Fall is a magical time when the leaves become a kaleidoscope or gorgeous colors and predator fish of all kinds forget their particular species and gather in great numbers to feed on the abundant schools of baitfish in Lake Lanier. Understanding this annual metamorphosis, makes them easy targets for those of us who are expert with a jigging spoon!
Early fishing pioneers discovered that most schools of fall and winter bass prefer to remain in open water near the larger bait schools, making them more difficult to locate. Accurate equipment is a "must" when trying to find these schools, so an infallible sonar unit is essential to success during this period. Other needed items are a powerful electric trolling motor, front mounted flasher or graph, and a few highly visible buoy markers.
The accepted outfit for vertical spooning is a five to seven foot, medium action, graphite rod with one of the old style bait-casting reels like Garcia's 5500C or a Daiwa Millionaire. Load the reel with twelve to seventeen pound test high-visibility line for best results and fewer lost spoons.
Since most predator fish are usually suspended well above the bottom, a method to accurately put the spoon at the desired depth is a necessity. Therefore, the previously mentioned older bait-casting reels are perfect. They possess a level-wind guide that goes from side to side as the line is pulled from the reel. A measurement of the length of line removed during one pass across the face of the reel, divided into the desired depth will give the number of passes needed to reach the proper depth. Depending upon variables like size of line and fullness of the spool, most of the reels will measure five to seven feet per pass. By the way, these older reels are often purchased cheaply at neighborhood garage sales.
When jigging in water deeper than twenty feet, straight spoons are best. A curved spoon flutters too much. Stick with the straight spoons of 3/4 or 1 ounce in weight.
To locate feeding schools of fish, watch the graph closely while crisscrossing the deepest part of any creek channel until either suspended fish or bottom-hugging schools appear on the screen. If you don’t see fish, don’t waste your time!
After finding a school of fish, throw out a floating buoy marker as a visual indicator, then drop the spoon straight down to the desired depth and jig it sharply upward twelve to twenty-four inches, allowing it fall back on a tight line. Since most strikes come as the spoon is falling, it is necessary to watch the line carefully. If a difference is noted, sweep the rod upward to set the hook.
Deep water spooning is always either "feast or famine." The "feasts" from the fall and winter depths are so electrifying, inclement weather doesn’t matter!