Crappie Like Micro Spoons On Lake Lanier
Tiny spoons are a hit with Lake Lanier crappie, and they work on other lakes, too.
Fish Like To Be Spoon Fed.
That’s the company slogan and belief of a pair of entrepreneurial crappie anglers who have come up with an innovative, downsized way to catch crappie.
Keith and Jessica Pace of Gainesville are the crappie anglers behind the internet company Crappie Micro Spoons and Jigs, which markets tiny spoons for crappie and other panfish. The couple has been marketing the small, handmade spoons and other crappie-catching tackle on their Internet site since September of 2006. The flashy, unique spoons have caught on, with orders coming in from all over the Southeast, Midwest and as far north as Canada, where the downsized spoons are popular with ice fishermen.
“We have had hits on the site from as far away as Korea and the Middle East,” said Keith.
Keith said part of the reason for building spoons was that he couldn’t find a spoon to his liking on the market.
“I like fishing spoons,” he said. “But the ones that were available were too heavy and sank too quickly. I was looking for something different, something the fish hadn’t seen.”
What he and his wife came up with was a lightweight spoon they call a Micro Spoon.
The spoons catch fish. At the March 10, 2007 Crappie USA tournament at Lanier, Keith said Micro Spoons accounted for first place in the male/female team category; third in the semi-pro division, and caught second big fish.
Micro Spoons are made from stamped tin. An Eagle Claw hook is soldered to the spoon, which is then heated, and powder-coated paint is applied. The paint is cured in an oven to reduce chipping. To date they offer 22 colors.
Does color matter?
“Definitely,” said Jessica. “You can tell it matters when all the bites are coming on one or two colors.”
Jessica said fluorescent green, chartreuse, black and white are consistently popular colors.
I met Keith and Jessica at Little Hall Park in mid June to see how the miniature spoons work. Our first spot was a brushed-up dock near Lan-Mar Marina.
To keep the small spoons down, they pinched on a small split-shot 12 to 18 inches above the spoon. The distance from the spoon to the split-shot dictates how fast the spoon falls. The farther from the spoon, the slower the fall and the flutter.
The split-shot gives the spoon more casting distance when casting it over the brush. Keith used a moderate, yo-yo retrieve, lifting and dropping the rod tip, which makes the spoon dart, wobble and weave over the brushpiles like a deranged or injured tiny minnow.
Light line is a requirement for the very light baits. The smallest spoon, called a mini, weighs 1/124-oz.
“Four-pound line is ideal,” said Keith, “but some people shoot docks with line as light as two pound.”
For vertical jigging, a Micro Spoon and a split-shot are dropped down over the brush and slowly jigged up and down like conventional jigs. The fish usually hit the slow-fluttering spoons on the fall.
Keith and Jessica use some other techniques to fish the tiny spoons depending on the time of year.
In the spring when the fish are on the banks spawning they will troll the tiny spoons on long rods extending toward the bank, effectively fishing in water as shallow as 2 or 3 feet deep. Earlier or later in the year when the crappie are either staging on the flats or have moved off the banks, they will use a tandem rig, with a 1/16-oz. Dock Devil jig they build providing the weight to pull a small spoon rigged on a 12-inch leader down behind the jig. The tandem rig can also be cast around docks or brush.
“It looks like one bait chasing another,” said Keith. “Usually you’ll catch the fish on the spoon.”
Confidence matters in fishing, and another trick Keith and Jessica use is to rub fish oil on the spoons and jigs to make them more appealing to fish. The fish-oil capsules can be purchased at most pharmacies.
From Lan-Mar Marina we went to the back of a cove near Browns Bridge where a brushed-up dock once sat. The dock is still there, but it slipped its mooring and is now located down the bank 75 feet.
“See that path on the bank,” said Keith. “That’s where the walkway used to be. The dock is gone, but the brush is still here.”
Keith looks for brushed-up docks on steep banks.
“I like steep banks, so I know the water is deep. I like to see big, covered docks that have a lot of shade. If they have lights pointed at the water, and rodholders, those are good signs that the owners are fishermen, and there is probably brush under the dock.”
Keith says the docks with at least 12 feet of water under them will hold crappie consistently and will hold big fish. Docks with less depth will often hold crappie, too, but he says the fish tend to run smaller.
A dock that is out of the way is a bonus, too, he says.
“There are some good docks on the Chestatee River, but most of them are in narrow spots and with boats running by, you can’t fish them effectively,” he said.
At the brush-minus-the-dock location, Jessica dropped a Micro Spoon straight down and began to vertical jig. In a minute the spoon was hung in the brush.
“If you’re not in the brush, you’re not in the right spot,” said Keith. “Losing spoons is part of the day. Some people use heavier line so they can get some of the spoons back, but I think they catch fewer fish.”
Once you have determined the depth of the brush, you can mark your line with a Sharpie or a similar permanent marker. Dropping your spoon to the mark on your line will keep you just above the brush, and not hung up in it, said Keith.
Jessica’s spoon jigged vertically over the brush produced two perch and a small largemouth to go with a bream she had caught earlier.
“We are catching it all today,” she said.
The variety speaks to the versatility of the spoons. The fluttering bits of colored metal look like a tiny meal to nearly everything with fins. The tiny size is the key to why the spoons catch fish.
“The slow fall is the thing,” said Keith. “A bigger, heavier spoon falls too fast, and they won’t hit it as well.”
This crappie-fishing couple has come up with another wrinkle to fishing boat docks. They call it Da Fly, and it looks a bit like a winged fly with two swept-back wings and a hook soldered underneath. The trick to the small baits is that they don’t drop in a straight line.
“The flies don’t fall straight down,” said Keith. “They fall at an angle.”
Keith fishes the flies on a 12-foot rod, which allows him to reach out to the very edge of a dock and release the fly. The weight and flutter of the two wings causes the fly to back up under the dock.
“In 10 or 12 feet of water, the fly will back up 6 or 8 feet,” he said.
We pulled up to a completely enclosed, metal-sided dock with no gap to shoot a lure through. Keith pulled out a long rod, reached out and dropped a fly at the edge of the dock, and I can vouch for fact that the thing backed up at least 4 feet under the edge of the dock before I lost sight of it.
We caught most of our fish from a dock in Taylor Creek. The dock was better before the owner moved the pontoon boat that was tied in the slip, said Keith, but he was confident we would catch some fish. There was a brushpile under the dock, and the depth at the front was 21 feet. We began shooting spoons and jigs to the back of the dock and bringing them back over the brush.
“You have to be a line watcher,” said Keith. “If you see the line tic or change direction or stop, they usually have it.”
The spoons skip well, which helps them reach the back corners under docks, and they flutter down slowly.
If you like to fish at night, the Paces also sell something called a Mini-worm that can be added to the spoon as a trailer. The worm-looking trailer comes in day-glow colors and works well for night fishing, says Keith. The trailer slows the spoon down further and gives it a glowing, swimming tail.
Keith tied on a crappie jig they make called a Dock Devil. The jig has an oversized body and a sickle hook with an oversized gap. The big body makes it skips well. Keith caught several crappie on a 1/32-oz. head, and black/chartreuse was the crappie’s pick for most popular color combo.
Jessica, meanwhile, pulled a small crappie from beneath the dock on a green spoon, and I caught another crappie vertical jigging a 1/32-oz. yellow spoon.
“Micro Spoons aren’t the end-all for crappie fishing,” said Keith. “But if you are fishing with jigs and the fish quit biting, a lot of times you can switch to a spoon and the fish will start biting. It’s a different look. A lot of times they will take something smaller that they know they can catch rather than having to run down a bigger bait.”
For more information about Micro Spoons, visit the Paces’ website or call (866) 701-8422.
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