A spoon lure, in sport fishing, is an oblong, usually concave lure, usually of metal or shell, shaped like the bowl of a spoon. The spoon lure is mainly used to attract fish by reflecting light and moving randomly. It was invented by Julio T. Buel in about 1848.
The design of the spoon lure is simple: an oblong, concave metal piece with a shiny chrome or paint finish and a single or treble hook on the end. While the basic principle of design has stayed the same over the years, application and use have changed somewhat. In its beginning, the spoon was used simply to cast and retrieve. However, as trolling motors have become popular on fishing boats, a new version of the classic was invented.
This new breed of lure was nothing more than a duplicate of the traditional casting spoon, but made with thinner material. Using a trolling motor, fishermen could cover a wider expanse of water, increasing the chances for a successful day. Using split shots or other forms of weights, fishermen could easily zero into their fishing lures' depth while running at the proper speed. Armed with the ability to cover more area, average fishermen could take their spoon lures to any body of water, without full knowledge of the underwater geography that is key to catching some species of fish. The regular casting spoon (heavier version) is used primarily by fishermen who already know the water and what lies beneath. The angler, anchoring the boat 10 to 20 feet behind the area where the fish are believed to be, can cast the spoon beyond this point and retrieve through the given strike zone.
Fish use their lateral line system to follow the vortices produced by fleeing prey, and the oscillating movements of the spoon lure can be a good way to imitate these. Spoon lures with mirror finishes can be additionally effective when the sun is at a sharp angle to the water in the mornings or evenings, cause a glint of reflective sunlight that mimics the flash of white-bellied prey fish. Different color variations and materials can be added to the classic spoon lure may also help catch fish. Silver- or gold-plated or dyed finishes can give the lure a more vibrant or brilliant appearance.