World’s Biggest Fish-Catching Bait – North Texas e-News

Last week I was in the middle of Lake Ray Hubbard fishing with guide Brandon Sargent, the Lead Slinger’s Guide service. We were depositing bait directly under the boat and kept busy hooking and placing on the ice one white bass after another. The capture was about as good as it gets for about 30 minutes, then the action suddenly stopped. About 75 meters away, on the perfectly calm surface of the water, a huge school of “whites” had pushed the shad to the surface, the water was foaming!

We used the same very versatile bait to continue catching fish within a few feet of the surface. Which bait, you might ask, is well suited to catching fish deep in the water column and near the surface as well? It’s the lead spoon or “slab” as we call the bait here in Texas. A much lighter variant of the metal “spoon”, the plate is of solid lead, brightly painted with a treble hook at one end and an eye for attaching line at the other. For catching white bass, half an ounce to three-quarter ounce are most popular, but when streak fishing in windy conditions, heavier slabs are often used.

Spoons are used worldwide in a wide variety of styles and weights to catch an assortment of fish, both freshwater and saltwater species. Because they can be “tailored” differently to suit the situation, they are deadly fish-catchers when presented correctly. I’ve caught bass in Japan using vertical jigging with a small light metal spoon and northern pike in Canada using big flashy spoons. Game fish earn their living by eating baitfish and the spoons or slabs, when properly presented by the angler, perfectly mimic injured baitfish and trigger strikes.

The spoons or their close cousin the lead (slab) spoon that we fish here in Texas catches fish from all over the world. Luke is pictured with a large Saskatchewan ‘eater’ sized pike caught on a Five of Diamonds spoon; a ‘go to’ bait in the Far North. photo by Phil Zimmerman

On this recent trip with Sargent, we were vertically jigging the bait near the bottom when the fish were deep and on the surface when pushing the shallow bait. The same lures that worked well on deeper fish prove deadly on surface feeders when presented with a different retrieve. We made long casts by holding the rod tip high and jerking the rod to bounce the bait close to the surface.

When the white bass were feeding on schools of shad near the bottom, we watched the sonar and most of the hits occurred as the fish followed the bait rising towards the surface. Several fish would be attracted to what they thought was an injured baitfish near the bottom, but they would usually not strike until the bait had been “ripped” through the water column. It is practically impossible to retrieve the bait too quickly.

White bass and all shoaling species in open water thin out quickly and on several occasions we have observed fast moving baits being pinned down by increasingly fast moving white bass. On this recent trip we landed not only limits of white bass but also freshwater drum (white meat fish which is great to eat). Phil Zimmerman even caught a nice sized flathead catfish while bouncing off the slab near the bottom and in one spot there was a shoal of river catfish feeding below the shoal of blanks. They hugged the bottom and scooped up the crippled shad under the white bass feed bench.

Yes, looking back on my many years as an angler, I can thank the lure known as the “spoon” for some exciting catches. I well remember fishing a very remote cove in a lake on a fly in Saskatchewan and casting a spoon called Five of Diamonds close to shore in crystal clear waters. I gave the rod a few jerks and pulled the lure into deeper water and noticed a dark shape heading straight for her. I found myself firmly hooked up to the biggest fish landed that week, a northern pike just over forty inches long!

Plants to know

I’m about to tell you about some “new” plants that I recently heard about that require almost no cultivation and are very tasty. I was visiting Billy and Sharon Kilpatrick at their Colquhoun farms near Leonard, TX and they showed me some great plant covered areas. One was the Egyptian onions and the other, with much taller plants, the Jerusalem artichokes.

First the ‘Walking Onions’; these plants form both underground and aerial onions and once planted they spread rapidly. The small onions formed on the top of the stalk above the ground are about the size of a clove of garlic and when fully grown their weight caused the stalk to fall to the ground where the onions take quickly root and start another plant, hence the name ‘Walking Onions. They taste a bit spicier than sweet onions but I love the taste.

Jerusalem artichokes are not artichokes at all but rather tubers that grow underground and are, to my taste, tastier than potatoes. The tubers grow all spring and summer and ripen in the fall. After consulting a few of my wildlife biologist buddies, I learned that deer like to eat both heads and roots.

Colquhoun Farms is currently shipping “starts” of walking onions and taking orders for tubers this fall. I have already planted both species on my property and we plan to start artichokes on several food plots this fall. Both of these plants would be ideal for planting around the house or at a hunting lease. Once established, they will always be available for a quick meal of tubers and fried onions! I recently cooked venison steak in a cast iron skillet with butter and added both these onions and the sliced ​​tubers of the artichokes. The result was one of the tastiest meals I can remember! For more information or to order these plants, write to

Watch this week, “The Life of a Sportsman” on Carbon TV to watch a video highlighting these two amazing plants and the people who grow them.

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