Spoons,  the lure of choice for Walleye
Mike Tontimonia

Spoon feeding Lake Erie walleyes has become the topic most often discussed among Great Lakes anglers. Plastic lures are good -worms are , too - but when it gets right down to filling a cooler with walleyes, trolling with spoons out produces everything else.  But to say that all fishing spoons are created equal is to over simplify a rather complex lure technology. Certainly, 99 percent of all  spoons are shaped from metal, but that's where the similarity ends.

Spoon feeding, or spoon fishing; becomes no more effective than the choice of spoons. Pick the right one, understand how it
works best and get ready for action. Pick the wrong spoon, however, and prepare for a long day of fishing, not catching. Size,
shape, color and action, all enter into the choice. Just ask the pro trollers - charter guides who must produce fish for their paying customers or they become past customers- trollers like Jeff Dzruo of Akron who does his summer angling on the open water around Lorain, Ohio.

According to Dzruo, his most productive rig is a spoon trolled behind a Dipsey Diver, a device that takes the lures down to the
depth favored by open-water walleyes. Dzruo is perfectly willing to tell any angler who wants to listen a lot about trolling, including the skinny on spoons. And we should listen, especially when Dzruo gets down to describing the size of his favorite trolling spoons.  That's when every frustrated troller that has been scratching for Lake Erie walleyes ought to realize just how important spoon technology is - and far it's come in recent years. Small, smaller, and smallest is the right choice according to Dzruo.

That brings us to the fishing lure market place and to the designer of the Scorpion Stinger spoon, arguably the hottest lure this spring among Lake Erie trollers as they stock up for the coming season. A Scorpion spoon is about the size of a baby "real" spoon. In fact it's only 2 1/4 inches in length, the size of lure most of us would guess is about right for trout and crappie, but hardly a mouthful for a walleye. It did not get small and it did not get popular by accident - not according to Terry Weber the proud papa of the Scorpion.

Weber, a Michigan spoon maker of some repute since the early 1980's, targeted Lake Erie walleyes, or more precisely the
fishermen who chase them, in 1991. He knew he had to think small. Weber knew that a lot of Lake Erie walleye trollers liked to run spoons, but he also knew that most spoons, designed for salmon were too large for the clear water of Lake Erie and too large to resemble minnows that walleyes feed on. Dzruo agreed that large lures just aren't the right lures for the "new" Lake Erie, a lake that has become increasingly clear. Big lures scare fish away, he said. Weber spent years testing and retesting, trying to get the smaller version of his spoon to work right. Spoons with large surface areas are much easier to work with. They deflect more water and, therefore, they have more consistent, predictable action. Smaller versions of spoon are less likely to work well. Eventually, Weber perfected the Scorpion, and he entered the Lake Erie market in 1995. Its success has been nothing short of remarkable.

According to Weber, a spoon is at its fish attracting best when its action is most erratic. That is, a spoon that wobbles back and forth in a perfect, symmetrical rhythm is pretty to watch, but probably won't tempt many fish. A spoon that occasionally darts out of its pattern often triggers a strike from a curious fish. That erratic, darting action is built in quality spoons, according to Weber. So is durability. Top spoons are plated with real silver or gold. Believe it or not, the shiniest lures, those that most look like live forage fish such as minnows and smelt are plated with precious metal. Their shine lasts. On colors, every angler, including Dzruo and Weber, has favorite hues, but it is nearly impossible to pass judgment on which is best.

When fish are biting, they bite on any color. It's the size and the action that seem most relevant.