Randy Edwards on spoon jigging


Name: Randy Edwards
Hometown: Dawsonville, Ga.
Technique: Spoon jigging — a vertical presentation technique used to catch deep, suspended bass. As Edwards puts it, "It's making them eat something when they don't know if they want to eat it or not."
History: The first account of a spoon being used for fishing comes to us from 1881, when Julio Buel was eating his lunch and dropped his spoon in the water only to watch a fish snap at it. Edwards' introduction to spoons is somewhat different. He learned the technique from Charles Woody, a Lake Lanier, Ga., fisherman and guide who had success with clients during the cold, slow months of late fall and winter.
Highlights: While Edwards can't say he's won gobs of cash jigging a spoon, he does credit it with keeping his clients happy in the toughest of conditions. He says this technique won't always get you 20-something pounds needed to win a one-day tournament, but it will keep you busy all day.
When to Use: Edwards says spoons shine in the late fall through early winter. The fish are schooled up in the fall, making them easy to find on your electronics. By late winter, they may be heading shallow again, rendering a jigging spoon useless.
Where to Use: Main lake points and creek beds are good bets for finding a wad of fish. When water is pulled from a lake, it concentrates the fish on deep structure. Let your electronics tell you where there are fish. Edwards has found most fish between 15 and 25 feet of water. If he finds fish deeper than that, he usually will not bother with them because he's found they are the least interested in biting.
  Edwards admits his tackle setup may be somewhat unusual, but it is the best for this technique. A 5-foot, 5-inch Quarrow rod with a Shimano Curado reel is his outfit of choice, even for beginners because no casting is involved. Since the technique has you parked directly over the fish, a rod that extends too far beyond the transducer will be outside of the school, hence the short rod. Monofilament gets the nod for all of Edwards' jigging. He says the spoon needs to be the heaviest part of the outfit, and fluorocarbon is heavy enough that it may sink below the spoon and tangle. Braid doesn't have enough stretch, resulting in ripped lips and lost fish.
Lures: A 3/4-ounce Hopkins 75 spoon is Edwards' spoon of choice. He likes a slab spoon over concave models because the slab will not flutter and twist around the line. The Hopkins' nickel plating gives the appearance of a dying shad as it flutters.
Basics: Edwards says one of the most important parts of successful spoon jigging is being able to read your electronics well. If you can't find fish on you sonar, you'll haul water all day. Once you do find fish, Edwards says it's just a matter of dropping your spoon down to the desired depth, engaging the reel, lowering the rod tip to the eight o'clock position, then raising it to 10 o'clock and repeating until you feel a bite. Edwards describes the bite as a rubber band loading up, rather than a distinct "tap-tap." One thing Edwards stresses is depth control. Do not let the spoon go below the fish at the risk of spooking the school, and if it's too high they won't see it. Since the fish you're after are in a school, mob mentality rules. If you catch a fish, then promptly release it, it will rejoin the school thoroughly spooked, affecting the other fish. Before you know it, your sonar will go blank. Edwards advises that you put every fish you catch in the livewell until the bite turns off or you move, then release them.
One More Thing: Since placing your lure at the precise depth the fish are at is crucial, Edwards has devised a plan to keep inexperienced clients in the fish. If the school is in 15 feet of water, Edwards will return to shallower water, park his boat in 15 feet of water and let the spoon fall to the bottom, then place a line across spool with a marker. Once the line is marked, it's easy to tell when the proper amount of line has been dispensed.

Edwards can be reached at his On Lanier Guide Service, 706-265-2136.