Spoons are a staple, plain and simple. Many times I’ve been testing new lures, exploring wrinkles in a different presentation, or just caught with the wrong bait at the wrong time while buddies are way-laying crappies, walleyes, or perch on a spoon. While their application can be basic – tip a treble with minnow head then deploy – the design and ultimate draw of each type can be very complex and different among different species and depth ranges. Here’s a top-5 list of ones I can’t do without, and always have ample supply of come ice season.
Macho Minnow Spoon – There’s few fish that won’t give a macho minnow and fathead combination a second look. For good reason too, especially in clear water, I find that the right color, size, and cadence can really wreak havoc on walleyes. To me that has something to do with the fact that it’s flat sided and has an interesting sashay on the drop, but it’s broad angles allow it to be the perfect billboard of sorts. In many of the best colors, it simply stands out well underwater, and the kickertail flipper on it offers some really subtle motion as fish close. I make sure to rig my minnow heads on the opposite portion of the treble to that kickertail, ensuring it has the widest range of motion when I jig. Especially if you’re walleye fishing, the larger sizes are great, but for perch too, the 1/12 oz. version is as good as it gets in clear water.
Glo-shot Spoon – In every good spoon lineup should be a flutter spoon, this one just happens to have great flutter and a powerful glow coming from the center of it. Flutter alone is a fish-killer, and that’s been confirmed over many years with many different series of spoons. That lazy back-and-forth on the drop can really trigger walleyes that otherwise circle, rise, then fall. Moreover, it gives you a different look from some of the other lead-style spoons that can offer little action in comparison, but draw in fish with different mechanisms. I like the color combinations I can create with these spoons, as I tend to focus on contrasting colors. Glow red with the metallic colors, and glow green or chartreuse with the ladybug and wonderbread colors. Especially on lakes with a good track record for glow baits producing, like Upper Red Lake, Lake of the Woods, and Devils, it’s nice to be able to finally add a glow component to spoons in general, let alone a flutter spoon.
Buck Shot Spoon Series – It’s always been hard to beat a Buckshot rattle spoon. For decades, this bait has put more fish on ice than most others combined, and not just because of the rattle. Sure, that’s the novel portion of this bait, with the brass “click” that really travels, but I think people forget about how many sizes, colors, and now shapes this bait comes in. The Buckshot flutter spoon offers a glass rattle and probably the best hybrid clear water/stained water option I’ve seen in a long time, due to the great colors and flutter that creates a visual appeal, and an audible tick from the rattle inside it. The Buckshot Coffin spoon is another interesting take on the audible plus visual, with a different fall and tumble due to those beveled edges and large flat surface. This series is fun to play around with and again, is offered for more than just big-water walleye anglers. Panfish options abound in each part of the Buckshot series.
It’s tough to go wrong with a spoon, though there’s quite a few differences among the types. Own a few of these staples in some key sizes and colors, and you’ll appreciate the humble spoon too. After being through tackle from some of the best anglers in the world, I can tell you that they often make up the bulk of all ice-fishing lures in the box.