Spoonplug replacement?

Questions about Freshwater Fishing

Spoonplug replacement?

Postby Questor » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:34 am

Mr. Dahlberg:

I like the spoonplugging concept, but spoonplugs are getting a little scarce. What's a good type of replacement for them that will work depths from about 6 feet to about 25 feet? Target fish are 5 to 10 pound northerns and 3 pound largemouths.

Also, Buck Perry recommended using a short rod to troll with. Is that still good advice now that we're using graphite instead of glass? I'd rather not have to get a new rod when I've got a couple of 6.5 footers already.

Thanks.
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Postby dahlberg » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:34 pm

I'd bet you can find 'em on ebay.
No one lure will do the job. It will usually take three or four sizes to cover the depth range you mention. Best way is to experiment with controlled lenghts of line using a given lure etc until you know where you're at, then apply buck's methods. Do it right and you will be amazed.
best,
L
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Spoonplugging

Postby Tubakka » Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:40 am

Questor,
Though I'm a young man, I was privileged to having been introduced to Buck Perry when I was very young both to his concepts and in person. While Ive got alot of growing ahead of me at the ripe old age of 21, I can tell you without a doubt...NO ONE even comes close to Mr. Perry in their understanding of fish behavior in any environment fo nearly every species, and their execution of that knowledge in a facility to catch those fish. You are on the right track, I promise you. The best spoonpluggers out there today [all 10 of them...basically...] make catches that rival and surmount the best freshwater [and inshore saltwater] anglers in the world, hands down. Numbers? Well, Buck's record was 48 bass on 48 consecutive casts, but he made catches that large and larger all the time, just maybe missing fish here or there and then picking up fish thereafter in the school. In more modern times, Spoonpluggers all but discovered the untapped musky fishery on the Detroit River, catching 70 muskies a week at least, with several fish over 50". The largest so far out of that fishery was 55 3/4". I can tell you that it will work on your pike just as well...in fact, pike are one of the biggest suckers for the spoonplugging knowledge. All this aside, I need to address a few miunderstandings:
#1. Spoonplugs are not scarce [though they may someday be soon if more people don't get in on it]. They are made regularly at the Spoonplug factory [one guy in a shop] in Hickory, NC. Get online at www.buckperry.com and you can order everything there.
#2. The thing about the system is that Buck designed everything in his tackle lineup to best execute the knowledge. He states that the longer the rod, the less control you have over it. This guy pioneered the art of motor trolling in a knowledgeable way, so I'd listen to him. You MUST order the Spoonplugging rods. They're fiberglass rods, INDESTRUCTIBLE...literally!...and provide the most sensitivity in the application, combined with the Buck Perry Dupont no stretch mono trolling line, and the wire line. Understand the reason I insist on your using the Spoonplugging tackle accessories [I use that term lightly...they are necessities] is not to plug "Buck Perry" [though in a world where much lesser fishermen are heralded where hardly anyone knows who Mr. Perry was] but because the entire system was optimized AROUND that tackle set up. Anything else using the spoonplugs is going to limit your success. I'm not saying don't diversity your casting tackle set up, but to troll the Spoonplugs in a successful mapping application, you MUST use THIS tackle. It's not that expensive really, and it's well worth it.
...the thing you must remember in all this, is that this is THE defiinitive study in fish behavior in accordance to an angling concept. I'm a fisheries biology major, and you wouldn't believe the silly errors my colleagues make in net placement and simple fish behavior sometimes because they do not know this SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN knowledge concerning fish behavior. It's truly THE textbook of fishing knowledge. Not to say there are deviations fromm time to time, especially with other species, but Buck even states this in his guidelines, and still stands by "If you learn to catch the largemouth bass consistently, with slight adjustments, no fish will be able to challenge you for very long". I'm not sure if Mr. Dahlberg was completely familiar with the current status of this study, and thus could not give an accurate answer, although I am very impressed that he accredited Buck Perry with such accolade. If you ask any of the men in the know in today's angling world, they'll pretty much all tell you the same thing. You should see Buck's old basement...he has signed letters of thanks from nearly every major fishing face today, including the entire In-Fisherman/Angling Edge staff. Heck, Al, Ron, and Jim were taught directly by Terry O'Malley on the Fox Chain, Terry being one of Buck's finest students. I didn't mean to write a novella, but I felt you needed some clearing up. you don't have to get on ebay to get spoonplugs. In fact, I don't promote it. They make brand new lures in lots of different colors [not that important but whatever] in all the sizes, plus the wire line is available to use with them doubling the depths you can reach. USE THE SPOONPLUGGING TACKLE...you will compromise the knowledge if you deviate from the basic spoonplugging setup. It's not quick or flashy, but nothing else does the job as well. God bless, and let me know what you think.
-Tubakka
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Postby Questor » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:36 am

Tubakka:

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I'm more than a little concerned about the continued viability of the spoonplugs though. I was able to order some, but the shipping price was $13, which alone makes buying them undesirable. In that order I bought a rod and 8 lures, so it wasn't terribly unreasonably priced. But just replacing a few lures occasionally will be very undesirable at that price. On the other hand, I am using spoonplugs and they work very well.

I really think I need to be proactive about finding another bait that will bounce bottom at a speed troll. Surely there have been developments in crankbaits that have expanded this niche. With the proliferation of redundancies in the tackle market, it's hard to believe that any given niche could exist without being filled by multiple vendors.
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Superiority of Spoonplugs

Postby Tubakka » Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:43 pm

Questor,
I understand your concern, and you're right...it's due to the lack of demand on them that makes the price jack up like that. BUT...think like a musky fisherman. Their lures sometimes reach to 40 dollars, and they fork it out readily, despite most of them being ridiculously large [unnecessarily so] and do not have the same capabilities and precision of a Spoonplug. I will say this, if any modern crankbaits have the capabilities of the Spoonplugs, or come within the same ball league, its the musky baits that are available. They reach a desired depth, and stay there, without assistance, and are capable of handling alot of speeds. It's then the gargantuan size factor that can sometimes make them irrelevant in the pursuit of some species. The Spoonplug sizes were designed by applying the same formula Buck used in designing the 100 [yes there's a mathematical formula behind the design of the Spoonplug...he WAS a physics professor after all] just changing a few numbers around to accomodate the different depths. Here are a few reasons why Spoonplugs will pay for themselves well over slightly cheaper crankbaits, both in their ability to execute what you want, and in actual economical outlook.
#1. Spoonplugs are indestructible. You can bump across rip rap going 8+ mph [which is sometimes necessary, especially for pike and musky] zipping all the way, and the only thing that will wear is the paintjob [Buck always said though you only need the three basic colors to catch any fish you want: silver, gold, and copper]. They will perform years after plastic lips bust and break off. This is due in part to the actual design of the SPoonplug. I'm no physics major, but look at the lure. you can clearly see that the ENTIRE structure of the lure is what allows it to dive. Every aspect of the lures anatomy attributes to its ability to maintain depth and speed accurately. The bait actually USES the water that flows over it to help generate the action, instead of using direct resistance of an awkward bill slapped onto a sleek body that attempts to compensate for the resistance created by the bill on most crankbaits. In essence, the entire body of the spoonplug serves as the "lip" allow for the depth diving capabilities of Spoonplugs, despite their relatively smaller size.
#2. You may or may not have discovered or noticed yet, but when Spoonplugs gets weeds or muck on them, it directly disrupts the FLOW of that water over the body of the Spoonplug, and the lure is DESIGNED to come to the top when debris interferes with its diving ability, saving time wondering why your bait isn't hitting what it should, and more often than not saving you from snagging and losing baits due to complications concerning this.
#3. When the lure is actually snagged [usually meaning the lip is dug under a tree or rock, as the way the lure runs, it's designed to keep the hooks normally well out of harm's way], it is stated in Buck's book, that if you sense the tension building on the bait from a snag, IMMEDIATELY lift the rod high in the air, and SLAM it forward, "hopping" the bait over the snag. This also is an intentional trait designed into the lure and another testament to Perry's genius.
...now this is not to say that you shouldn't pack some floating cranks into your arsenal. In the instance of casting shoreline and checking shallow depths, I prefer casting the 250 or the 800 [the 800 for musky is great for checking deep shorelines, as no other crankbait has a deeper dive angle...they basically don't want to come into the boat!], so they pull double duty, although for executing the "Casting position" situations, anchoring on a structure in ten feet or less and sinking the crankbait to the bottom to "walk" up the structure...something no other crankbait ever designed to date can do NEARLY as well...you can use whatever size appropriate, usually at least a 100, and for doing this, all you need is a 6'6" 20 dollar bass pro graphite musky rod. It's the best bet for feeling that lure come all the way up the structure...you don't want a soft tip crankbait rod like what most are sold today. In fact, I have gotten to where, using an Abu Garcia reel, can cast the Spoonplugs and crank them up with the trolling rod, which can be really effective, though not necessarily recommended. Really, honestly, executing this knowledge drastically decreases your annual cost of baits and lures because you learn to consolidate your tackle into what allows you the best control. I have a few knick knacks for trout and small game, but basically by tackle box consists of Spoonplugs, silver buddy blade baits [which we have the molds for and make for 50 cents a piece...and are probably the best jump bait ever made; I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend doing this], some soft plastics, and a shallow water baits. This setup takes the complications out of things, doesn't limit your ability to control the knowledge, and saves you lots of money and questions. To answer your question though honestly...no there is not really a lure that fills the niche of the Spoonplug, and there will never be. This is not bias its fact. The design is flawless, and cannot virtually be improved upon. It was revolutionary in its time, and even today, the design is STILL space age compared to the lures around it. Forget aesthetics...fish don't really care, especially in deep water. Lures are tools...BUT, if there's ONE crankbait that comes close, and I highly recommend picking upa few of these for casting purposes, the DT-16 and DT-14, or really any of the DT-series crankbaits you wish are a good bet. They go nearly DIRECTLY to the prescribed depth and stay there nearly as good as a Spoonplug. The ability to sink the Spoonplug, in my opinion gives it the edge in most instances [btw, the only and ONLY flaw I've found in Spoonplugs is that upon sinking them, they sometimes tumble and foul themselves...but that's it!]. In some instances, a stop and go retrieve, or jerk pause is the correct speed control, and the sinking Spoonplug has a little trouble with this. That's where a floating or suspending DT crankbait will give you a little edge, but in most cases a little creativity can compensate for this. I hate to write so much, but I'm a "no-stone-unturned" kinda guy. I hope this helps, and hey...just to save people the pain of reading my rants, if youhave any more questions just email me at cpallen21@tntech.edu. I'll be in NY this summer in the Adirondacks just playing music and fishing at a resort, so if you're in that area, come look me up. There's supposed to be a lake just af ew mmiles away [btw, I get to park my boat ON a 1500 lake with trophy smallmouth and 30" brown trout]. otherwise, I'm in TN. No pike, but we've got some real gems of musky fisheries [one is going to be world reknowned here real soon] and a few great rivers with them in it. In the spring, we were seeing at least 20 muskies up int he river every float, in water less then 5 feet the whole way through. Some of them were close to and up to 50" long. hey man, god bless, and peace out. I'm always happy to see a new person shown the light...and I'll do my best to hook you up with some guys MUCH better than me in your area.
-Tubakka
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A better answer to your question...

Postby Tubakka » Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:49 pm

Questor,
I quickly thought of this in reply to your question about the redunancies of fishing tackle and the advances in technology. It's all supply and demand right? How many guys do you know that troll 35-40 foot breaklines for ANY species of fish, let alone bass? I'm the only guy I know, and though I'm just learning, I'll tell ya deep water wire line trolling is the last frontier of freshwater fishing. Here's two things that are EASILY over looked in the beginning but will make all the difference int he world: When trolling breaklines try to work on the downward slope "lip" of the breakline, not necessarily on top. Check on top, but be more concerned with the down slope. That's where the fish will most often be. The other thing is to begin getting line sights on your home bodies. FInd the productive trolling passes, throw markers, and then get rifle sights as dictated in the Green book. This will allow you to OWN a lake, and is the true mark of a seasoned 'plugger. let me know how it goes, and don't be discouraged. Your time and finances will not be in vain.
-Tubakka
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Postby ronaldfa » Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:24 am

Spoonplug:

Here is the officalWebsite!http://www.buckperry.com/index.php


Very interesting site!
Ronald F. Ardron
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Postby steelneal » Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:37 am

questor,
i was curious as to whether the Spoonplugs have been working for you?
Steel
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Postby Questor » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:13 pm

steelneal:

Yes, they have. More to the point though, I'm applying Perry's system pretty much as he wrote it and have found that it makes trolling more interesting. The feature I like about the spoon plugs is that they go to the bottom and bounce right along. They also surface if any weeds or debris fouls them-- that's a good feature.

I consider the spoon plugs to be the learning devices that Perry sold them as. I'll probably switch back to more readily available lures after I've learned the methods to my satisfaction.
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Postby steelneal » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:27 pm

Cool,
gonna have to get me those books. Got to keep learning and stay versatile.That weed fouling attribute is a big plus where i fish here in ohio.
Do you use the rods from Perry's store? could i use an ugly stick or make a glass noodle rod in their place?
Honestly those rods on the official site looked kind of chintzy for that kind of cabbage.
Keep fishing!
Steel
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Postby Questor » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:51 pm

Steelneal:

You can buy the book used at abebooks.com for under $10 including shipping. Before spending any more money than that, read the book. The only problem I had with it was that Perry's preachy, dogmatic, and doctrinaire writing style reads like pure bunk. Had it not been for Larry Dahlberg's recommendation that he was a true innovator who got it right, I'd not have given it a second look.

Don't get a noodle rod for this application. You want a short, stiff rod. There is an ugly stick that I think would work fine. I believe it works with weights up to 3 ounces and is about 5 feet long. But I have not tried it myself. I did buy the Perry rod. The finish and componentry are a bit bizarre by today's standards. The finish looks like it was applied during a sandstorm. However, it fishes like a dream. Everything is in the right position. The guides are top quality. The rod has a perfect action for this kind of trolling. I hesitate to recommend such an expensive rod, but I have to admit that functionally it is very well suited to the application and I do not regret buying it. I considered the ugly stick but decided to go with the Perry rod because enthusiastic spoon pluggers swear by it as a necessity.

I put a Daiwa Sealine line counter reel on it and had to modify the reel seat to make it fit on the rod. One sure thing I can say about the rod is that it appears built to last. Contrary to what you may read, the line counter reel is a good idea. I'm using 30# Sufix performance braid line.

The lures themselves are of high quality and good construction.

If you're not used to fishing with markers, it would be good to get used to the idea. Markers are a definite asset for this kind of fishing.

One thing about "spoon plugging": It's clearly a dying technique and some of the enthusiasts seem to treat it like some kind of religion where they insist on using 1960s technology for every aspect of the game, right down to buying and restoring old Penn 109 reels. That's a bit ridiculous to me. I just use the methods and tools to enhance my fishing.

I got interested in it because I realized that I wasn't using trolling to full effect for my fishing. This helped me add trolling as part of my repertroire of pleasurable fishing activities.
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Postby Brad S » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:44 am

I'd like to try Spoonplugs for salt water but the hooks that come with them are nowhere near strong enough.

Does anybody know if puting stronger/heavier hooks on them will alter the action or performance of the the lures? Thanks in advance.
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Postby dahlberg » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:00 pm

hi b
no prob, they run like army tanks.
best,
L
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Postby Tubakka » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:55 pm

Hey Mr. dahlberg,
You've been all around the world fishing for different species. I don't know how actively you employ the spoonplugs [never seen them on the show...did you catch John Bales on Mark Zona's show the other day using spoonplugs? That's my buddy!@]. I was wondering if you've used them to any effect on some exotic species...tiger fish, nile perch...I bet a magnum sized model would be GREAT for nile perch [think about 10 inches long...] They used to make a musky model but it was discontinued...I know a few guys are trying to resurrect it with all the new attention to musky angling with spoonplugs...let me know what you have done. I'm very intrigued to their international application. Afterall..."a fish is a fish is a fish..."
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Postby dahlberg » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:52 am

Hey guys,
I first fished spoonplugs in the late 1960's. I have literally thousands of hours on the water doing what most would call spoonplugging.
I used to talk with Buck Perry frequently on the telephone.
First, spoonplugs of and unto themselves are not any magic lure. Buck would chuckle and shake his head if he read this forum.
I think old Buck would say, "You're missin the point." And it isn't about the spoonplugs.
They are simply a set of lures that when fished with a given diameter of low stretch line at a given distance from the boat will run at consistant and predictable depths at a wide variety of speed. Their primary design purpose was to make frequent bottom contact.
Their design reflects cold calculated hydrodynamic function without the slightest regard to imitating anything that's ever been or will be created in nature.
An angler equipped with all the sizes and an extra reel loaded with 7 strand wire (buck used 20#) can bottom bump contours from a couple of feet all the way down to 60' or more.
That being said, there are many other diving lures that can be used in the same manner as spoonplugs. A main criteria is that they operate well at a wide, and I mean WIDE variety of speeds. In my view, in many if not most cases the right one is more effective than a spoon plug because they are available in a wider variety of sizes, look more realistic etc.
There are also other methods (like snap jigging and 3-way rigging) for rapidly but accurately covering contours as well, which in some cases work better than spoonplugging.
Buck's greatest contibution was the introduction of structure fishing and general fish movement and behaviour. It's unlikely any other angler will ever make as great a contribution to the sport. He could be considered our Einstein.
His spoon plug was an ingeniously simple and inexpensive way to make a fishing tool that could be used to execute his theory.
best,
L
Last edited by dahlberg on Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Brad S » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:51 pm

Larry

Now you "let the cat out of the bag" can you tell us the names of some "diving lures that operate at a wide variety of speeds", yet run at a "consistent and predictable depth" like spoon plugs?

I have the book "Precision Trollin" 8th edition, but the speeds discussed in the book are from 1-3 mph.

I'm somewhat familar with 3-way rigging and understand that with the same amt of line, weight and speed you could discover bottom counters by tapping the bottom but if you increase speed, the 3 way will rise, and what do you use on the 3rd swivel? Could you give us a quick tutorial?

What do you mean by snap jigging?

Thank you very, very much for all the great info. Even at 60 yrs old this is still exciting, planning and preparing for the upcoming fishing season.

Brad
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Postby dahlberg » Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:00 pm

hi brad,
Really, there are so many it would be impossible to mention. Ticking bottom with a lure is the only way I know to tell how deep it's running.
Sometimes, at higher speeds you have to do a little tuning, but most "deep diving crankbaits" today will perform well at high speeds.
You have to experiment to learn.
Snap jigging is a technique shown to me by a friend named Griz. It involves forward trolling with a jig and length of line out that's just long enough with the weight jig you have on, that when you drop your rod back the jig hits bottom, then you snap it forward and again quickly drop the rod back. again snap it so the jig skips off the bottom. I've done it using jig weights from 1/4 oz up to 16 onces at several miles per hour in 60 feet of water for lakers.
When your 3 way rises too much because of speed increase, you either add weight or let out a little more line, or both.
I sometimes use 32 ounces with dodgers. I use mono and a round lead ball or sash weight.
best,
L
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