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Spoon-fed Success: The Ultimate Guide to Jigging Spoons

With the amount of tackle options available to today's angler, jigging spoons are a category of baits that often get overlooked. Well-known during ice fishing conditions, these slender baits provide serious fish-catching power when used correctly in open-water situations.

This article breaks down everything you need to know about the jigging spoon. From how and where to fish it, to choosing the right features for specific conditions.

Jigging spoons come in a small package but provide a big punch when used correctly.

Cotton Cordell CC Jigging Spoon

1/2 oz / Gold

Color: Gold

Gold
Silver
Weight: 1/2 oz

Stock: 3

$4.29

Quantity:
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What is a Jigging Spoon?

A jigging spoon is a fishing lure that is designed to fish vertically, targeted at a specific location. The slender profile and fluttering action are meant to imitate a dying baitfish, alerting game fish of an easy meal.

Most jigging spoons come equipped with a split ring, body, and a treble hook. There are slight differences between manufacturers, providing the uniqueness needed for many different fishing situations. 

Due to their lightweight and compact size, most anglers use a spinning rod and reel to manage the bait more efficiently. 

When to Fish with a Jigging Spoon in Open Water

Strike King Mark Rose Lil Ledge Spoon

Pearl / 3 3/4"

Color: Pearl

Chrome
Pearl
Sexy Shad
Smokey Chrome/Blue
Yellow Perch
White Chrome
Size: 3 3/4"

Stock: 4

$4.99

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The most common time to use a jigging spoon in open water is during the late fall and winter months. The subtle action and ability to work it slowly make it a great option for lethargic fish that are looking for easy meals. 

More recently they have been becoming a player in warmer months when targeting specific areas. Especially with the enhancements of forward-facing sonar, anglers are now able to target specific areas that are holding fish. 

Standing timber, rock ledges, and even suspended bait balls are all great opportunities to pull out the jigging spoon. The object is to cast the jigging spoon directly at the target and make quick snaps of your rod to get it to flutter just above the fish.

As you snap the rod up you want the jigging spoon to fall on a semi-slack line. That will allow you to control the rate of fall as well as allow you to see the line jump, indicating you got a bite. 

When you see or feel a bite, a steady lean back and reel is all that is needed for a successful hookset. Jigging spoons are usually equipped with small razor-sharp treble hooks that don’t need a lot of force to penetrate the fish.

The fighting of the fish is where a smooth drag and a moderate action rod come in handy. They will allow you to absorb the tug of a fish so you don’t pull the hooks out of its mouth. 

Additional Resources for Jigging Spoons:

Jigging Spoon Modifications

How to Choose the Right Spoon

When to Use a Jigging Spoon for Ice Fishing

VMC Rattle Spoon

1/16 oz / Glow Blue Shiner

Color: Glow Blue Shiner

Glow Blue Shiner
Glow Chartreuse Shiner
Glow Fire Tiger
Glow Gold Fish
Glow Green Fire UV
Glow Hot Perch
Glow Orange Fire UV
Glow Pink Fire UV
Glow Red Shiner
Gold Shiner
Glow Tiger
Perch
Shiner
Yellow Perch
Weight: 1/16 oz

Stock: 3

SALE $3.29Original Price:$5.29Save $2.00

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Jigging spoons have been popular with ice anglers for a long time. During the ice fishing season, they tend to be more popular at the beginning and end of the season. There are several reasons why that is the case. 

The first is their size. Relative to other ice fishing baits, jigging spoons are some of the largest baits used. The size of the jigging spoon better matches the size of the baitfish that are still being targeted by fish when ice first appears on northern lakes. 

In the middle of the ice fishing season, fish are in their most lethargic state. Subtle actions and bite-size packages work better to catch fish. Some anglers will still use jigging spoons during this time for their dead stick rods usually tipped with a minnow. 

As the deep freeze starts to thaw out, fish become more active and want to find a bigger meal. Jigging spoons start to gain more popularity as the bite gets more lively.

When looking for a rod/reel combo to use with ice fishing spoons, you will want something that has a little more backbone. That will allow you to control the action of the jigging spoon and give you extra stability when reeling in a big fish!

Additional resources for ice fishing: 

How to Fish an Ice Fishing Spoon

How to Choose the Right Ice Spoon

Ice Fishing Spoon Setup (Rod/Reel/Line)

The Differences between Jigging Spoons and Casting Spoons

The difference between casting and jigging spoons can be determined by the name.

Casting Spoons: Designed to be cast far out and retrieved by reeling the bait back to you. A great bait if you are looking to cover large areas. 

Jigging Spoons: Designed to be fished vertically or just in front of where you are standing. Great for working on a specific spot thoroughly. 

Casting spoons are larger than jigging spoons for several reasons. The first is that you want to be able to cast them far. The larger size and heavier weight allow you to do that. 

They also are larger and more spoon-shaped to create a greater disturbance in the water. As you cast these spoons in an area, the large vibrations alert fish from farther away. This is what makes them great baits to cover a lot of water with. 

Jigging spoons are smaller and don’t have as much of a pronounced spoon shape. This creates a more subtle action and is a better option for tougher conditions or when the fish are in a negative feeding situation.

Features of a Jigging Spoon that Make it Effective

Subtleness is key when fishing with a jigging spoon. The slender body profile and compact treble hook give the angler the best chance to catch a fish when the conditions are tough. 

Instead of the body looking like a typical spoon, oftentimes they will have a more solid body. This shape allows enough action to attract fish but not too much as to spook them.

Another added feature that usually comes with or is added on is a split ring or swivel combo in the line-tie area. This allows the bait to move more freely and prevents line twists when snapping the bait.

How to Choose the Right Jigging Spoon

Length

Jigging spoons come in all shapes and sizes and length is an important characteristic for matching the size of the baitfish. To maximize bites, it's important to have your lure look as realistic as possible. 

Depending on the time of year and the type of bait fish present in the body of water you are fishing, will determine what size jigging spoon you should go with. 

Earlier in the season, look for smaller sizes as new forage hasn't had much time to grow. As the seasons progress, upsize your bait to match the growing fish. This is a term often referred to as matching the hatch. 

Weight

Jigging spoon weight should be determined by what depth you are fishing in and how the fish are feeding that day. 

Most weights range from 1/16 to 3/4 oz and should be stepped up as you move deeper in the water column. The larger the weight the faster the fall, and getting to fish quickly is key when you find an area that is holding fish. 

Because the rate of fall is affected by the weight, heavier jigging spoons have more erratic actions. You can snap it hard and it will return to its original position faster. 

When fish are in feeding mode, go for a more erratic action and heavier weight. When the bite is slow, go for a more subtle action and lighter weight. 

Color

Color is another important factor to consider when choosing the right jigging spoon for your application. You called the fish in with the action of the bait, now the final step is to entice the bite with how it looks. 

Water clarity and daylight are the determining factors when choosing a color. On bright sunny days when the water is clear, you want colors that flash realistic colors to what is currently in that fish's ecosystem. 

Silver, gold, green, and brown are all neutral colors that mimic what fish are already feeding on. Flashy colors like silver and gold can call fish in from a long way away in calm, clear conditions.

When the water is murky or you are in low light conditions, colors that cast a shadow make it easier for fish to find your bait. Colors like white, black, or contrasting patterns work the best. 

Conclusion

Jigging spoons are not just ice-fishing lures. There is a time and place for them in all seasons. With the popularity of forward-facing sonar, these are becoming an even bigger player in catching boatloads of fish. 

No matter if you are an experienced fisherman or just starting out, the jigging spoon is an easy and productive technique to learn. With these few considerations, you will be hauling in fish with a jigging spoon in no time. 

Start your tackle search by checking out our comprehensive selection of jigging spoons.