AZ Lakes AZ Pros John Murray

Give Spoons A Try This Summer At Pleasant

AZ Lakes AZ Pros John Murray
John Murray

When the weather heats up and the fish quit chasing reaction baits, John Murray starts using a spoon, especially at Lake Pleasant. “Spoons will catch everything in the lake,” says Murray, “including not just bass but stripers, whites, crappie, and even catfish.” The beauty of spoons is that you can fish them on almost any structure.

Murray likes white spoons, and he likes to have feathers on the hooks. For deep summer fishing, he usually chooses a jigging spoon like a Crippled Herring and changes the hooks out to wide gap Owners or Gamakatsu’s.

He’s A Wonder!

Ever since I’ve known John (and he was a kid when we met!), he’s been an absolute wonder at reading electronics. He was the first guy I ever knew who had a paper graph back in the day when the rest of us were still using flashers!

He starts graphing while he’s still at the ramp, looking for how deep the shad or the thermocline is. The bass, he says, will be within five feet of that. Once he’s got the depth, he can program his graph to show him structure that intersects that depth. It’s pretty magical.

Guess What Happens

“A spoon is as good a structure bait as a worm is,” Murray says. The beauty of it is that you can fish it a lot faster than a worm, and it’s easier to get the fish hooked, too. He likes to cast a big spoon out and rip it back to the boat in summer. Hot weather fish don’t really eat the bait, he says – they just get agitated and swipe at it. But swipe at a treble hook and guess what happens!

You will probably get a lot of fish that aren’t hooked well in summer so a fast reel will help you there – jerk up quickly and reel fast so you can take up line and get it taut enough to set the hook. Almost all of the bites will come as the spoon falls after you rip it or lift it. You may not feel anything – the spoon just won’t fall. Set the hook!

Watch You Line

Watching your line is key. If you get a bow in the line when you know you’re not on the bottom, set the hook. He says if the fish are just nipping at it and not getting hooked, change colors or lighten the bait.

The key to catching them on a spoon is to make sure that when it drops after lifting or ripping, the line is good and slack so the spoon can do its wobble action. He’ll go close to the dam or on the cliffs and drop down to the fish, then rip it up hard before killing it and letting it flutter down.

Great Catches At Pleasant

If there are trees or brush, he’ll sometimes put a spoon inside a white tube bait to slow it down and give it a better profile. If he gets snagged, he’ll just tighten up on the line then let it go slack, and it will usually fall right off the snag.

We’ve had great catches on the various cliffs and bluffs at Pleasant, and also on the underwater humps. Just keep your eyes on the graph and when you see them, drop a spoon down. On a lot of graphs, you can actually see the fish and even the spoon! Give them a try this summer!


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