TECHNIQUE // BY DAN JOHNSON SPOON SAVVY igging spoons have long been deadly weapons for icing everything from walleyes to panfish. While a handful of classic designs have produced banner catches since the dawn of the Ice Age, recent industry expansions offer options in profile, color and presentation like never before—making it easier than ever to tailor spoons to virtually any ice fishing situation. Case in point—the arrival of Clam Outdoors’ new Blade, Bomb and Speed Spoons, a trio of heavy metal standouts available in a variety of colors and sizes. “They offer three distinct profiles,” says northern Minnesota guide Matt Breuer, who plies Lake Bemidji and a string of remote backwoods waters in Minnesota. The Blade Spoon’s diamond-shaped design slices swiftly on the upstroke, then flutters randomly on the fall. “It produces a classic side-to-side, wiggling flutter that’s perfect for aggressive fish,” Breuer says. “It’s my first strike for walleyes. Tipped with a minnow head — hooked through the bottom of the jaw and out the top — I can jig it aggressively to attract fish from a wide area.” In contrast, he says the chunky, apple-shaped Bomb Spoon shines for pounding presentations for walleyes, sauger, perch and even eelpout. “Tip it with a minnow head or bunch of eurolarvae and bang it on bottom to imitate a baitfish digging insects out of the mud,” he says. Finally, the slender Speed Spoon drops fast and, thanks to its chain dropper and epoxy trailer, is an ideal closer when curious fish idle in but won’t strike. “The chain lets you gently swing baits off to the side,” he says. For tough bites with perch and tullibees, Breuer takes the dropper concept to new lengths, swapping out a Blade Spoon’s treble for a 12-inch, 4-pound-test fluorocarbon tether, capped by a Clam Duckbill Drop jig and Maki softbait or larvae. “The Duckbill’s near-horizontal attitude and swimming action complement the spoon’s vertical profile and flash,” Breuer says. Living Colors Years of connecting clients with walleyes, perch and other species on the sprawling, Minnesota/Ontario border’s Rainy Lake have taught Chris Granrud of RainyDaze Guide Service a thing or two about jigging spoon color selection. “People love firetiger, because it looks good to them,” he begins. “But you’ll trick more fish — especially the biggest, baddest ones down there — by keeping it real.” On Rainy, that means toggling between colorations that mimic ciscoes and shiners in deep-water haunts, and perch patterns in shallower weeds. “Clam’s Silver Tiger and Glow Rainbow are great deep-water colors,” he says, adding that the company’s Glow Chartreuse Tiger does a fine job imitating perch. Granrud encourages clients to pay similar attention to detail in all areas of their spooning presentations. “Little things mean a lot,” he says. “For example, watching how your lure reacts to various jigstrokes in the hole — before you make that first drop — is critical if you want to know what’s going on when a fish moves in.” Tippings are also key. “I cut minnows in half, then run one tine of a Blade Spoon’s treble inside the mouth and out the top of the head,” he says, explaining that such rigging produces a wider hook gap, for better hooksets, and keeps the JAN 14 << ICE TEAM.COM Insider secrets on jigging spoon styles, colors and presentations J bait in place during vigorous jigging. He cautions against leaving the air bladder intact when tipping with minnow heads, because it causes the head to float, thus spoiling the sleight of hand. “One last tip: use a scissors to slice the minnow’s body into three sections once the head’s hooked up,” he adds. “You’ll get better action and more scent.” On mighty Leech Lake in Minnesota, veteran guide Jeff “Jiggy” Andersen of Leisure Outdoor Adventures offers a slick tipping trick for spooning up jumbo perch. “Once you get the school fired up, it’s critical to get the spoon back down fast after you catch a fish,” he says. “I use a Clam Speed Spoon, which has 13