Spoonin’ Up the Stripers

When the water temps drop this month, at some point the stripers will move deep. And in-between flurries of bird action there will almost certainly come a time when you spot fish in 30 to 40 feet of water hugging the bottom. It’s time to reach for those jigging spoons.

jigging spoons for rockfish
Those cold water rockfish just love jigging spoons.
  • Position yourself to idle upwind/upcurrent, until you go over solid marks. Don’t stop when you first see them, but continue idling until they begin to taper off. Then it’s time to shift into neutral.
  • Drop your spoons from the upwind side of the boat until they hit bottom. Lock up the reel, and sweep the rod tip up quickly and with authority.
  • Drop your rod tip to allow the spoon to fall as freely as possible, while still maintaining some tension. To accomplish this, a moderate or slow action rod works best since you can keep some bend in the tip while the spoon falls.
  • If the spoon hits bottom earlier than expected set the hook — that isn’t bottom, a fish grabbed the lure!
  • If it ceases hitting bottom on the downswing, let out additional line until it touches down again. Then resume jigging. Remember that if the drift is fast, you may need to let out line every second or third jig.

Spoonin’ Up the Perch

perch catching spoons
And chunky white perch fall for jigging spoons, too!

Those tasty white perch will transition to deeper waters this month, too. In most areas they’ll be clustered around structure like the Bay Bridge rockpiles and pilings, and you’ll also find them over deepwater shell bottom and reefs. Again, spoons are a great way to get ‘em. But since this species tends to feed on somewhat smaller baits, a few adjustments are in order.

  • Stick with the smallest spoon that has enough weight to reach bottom.
  • If you can’t keep it down swap for a spoon that’s too large for perch, and tie a dropper loop into your leader about two feet above the spoon.
  • Tie on a perch-sized offering like a streamer or a two-inch soft plastic onto the dropper. When using plastic, don’t tie on a weighted jighead but instead use a plain hook sized appropriately for the tail, and thread it on.
  • Drop the rig to bottom and jig it in the same way, but with a bit less swing and vigor.