Saltwater fishing spoons and spinners are metal lures fitted with a rear-mounted hook - either a single or a treble, that attract fish through visual and vibrational stimulation.
These lures are equally at home being cast from the shore or drfiting boat, or trolled astern of a boat underway.
OK, the smallest of spinners won't be very effective as a trolling lure except when fishing for the humble (but succulent) atlantic mackerel, but a large spoon - fished deep on downrigger or planer gear - will be just the thing for a wahoo.
A metal blade is attached - usually by one end only - to the bar. As the spinner is drawn through the water the blade spins rapidly around the bar, flashing and emitting vibrations as it does so.
Spinners are really intended for casting - not used as trolling lures - but for small fish, particularly mackerel, they work well.
The one shown here is something of a classic - a Mepps spinner.
It doesn't spin rapidly - although it may rotate occasionally - but wobbles and flutters in the water, sending out pulsating vibrations.Like the one shown here, an Abu Toby, they work equally well as casting lures and trolling lures.
The ubiquitous mackerel spinner shown here is different from most other spinners in that its blade is attached to a hollow tube over its whole length, all of which rotates around the bar.
It seems that other fish know that it's reserved for mackerel - I've never caught anything else on them.
They come supplied with a low quality treble hook, which soon rusts. I always replace this with a single hook - the mackerel don't seem to mind.
The Mepps Aglia shown at the top of the page has no such reservations on it. Not only does it cast well, but used as a trolling lure at low speeds (2 knots maximum), no self-respecting bass will ignore it.
With either of these small lures you'll need an appropriately sized trolling weight - or a paravane - on the line, or they'll just skip playfully around on the surface, attracting nothing but the occasional quizzical eye of a seagull.
Mackerel won't turn their nose up at small fishing spoons used as trolling lures. Particularly when, with a bass in mind, you'd rather they did. To avoid the mackerel, step up the lure size - you could do worse than try an 18g Abu Toby lure. Toby lures have been catching bass for far more years than I have - and I'm well past the first flush of youth.
Have a look at the Dexter Wedge, or the Dexter Flasher as it's called here. This chrome-plated lure, which comes is several sizes, casts like a bullet, trolls deep, and works equally well as a jig.
If I were confined to having just one lure in my tackle box, it would be this one.
Try this one ...
Best trolled slow and deep, these have a wild, flashy action that can prove irresistible to fish like wahoo and other large mackerels, tuna, jacks, trevallys, barracuda and bottom feeders like groupers and sea basses.
For a sailing boat, ghosting along in light airs at 2 knots or so these are ideal lures to rig on your trolling line.
The one I use is the 6" Drone Spoon, which like the Clarkespoon, has the hook rigidly bolted on.
Like all spoons it has a tendency to put twists in the line, so the use of good quality ball-bearing swivels is essential.
If, despite all precautions, twists develop, remove your rig and trail all of your line astern to allow it to unwind.
Bunker are fish of the herring family, and they're also known as shad, pogi and menhaden. They're found on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and are a favourite foodfish of striped bass and bluefish.
Bunker Spoons are designed to emulate them. These are large and heavily weighted - up to 14 inches (350mm) long and over 1lb in weight.
They're fished deep - often on wire line - and slow, between 2.5 and 3.5 knots.
Striped bass reach up to 80lb in weight - what a shame they can't be encouraged to make their way across to our side of the Atlantic!
Given the opportunity, tuna and wahoo are a bit partial to these lures too.
Before stowing your trolling spoons away after a days fishing, rinse them off in fresh water to remove the salt. Once theyve dried, a quick squirt of moisture repellent lubricant on the swivels and hooks will help keep corrosion at bay.
To eliminate tangles and protect the hook points you should store your rigged trolling lures in lure bags.
The ideal trolling lure bag should have a breathable vinyl back in case the lures arent quite dry when you put them away and a clear front, so you can see whats inside. Coil the leaders and store one trolling lure to a bag. The bags can be made up singly, or in a series of up to about five or so.
In the USA
In the UK
Downrigger ~ The cranelike device incorporating a line-counter reel often seen on the sterns of sport-fishing boats, which lowers a trolling weight on a wire line to a pre-determined depth. The trolling line is attached just above the weight, which gets the lure down to depths that would otherwise be unachievable.