Bass Fishing's 'Secret Weapon'
By Jim Porter
There are a lot of bass fishing lures out there on the market. And, most have caught fish at one time or the other. But, we must ALWAYS remember the Prime Directive: "Fishing lures are made to catch fishermen first and fish second." The explanation is really quite simple, as well. 'FISH HAVE NO POCKETS AND, THEREFORE, CANNOT CARRY THEIR MONEY AROUND. FISHERMEN DO HAVE POCKETS AND USUALLY HAVE MONEY FOR 'MAGIC' LURES, AND SUCH. LURE MANUFACTURER'S REQUIRE MONEY TO STAY IN BUSINESS.'
I am the first to admit that I have a lot of lures. That's why I have this big old 20-foot STRATOS hawg boat - to be able to carry all my 'stuff'. With the exception of a few, most have followed the trend well and have caught a fish or two sometime in their existence. But, if you or I were to be limited to, say, 10 bass fishing lures for the rest of our lives, I'll bet we could easily make the selection. And, I'd bet the selections would be similar in many respects. There will be exceptions, of course, based on the type of water and the geographical locations we fish.
In some cases, there will also be differences because one angler is just not familiar with a certain lure as are some of his peers.
The Johnson Spoon is one of those differences.
The Johnson Spoon (also know as the 'Johnson Silver Minnow') has been around since before you and I wet the first diaper; specifically, 1920. And, it is still a consistently top-selling lure. But, many anglers have never realized its tremendous potential. Too many of us think a lure must be fished fast to be effective for predatory bass. We also get to hung up on the perceived need for a lure to have rattles, spinners, whistles and bells.
The Johnson spoon has none of those 'fisherman attracting' features. But, what is DOES have are 'fish attracting' features. And, those are what count. The Johnson Spoon is so effective because it:
- Is slow and non-threatening
- Is slow and easy to catch
- Has a great life-like action
- Can be fished nearly anywhere
- Casts like a bullet, even into the wind
If the desired fishing location has a good bit of submerged grass or thick wood, use the 'secret weapon' --- the Johnson Spoon. The drag of the broad face of the lure allows it to be worked very, very slowly and still stay shallow. Most don't realize that, thinking a spoon is heavy and sinks fast. Not so with the Johnson. It has a slow, undulating side-to-side action, which is awesome.
According to the Johnson Lures web site, "The Silver Minnow is thicker in the middle than at the edges. This creates the patented 35-degree wobble (see photo). No other spoon is built like this, which is why no other lure has worked so well for so long. It rocks back and forth, but it won't roll and twist line. And it's plated with pure silver or 24-kt gold, to produce a brighter flash than chrome or brass spoons."
The fact that the lure will not twist our line is an unexpected, but great feature. Add a 4-inch worm or pork strip as a trailer, and the action is close to my Swimming Worm.
The Johnson Spoon can be fished through most anything without snagging. The weed guard looks too heavy, but that is deceiving, too. It is a 'bendable' flat strip of metal that deforms easily to allow the fish to be hooked.
The strikes are soft 'takes' that resemble a light worm strike. They are in keeping with the extremely slow presentation of the lure (normally, fast-paced lures get slammed and slow ones are just taken hold of).
The strike takes some getting used to. You will feel a slight tapping or tugging and the line will normally move off gently to one side. When you feel this strike indication, do not set the hook immediately. Stop reeling and let the fish pull the line tight and then set back. Once you catch a couple, you will have no problem with the hook set and you will rarely miss hooking the fish.
Remember - retrieve it as slow as you can, while maintaining the required depth and action; keep it in or over the cover; discipline yourself to the delayed hook set.
Once you find the 'magic' qualities of the Johnson Spoon, you never be without the lure.
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