mean.