(Editor's note: Here's another feature from Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships.)
Team Toyota’s Matt Arey had just slapped 21 pounds of Lake Guntersville bass on the scales to take the tournament lead, yet he seemed equally as thrilled when a buddy handed him a giant, freshly squeezed $5 lemonade from a Bassmaster vendor located a short cast from the weigh-in stage.
It was hot. Like beat-you-down-while-you’re-covered-in-sweat kinda hot. And while Arey had done most of his damage with a prototype 3/4-unce Titan Tungsten football jig, one of summer’s best-kept secrets sat ready to play nearby – a 6-inch, 2 1/2-ounce “flutter spoon,” or what some call a “structure spoon.”
While not nearly as popular as mid-summer’s first-string players such as football jigs, deep cranks and giant plastic worms, pros like Arey know anytime you’re on a Southern body of water full of big bass and plenty of shad, few lures fire up a fat school of largemouth like these flashy oversized spoons.
“The perfect time for a flutter spoon is anytime bass are ganged-up offshore and feeding somewhat deep on shad,” the North Carolina pro said.
While perhaps easiest to utilize in open water situations away from the bank, big spoons have proven super-effective in recent years around the shade lines of deeper floating boat docks, and can also be fantastic to coax lethargic summer bass suspended deep in underwater treetops. Just don’t throw into a brushpile, because your chances of snagging it and not getting it back run higher than the mercury in a mid-summer thermometer.
Unlike a deep summertime crankbait – where Olympic-distance casts are critical to the lure reaching and staying in the strike zone – a big, heavy spoon can find its way into a limited strike zone with quick precision. So a short, underhanded cast or pitch is far better to probe a specific zone like a dock’s shade line, or the sweet spot on a road bed or point.
You’re dealing with a big lure, so a big rod with plenty of backbone is critical. I use a heavy action 7’6” rod like I’d use for pitching heavy cover,” says Arey. “And it’s really important to use a fast reel with an 8.1:1 gear ratio.” He spools the reel with 17-pound fluorocarbon for 6-inch spoons and 20-pound fluoro for even bigger spoons.
While big spoons feature a meaty treble hook on their tails, Arey says adding an additional "stinger hook" to the top of the spoon near the spit ring will not only increase your catch rates, but can actually help you catch two-at-a-time.
While some anglers tether a hook directly to the split ring, Arey adds a feathered treble through a rigging he credits former FLW pro Kyle Mabrey with teaching him, before Mabrey died tragically in a 2017 in single vehicle accident. He uses a barrel swivel with a 12” leader tied between it and the feathered treble to allow the extra hook to slide up and down the main line, so that when two bass are hooked at the same time they stay buttoned up.
The ability of oversized spoons to fire up a lethargic school of fat largemouth is as undeniably good as an icy-cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade after a sweltering hot day on the water.