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Bunker Spoon Instructions
by Capt Andy LoCascio host of Northeast Angling TV and Team Triton/Mercury member
 
Striped Bass FishingAfter a full season of using Secret Spoons spoons in depths from 20-80ft, we really feel like we have a great understanding of what it takes to be effective on the tournament trail.  We started of last in May in the relatively shallow waters of Raritan Bay, NJ.  I have to say I learned a lot and was able to apply what I learned for a fairly impressive finish in the first FLW event of the season.  The FLW events are "artificial only" (no bait), and nearly everyone was pulling spoons.  Team Triton/Mercury ended up 8th in a field of 60 boats and we caught loads of fish on the spoons.  We were just one fish away from winning everything.  The tournament is a "slot limit" tournament and only fish between 28-34inches are allowed.  We caught fish on the spoons that were up to 40lbs! (Unfortunately too big for the event).
 
Our Gear
We were using 8ft Shimano TLC-W80MHA wire rods and Shimano Tekota 700 reels. The reels were loaded with 40lb monel wire marked every 50ft.  Our wire was attached to a 10ft long 80lb test Yo-Zuri Disappearing Pink Fluorocarbon leader using an Albright knot.  The leader was tied directly to the swivel on the spoon.  The Albright knot was just small enough to fit through the level-wind on the reel. 
 
Dealing with the depth and the bluefish in Raritan Bay, NJ
Raritan Bay, NJ is fairly shallow, and the fish we were targeting were in 20-23ft of depth.  The most effective speed was between 3.1mph and 3.8mph on the GPS.  We always trolled cross current to ensure that our spoon depth was not affected by the current and our presentation was optimal.  We were using outrodders for this event.  This meant that the tips of our rods were only 2ft off the water.  In these depths we usually had less than 100ft of wire out. At this speed our spoons were actually running at least 18ft deep.  This is an incredible sink rate of 1.8ft per 10ft of wire!  We kept our spoons tight to the bottom to stay away from the bluefish.  The short wire also meant that the fish were brought to the boat very quickly and had little chance to get off.  We also took advantage of the short wire to execute some very sharp turns that allowed us to stay on the fish when we found them. 
 
Our Spoon Choices
The water was so dirty that only white, chrome, and chartreuse spoons were effective.  We changed all our hooks to either 9/0 Mustad Double hooks or 9/0 Mustad Trebles.  The bottom was relatively forgiving and even though we hung the spoons a few times, we got them all back by pulling directly over them and lifting straight up.  We did lose a couple of weights because we forgot to check the screws.  We have now added a couple of drops of 2-part epoxy to all the screws.
 
Virginia Beach FLW finals
After s great season of using the bunker spoons of my charter boat and on the show, we finished up at the fall FLW finals held in Virginia Beach.  The field was loaded with local boats and we really had our work cut out for us.  We caught too many big fish on the spoons to count and ended up weighing two 34" inch fish (the maximum size allowed in the event).  We finished 5th and were the only non-local boat in the top ten.  We missed the win by just under two pounds.  The water was very clear and loaded with large 3-5" peanut bunker.  There were thousands of birds and school size fish that kept everyone but us occupied.  The big Secret Spoons ensured that anything we caught was larger than 28" (the minimum size) and really let us focus on catching tournament quality fish.  The fluke spoon produced the most fish, but the white and chartreuse bunker spoons were also effective.   
 
Our technique
Basically we made repeated passes through any area where we marked fish.  The best concentrations of bass were near the channel edges, but on the shallow side of the edges.  Sometimes the fish only wanted the spoons from one direction and when we marked them and didn't catch, we would run back over the same spot from the other direction and we caught every time! 
 
Overall we were all very impressed with the spoons.  I have to admit that we really struggled the first day until we got them figured out.  We did get better and better every day.  We also used several other brands of bunker spoons, and though most caught fish, the Secret Spoons out fished them 3:1 and we were able to use much less wire.  We plan on spending a lot of time pulling these spoons this year and they are now an integral part of our tournament gear!
 
I hope this helps any of you bunker spoon fishermen.  Feel free to contact me with any questions at andyl@neangling.com
 
     
 
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Secret Spoons - Striper Fishing Bunker Spoons - Striped Bass Fishing