Have you ever used a WilloSpoon? If you ever ask someone that question I’m sure they’ll say “sure I used them a lot through the ice and they work good.” Hardly anyone will say they ever used them in the summer and if they have they only used them to vertical jig for perch or some other pan-fish. I’m going to tell you some of the ways that I use the WilloSpoons and how you too can use them to put more walleyes and other fish in the pan all year long.
My first experience using a WilloSpoon was one winter many years ago while fishing for Perch through the ice on lake Mille Lacs. I was busy catching Perch when all of a sudden I had a much bigger fish on the line and after a few minutes playing it I landed a Walleye that was over 8 pounds. After catching a few more smaller Walleyes the rest of the day I got to thinking that there might be something to these little spoons and maybe I should put some info in my notes for summer fishing and give them a try at that time. Being a Walleye tournament fisherman I always keep notes on things that happen when I catch Walleyes and I put that information in my computer to use later. It isn’t a bad idea for everyone to do something like this to keep track of their fishing success or lack of success whatever the case may be. In fact there are computer programs that you can buy for just this purpose.
When the next tournament season started I printed out all of my notes and as I was reading them the WilloSpoon notes popped up. It didn’t take long for me to start to think about how I could use them during tournaments. I decided to pick up a few more WilloSpoons to try if the conditions were right. The conditions are usually right if I’m not catching fish on anything else. As you might expect I didn’t even think about using them until a while later while prefishing and as usual I wasn’t catching any fish so I decided to try them behind a bottom bouncer for a while just for something different to do. As you might guess, nothing happened, but a while later when I was talking to a tournament fishing friend he told me about catching some Walleyes while casting WilloSpoons in shallow water. Now I just had to try them more often and I had to see for myself if there was really anything to these things.
They have a lot of things going for them if you really think about it. They come in a multitude of colors, they’re almost weightless and you can push them inside of a tube tail to make them a soft body. You can bait them with any kind of live bait as long as its small and if you don’t like the hook you can replace it with a treble or a colored hook or as you will read later in this article, there are secret special ways to use them with no hook at all and still catch fish.???
Now that I had all this good information it was time to try them and see how I could use them to catch fish. The first thing that I did was try casting them. I’ll tell you something, you soon find out that you have to use very light line and only cast down wind or you end up with them landing right in front of you in the water or if your not careful stuck in your forehead. I tried adding a small split shot a foot above the spoon and I changed the single hook to a #8 or 10 treble hook. Next I tried using a small minnow or leech , as you can see I was really grasping at straws to try to get these things heavy enough to cast. Several of these things seemed to help quite a bit and gave enough weight to cast and didn’t really bother the action any. I used this rig in some real shallow water when prefishing for a tournament on the Mississippi river and caught a fish in the 7 pound range as well as some smaller Sauger. This is definitely a shallow water rig because of the light weight although I would think you could try a heavier split shot for deeper water.
When using the WilloSpoon in deep water I found that dressing them with a small minnow or half a crawler and trolling them very slowly behind a bottom bouncer or snap weight was the most affective way next to vertical jigging. That is if you want to catch the fish on the WilloSpoon. If you want to use them as flashers to help catch fish with another lure here is another one of my brainstorm ideas that paid off and you might want to try. Take the hooks off about three WilloSpoons and replace them with small swivels. Now tie the WilloSpoons in line about 6 inches apart and about 2 feet ahead of a crankbait when trolling, you might be pleasantly surprised at the flash they produce and how they resemble baitfish swimming along. Of course you can use any number or color of WilloSpoon that you want or modify them any way that works for you.
Probably the way that WilloSpoons are most used is ice fishing. I must admit this was the only time that I used them for a lot of years. I still use them any time I go ice fishing for any kind of fish except Northern Pike. Not that they don’t work for Northerns but their sharp teeth will cut the line and you will loose lots of baits. When fishing in deep water I use about an 8 inch pencil sinker 6 or 7 inches above the WilloSpoon. By using this rig you will not tangle the WilloSpoon on the line like you will if you use split shot when lowering it into deep water. For shallow water applications you normally wont need any weight so the tangle problem is eliminated. There are many ways to dress the WilloSpoon with live bait. You can put ice fishing grubs on it, the head of a minnow or what I like is the tail end of the minnow. I remove the head of the minnow right behind the gills and then hook the body so the tail of the minnow is hanging and just kind of floating in the water when you jig it up and down. This is dynamite on Perch and Walleye through the ice and would probably work equally as well in the summer.
As you can see the WilloSpoon can be used throughout the year with good success. Of course the original Walleye WilloSpoon from Bait Rigs tackle will always provide the best results and the “fire” colors that are new this year are a great addition to the WilloSpoon line, it gives you more selection and makes them even more versatile. I’m really looking foreword to the coming tournament season when I’m sure that I’ll be using the WilloSpoon even more than I have in the past. Try em I think you’ll learn to like em too.
If you’re having trouble finding the WilloSpoons at your local sport shop, you can order them online from E-Bait.com in the Bait Rigs Tackle Store.
It will be well worth your while.