How To Retrieve A Weedless Spoon To Get More Strikes [Case Study]

By: Luke Simonds on July 19, 2019
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how to retrieve a weedless spoon

Here’s the good news:

My dad and I went out fishing recently and a ton of redfish were brought to the boat.

Here’s the bad news (for me):

Most of them were caught by my dad!

He totally outfished me, but thanks to the video, I know what he did that I wasn’t doing.

Want to know how he outfished me?

Watch the video below.

How To Retrieve A Weedless Spoon [VIDEO]

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Given how much action my dad had those days, I believe that the unique retrieve style he performed was the core reason for the elevated performance.

I have been using it ever since and have found it to work quite well.

Now, obviously fishing with spoons can be very productive (I lost count of all the reds we caught those few days), so you might have some questions about the best ways to use them…

Below I’ll tackle some of the most common questions or ideas surrounding catching fish with weedless spoons.

The Best Weedless Spoons

berkley johnson silver minnow weedless spoon gold

The most popular weedless spoons are the Johnson Silver Minnow spoons.

That’s the brand my dad and I were using and they’re tough, come in a variety of sizes and colors, and clearly catch fish.

The weed guard works great for repelling weeds from getting snagged by the hook, and it’s curved shape allows it to erratically dart underwater, eliciting strikes from even the pickiest of fish.

The only con with this spoon is that it deteriorates from the saltwater pretty quickly if you don’t spray it down after using it.

Of course, the fix for that is to just wash it off with fresh water!

To see how this spoon moves underwater, watch the Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon review video towards the bottom of this post.

What’s your favorite brand of spoon?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Size Weedless Spoon Do I Need?

weedless spoon for redfish

1/4 ounce and 1/2 ounce spoons are the most popular when inshore fishing, and I’ve caught tons of fish with both sizes.

I do usually use the 1/4 ounce spoon more than the 1/2 ounce, and coincidentally my dad outfished me with a 1/4 ounce spoon while I was using a 1/2 ounce spoon.

And although it’s easy to look at this trip and think you should only use the 1/4 ounce spoon, one of the most important things to remember is to match the hatch.

If the predator fish are feeding on small baitfish, you’ll likely have more luck with the 1/4 ounce.

But if they’re feeding on bigger baitfish, the 1/2 ounce might be the better bet.

The Best Fishing Knots For Weedless Spoons

My favorite type of knot, and the one that’s most commonly used with weedless spoons, is a loop knot.

Specifically, the non-slip loop knot (a video on how to tie this knot is below).

Loop knots allow for a bit more of an erratic motion in the water, and it’s this erratic motion that causes a fish to strike.

However, it’s important to note that my dad was using a snug knot in the video above, so you can clearly catch fish with either knot.

But it’s also important to remember that my dad was using a twitch in his retrieve, which is what I believe is the real reason he outfished me.

You can see how to tie the non-slip loop knot in the video below.

How To Tie The Non-Slip Loop Knot [VIDEO]

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Weedless Spoons: Gold vs. Silver

Finally, you might be wondering what the best color weedless spoon is…

Although the Berkley Johnson Silver Minnow comes in 18 different colors, the two most popular are by far silver and gold.

The general consensus is that gold spoons are good for stained or darker water, and silver spoons are most effective in clear water.

In the past, I’ve typically used gold, but recently I’ve been testing out silver to see how it does.

Obviously, this video could be considered a knock against silver, as my dad was using gold and I was using silver…

Although like I said, I think the retrieve was the big difference-maker.

Either way, I’m going to continue to test gold vs. silver.

How about you?

Which color do you prefer?

Let me know in the comments below!

Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon Review [VIDEO]

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You can get this spoon at the link below:

Conclusion

Seeing how much of a difference the retrieve can make has got me thinking…

What else makes a big difference when using spoons?

So I’ll be doing more testing going forward on color, size, knot type, retrieve and anything else that comes to mind.

Also, I’ll be testing different brands against one another to see which one actually does the best for targeting redfish, snook, and seatrout.

Which brands do you want me to test? (By the way, in the video of my dad and I, we were using Johnson Silver Minnow spoons.)

Which brand, color and size would you like me to test?

Let me know in the comments below!

Note: The great thing about being fueled by our Insider Club and not brand sponsorships is that I can do these tests and be totally unbiased.

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Daniel Flores
Member

Great video, my son and I have been fishing the Marco Island area and he likes to troll the 1/2 oz silver spoon as we idle out thru the canals to the Marco River.
To my surprise it has produced some serious size Spanish Mackerel. I didn’t think they would go so far back into the canals, love and learn!!!
Now I need to start fishing the gold spoon for reds!!!!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

years ago fishing in canada i was out of our group of 4 (we flew in)i had a 1/4 gold johnson silver minnow along.caught a couple decent northern and i thought why not put a uncle josh’s pork rind on i must have caught 40+ northerns each day.it had to be the action and the scent cause i fished the same ares that i did earlier.can’t seem to find the uncle josh products anymore

George Winn
Member

I like the boat you and your Dad are fishing on. And I like the raised outer ridge on the deck, helps you know where the edge of the boat is – I usually prop one foot up on it.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

The devil is in the details. Silver when the light is bright and the water is clear. Gold when the light is dim or the water is stained.

Steven Free
Member

As far as knots go I still like my speed clip by Bill Norman lures it’s not snug to the bait like a snug knot is so it gives any lure plenty of play to move freely in the water and it allows me to change lures without stopping and tying another knot on a different lure and yes I like the gold spoon the best here in northeast fl you now know from fishing it this year that with our dark water most of the year gold is usually best seldom do I see people here use silver except maybe in the winter when the water gets colder and clearer and i did notice your father seem to twitch his spoon more then you did probably giving the bait a more erratic movement like a baitfish that might be dying or injured something predatory fish home in on I use this retrieve with a lot of my baits not just spoons with better luck instead of just a strait retrieve good vid great info thanks for all you do😁

Springer Springer
Member

Great video, again, Luke! I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this video. A follow-up video of under water footage in the pool or in clear water across a weed flat, to actually see the difference in lure action between your Dad’s retrieve with a snug knot vs your steady retrieve with a loop knot, would be interesting. Or maybe it would be a bust. Don’t know till actually see it. Maybe this would show a difference in how the lure interacts across the surface of the weeds.

Another possibility, which may be far fetched, but won’t know till tried, is that another difference in catch rate was a result of fish scent on the lure, from more fish being caught on it, masking the scent of human oils from our hands transferred to the lure. This theory has been around a long time, and we usually associate it more with soft plastics vs hard lures. Would a squirt of GULP juice have the same effect, masking human scent (or dog scent), or adding an attractive scent picked up by the fish’s chemoreceptors? Would it be effective even on a hard spoon? Or is it just a ploy to get us to spend more on fish attractants?

Raleigh Thomas
Member

Springer, that’s an interesting theory as bout human scent left on the spoon. I really don’t know if any oils would remain on it for any length of time.
As for scents, I really do believe they help to trigger a strike, by smelling like natural food as well as a visual by the lures action. It would probably be more of a help in murky water conditions when fish are relying on smell more than normal. A gel product would stick to a spoon, and last longer. If you tie a hair tail like I posted below, a scent product would last a lot longer applied to that, and a plastic trailer could be scented. A small strip of Fish Bites stuff could be used as a trailer too. Just a few more ideas thrown out there. 😉👍
Oh, and about them rusting easily, one thing I discovered in tying hair trailer material to the spoons, I use clear fingernail polish for head cement to coat the thread wraps, I put a coat of polish on the base of the hook where it is soldered to the body and start a base thread wrap to start.
As soon as you take your new spoons out of the package, give them a coat of clear nail polish, especially the whole hook. No more rust! ( I still rinse everything anyway, but the polish seals it.)

James Woodmansee
Member

Another great video Luke. Just wondering why you and your Dad decided to use spoons that day…were your soft plastics getting bitten off? some other reason?

Mel Bledsoe
Member

Great video Luke. Congrats to your dad and Otis is a hoot. I use both 1/4 and 1/2 oz. Canjun Thunder copper colored spoons. I have caught several large reds and specks on those bad boys.

Lee Shetler
Member

Bomber makes a great spoon called a “Who-Dat”…has a built in rattle, plastic weed guard with red beads on the end, resembling a shrimp. Recently caught my personal best 28.5” red using the gold color. Comes in various finishes. Give this one a try.

Stuart Secler
Member

I was always told to use a swivel to avoid line twisting……. I used to throw the spoon a lot but only caught one red in the multiple hours of throwing it. I even tried the white color that C.A. used in one of his videos.

Mark Ellenberg
Member

do you think this would be a good plug in the surf, never seen anyone use it there?

Mark Ellenberg
Member

adding a twister tail or a pork ring or strip helps when the strike short or for more action in fresh water, wonder if it would work in salt water too?

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Luke – great video. These types of videos is why I am a member.

Michael Silcox
Ambassador

A half ounce silver spoon is an excellent snook bait especially in the Everglades. I always have a spoon. a jig, and a plug, suspending or top water tied on as my go to lures.
Two weeks ago my buddy caught a 34 inch snook on a silver spoon in the 10K Island area.

Eric Hill
Member

I like using a spoon called the “the secret” made by H&H. Basicly it has a swivel and a plastic cover to protect the swivel and knot. I like the idea of it because it eliminates line twist and adds a added level of protection at the point of connection to the lure. I’d like to see how they stack up next to the good ole favorite of the Johnson spoon.

Larry Carr
Member

Wondering here Luke about line twist. I’m guessing you were using braid as it isn’t nearly as bad with line twist when using a spoon.

Larry Carr
Member

That’s kinda what I figured. I’ll be going the way of your video this winter.

David Atkins
Member

Size of the spoon is critical, fish feed on certain sized bait and if you match that size and color your hook-up rate will be better, also the snug knot allowed your Dad to get more lure action since he was twitching his rod tip during retreive, used that approach many times for fresh and salt water species and IT WORKS! Us old guys forget sometimes the detailed and intricated lessons we learned to fish but seeing your video brought back many memories of my Dad and I fishing and Dad mostly catching, lol

David Atkins
Member

What I saw was a great fisherman (Your Dad) kick your but in hook ups (lol); what Otis did later was get tired on jumping around your Dad and his constnat fish catches and come up to the bow of the boat to lay down and rest ’cause he knew you weren’t catching many fish, lmao at Otis – he is soo cool. My Dad taught me how to fish so get used to being out-fished, I’m 66 yrs old now and have learned many things from my Dad before he passed away, fishing and hunting for survival were the most important things he taught me. Enjoyed watching this video, TERRIFIC -tight line and FISH ON!

David Bush
Member

Good stuff. I’d be interested in you trying out the Aquadream spoons. I like them, but do occasionally have an issue with line twist. I intend to attach a swivel with a split ring next time I use one to see if it helps. I also really like Kastmaster spoons in open water (since they’re not weedless) when targeting Spanish Mackerel, Kings, Jacks, etc. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes/weights so you can really dial them in to the application and they cast a mile. The best part is you can buy hookless knock-offs on eBay for next to nothing (compared to the original) and add your own quality hooks.

Thom Ray
Member

A white small curly tail Gulp grub is an excellent trailer to add to the spoon. Dispersed the Gulp scent and adds a little more action while preserving the flutter vs spin.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Interesting video. I fish a spoon quite often. My go to is a Bagley good mirrored 1/2oz.

Brian Furlow
Member

1/4 oz Gold, loop knot. Reds seem to like a slow steady retrieve and/or a slow steady retrieve with an occasional twitch. Reds like it low in the water column while trout like it high. Trout clearly prefer a twitch, twitch pause retrieve. Spoons seem to work best for me when there is noticeable current, slight chop to water and fished just outside grassy shoreline and along oyster bars.

Richard Partynski
Member

Good info 🐟 What size spoon 2 inch ?

Bob Fain
Member

Luke, I have used the gold Silver Minnow, but my “go to” lure is the quarter ounce gold Johnson Sprite. I carries a strong treble hook, so it is not weedless, but I have caught 30# snook on them. I always use a loop knot. When I fish ultralight, I downsize to an eighth ounce gold Sprite, but the hooks are weaker. Gold Sprites produce for me when nothing else is putting fish in the boat. By the way, the little red “teaser” on the Sprite is critical…lose it and you might as well sit down.

Jacinda Rose
Member

If the water is deep enough, I’ll cast, let it drop, give a crank or two, pull up on the rod bringing the spoon near the top of the water column & let it fall again, few cranks, pull up & let fall… repeat….. usually catch on the drop

Gregory Batchelor
Member

Excellent Report Luke. What I love about this forum, is that we all learn from each other’s mistakes. It’s the little things. One day Cindy was hammering me when we both were using shrimp on jigs. I watched her to see what she was doing different. It was kinda like you and your Dad……she was “working it” with more of an upward twitch. I was actually doing a lazy side ways twitch. Her comment…”you just gotta tease ’em!” Good stuff and thanks for the share

Mallory DeLapp
Member

My favorite are the Acme Kastmaster spoons. I’d love to see you guys do a video/review on those.

John Hardiman
Member

This is exactly why I joined SaltStrong!! Great info Luke!!

Leslie Sobel
Member

Hey Luke what’s your thought about putting
Swivel on the spoon then tide to line.?
Keeping down line twist

Joseph Sherer
Member

Hey Luke, very interesting! I too use a spoon that I tie for Flyfishing. I have my best luck with a silver top and a gold underside. My thought process is I get the best of both worlds, well it sounds good in theory! Actually I do very well with it. The trick is to get the right proportions to make the hook ride up, once you accomplish that you have your mold. As far as how to tie your knot, Louis intended for you to tie the line (knot) directly to the spoon with no loop. He actually designed the spoon to flutter and not twist on purpose. The only exception he thought would be for pike and Musky wherein a wire leader is a must for what is known as the fresh water Barracuda,( referencing the Musky). As Louis was from the Chicago area he didn’t think of its use in salt water. However the Johnson Minnow has been in continuous production longer than any other fishing lure in history. There just might be a good reason for that. Loved the post, great stuff and thank you as always! 🙏💪👍😎

Malcolm Butler
Guest
Malcolm Butler

Hi, Luke this is not weedless however, it is the only one to use when you have to catch a redfish for supper. I have been using it for forty years. It has never failed to produce for me. The manufacturing company has recently adjusted the lure in order to save them money. In doing so they have changed the action of the lure. I have found it’s cure. Are you curious? Congratulations to the “old” man. You see we are never too smart to learn. Thanks for listening. Don’t catch them all. Randall

Rich Heyboer
Member

This is nuts. I just use a gold spoon yesterday and did alright and, just an hour before I saw this video, I ordered 10 online.

Raleigh Thomas
Member

Great topic and video! It seems like you never hear much talk about using weedless spoons in general, other than by those after Redfish specifically. A weedless spoon, and specifically the Johnsons Silver Minnow, has been an old standby in my lineup for as far as I can remember for inshore/flats/kayak fishing. If I have more than 2 rods rigged with me, one will always have a spoon on it. ( The others will have some kind of jig or shrimp imitator, the other a topwater or other hard bait like a Spook, Bomber Long-A, or a Mirrolure of some type.)
Spoons are actually pretty versatile, by varying the size and retrieve, and if it has a trailer on it. All of mine have a small split ring and small swivel attached to allow free movement, no matter what size leader or type of knot used, and eliminates line twist if it spins. The back end has a trailer of some kind about 80% of the time, for a few different reasons. Plain spoons tend to spin on fast retrieves, and sometimes run inverted, belly-up. A trailer eliminates that for the most part. I use the tail section of plastic worms, lengths varying, or a hand tied tail of bucktail, nylon hair and or crystal flash. ( I tie flies, so I have a vise and tons of materials ) Lengths vary, but generally about 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the spoon. This stabilizes the spoons action, adds a bit of length to better imitate larger bait, and undulates on the retrieve for a more lifelike action.
Retrieve styles.. use it like a topwater, with rod held up high and a faster speed you can swim it right over very shallow (6 to 8” !) grass, or ‘wake it’ on top just under the surface, leaving a ‘v’ wake. Retrieve with or without steady ‘bumps’ or flutters, retrieve it a couple or 10’ then suddenly stop it and drop slack with your rod to let it suddenly flutter down like an injured baitfish…. to various depths or the bottom ( the trailer tail is a HUGE help here, letting it flutter perfectly horizontal on the drop ), then start a retrieve to let it ‘come back to life’….ALL of these aspects are variable.
The biggest tip i’ll pass along is get access to a swimming pool or very clear water, and practice all these retrieves where you can see what the spoon is doing with different rod movements and retrieve speeds. You can really fine tune the variables. Your neighbors may get a laugh at you fishing in your pool, but your buddies won’t be laughing when you outfish them 10 to 1 because you can ‘make that thing sit up and talk.’ Tight Lines!

Colin Campbell
Member

The gold spoon on a loop knot has always been my go to for flats. For nearshore “toothy” species like mackerel sliver has worked best.

Gary Rankel
Member

Hey Luke. I don’t use spoons all that much, but when I do (usually around oyster bars), I like the Eppinger 1/4 oz gold spoon that comes with a red feather-like tail. Unlike many folks, I’m not a fan of loop knots (I think they’re over rated). I pretty much use a straight retrieve while trying to bounce it off the oysters. In more open water, I prefer soft plastics over spoons.

There’s so many spoons on the market it will be hard choosing which ones to test, but I’d suggest the Johnson and Eppinger products.

Don’t know how you can test this, but I’ve always felt that gold spoons worked best on reds while silver worked better for trout??

Walter Lee
Member

My favorite spoon is the AquaDream with a red hook. They hammer it!

Richard J Hart
Member

I too always use the loop knot. However, I do more like you in my retrieve. I cannot wait to try the retrieve your Dad was doing. I only use artificial and have never used live bait……thanks!