Don’t look now, but the Fourth of July is just around the corner, less than two weeks away as this is written.
And believe it or not, despite area water temperatures surging into the mid and upper 80s on many lakes, the chance to catch a big largemouth bass — a Texas sized lunker, in fact — can still exist if you’re on the right water.
That much seemed apparent a few days ago when I took a look at Lake Fork guide James Caldemeyer’s Facebook page, one that showed an early June blitz of big bass that fell for what the Gilmer resident calls “hub caps,” otherwise known as giant Ben Parker Magnum Flutter Spoons.
“Going BIG right now at Lake Fork,” noted Caldemeyer (www.officiallakeforktrophybass.com; 903-736-9888). “The big bass are hungry and eating some big baits!”
In case you’re wondering, these are flashy hunks of heavy metal, weighing in at 3.5 ounces, measuring some eight inches in length and costing around $19.99 each.
As Caldemeyer noted, this isn’t finesse fishing. But then again, the multiple photos of 5-8 pound bass that Caldemeyer and his client boated that day weren’t little guys either.
As I’ve written in this space before, my longtime friend Kelly Jordon, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Major League Fishing veteran who lives in Flint, Texas, is a huge fan of the flutter spoon technique during the sizzling heat of summer.
He should be since he helped pioneer the use of such flutter spoons a number of years ago, taking what he thought was a lure primarily useful in the dead of winter, and finding out that those same baits could actually hammer big groups of offshore fish holding to structure when the summertime heat is on.
For a long while, Jordon was content to keep the secret to himself. Until he needed a tournament fishing miracle, that is, as Outdoor Channel television cameras looked on.
For that, allow me to let Ronnie Parker, the head man of Lake Fork Trophy Lures company (www.lftlures.com) down in Emory, Texas, take over the story.
“He caught something like 20-(plus) pounds (of bass) in eight and a half minutes on Ultimate Match Fishing while fishing a flutter spoon (one time),” said Parker, whose tackle company makes the well known Lake Fork Flutter Spoon. “It was known for a long time as the best eight and a half minutes of fishing footage ever filmed.”
Jordon doesn’t disagree, even if he might ruefully wish that he could put the proverbial cat back in the bag.
“Yeah, it was one of my deals (back then) and I didn’t show (it to) anybody,” said Jordon, a winner of four B.A.S.S. events, one FLW Tour event, and one MLF Challenge Cup. “I didn’t talk to anybody (about it) or give them a spoon (to try). I thought ‘I’ll keep this quiet because at times, it rocked the world.’”
But there came that fateful day on Kentucky Lake when Jordon needed a miraculous comeback as he fished against Boyd Duckett in Ultimate Match Fishing competition.
You know, Boyd Duckett the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion, the co-founder of Major League Fishing, the owner of Duckett Fishing rods and reels, and Jordon’s good friend.
“When I got to Ultimate Match Fishing with that, I got on this group of fish and that was the only way that I could catch them,” lamented Jordon. “I couldn’t catch them cranking, I couldn’t catch them stroll casting. It was the first time I’ve seen deep bass that wouldn’t bite a crankbait. But they wouldn’t.”
But he discovered — as the television cameras recorded the action for the bass fishing world to see — that they would bite a flutter spoon.
“When they’re on it, they’re on it,” said Jordon, a nine-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, who discovered the technique years ago during his days as a Lake Fork guide. “When they’re not, they’re not. But if they are on it and you can catch them, it’s lights out.”
For KJ, the only professional angler to ever win top level Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour, and Major League Fishing titles, the time to use flutter spoons on lunker factories like Fork, Toledo Bend, and Sam Rayburn is as spring starts to melt into summer.
“That’s when you can start trying to throw it,” he says of the post-spawn period. “Usually, when they really get set up offshore in the summertime, in Texas, maybe mid-June or so, that’s when the spoon bite can start to get hot.”
As the summer deepens and temperatures approach triple digit readings in July, that’s when the technique can really come into its own.
“That’s when you can really hammer them,” said Jordon.
For KJ, the right tackle set-up for this technique is a big Joe Spaits flutter spoon tied onto 17-20 pound fluorocarbon line that is coupled to a strong baitcasting reel and a 7’6” medium heavy Duckett Micro Magic White Ice rod that is specifically designed to cast the bait, sweep it off the bottom, and fight a fish successfully back to the boat.
Once he has lobbed the flutter spoon out to a school of fish hanging around offshore structure, Jordon will fish the bait one of three different ways: by using short hops off the bottom; by ripping the flutter spoon up off the bottom and through a school of fish; or by swimming it much as he would a swim jig.
Where does he look to fish a flutter spoon in the summertime?
“Anywhere there’s fish,” he laughed. “It doesn’t have to necessarily be deep. It works great deep (though) and that’s one of the things that is so good about it, it’s one of those baits that you can effectively fish deep.
“We’re talking about deep as in 18, 20, 25, or even 30 feet of water,” he added, noting that he’ll also use it in water 10 to 12-feet deep if that is warranted. “And you can fish it pretty fast (too). There’s not a lot of baits that you can fish that deep (and fast). But that’s one of them.”
If this sounds like a lot of work on a hot summer’s day, perhaps. But then again, the payoff can be some sizzling bass fishing action, both in terms of numbers and quality.
“Everybody on the Elite Series knows now that if you can get them to go on the spoon, you’ve got to do it,” said Jordon. “When you’re cranking a ledge in the summertime on a variety of lakes, if you throw a spoon in there, you’re going to catch the biggest one in that school right off the bat. And that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
The guess here is that if you’re a weekend warrior like I am, you’re hoping for similar results too, red hot bass fishing for Texas sized lunkers in the depths of a Lone Star State summer season.
Even if the action is never going to be shown on Outdoor Channel for all of the world to see.