Of Days Gone By – Vertical Jigging Spoons

1969 Hopkins Stainless Steel Lures ad

It’s approaching winter in many parts of the country, and for many bassers, that means it’s time to pull out the heavy metal. I ran across this 1969 ad for Hopkins Spoons the other day, and it got me reminiscing of days gone by. While heavy metal ‘slab’ spoons have made a big comeback in recent years as a deep water structure go-to lure, it’s the larger ‘flutter’ spoons designed to be cast long distances and retrieved with long, sweeping rod strokes getting all the attention. More compact vertical jigging spoons like the Hopkins, Cordell C.C., or the Mann’s Mann-O-Lure, on the other hand, are meant to be dropped straight below the boat, or only slightly pitched off to the side, then snapped repeatedly in a rhythmic pattern.

Thinking back to some of the old B.A.S.S. pros who made these lures famous, I’m reminded of names like Randy Fite (Mann’s), Jack Chancellor (Jack’s jigging spoon), and Blake Honeycutt (Hopkins). Randy had a great Bob Cobb hosted Bassmasters TV episode where he demonstrated vertical spoon jigging for winter bass. Jack was an old river rat that structure fished using both his Do-Nothing worm, as well as a jigging spoon to win the 1985 Bassmaster Classic. And Blake was from Hickory, North Carolina, also home to Buck Perry whom Blake fished with frequently. None other than Roland Martin credits Blake with bringing the Hopkins Spoon to freshwater bassing, and Blake used the Hopkins to catch loads of bass, and win many a tournament. Roland did to, and I found this excerpt from a story on Roland’s first professional  B.A.S.S. tournament.

“We got to his first spot, and he was piddling around with a jig, well I had a jig and four Hopkin’s spoons tied on like I used at home. He went over a school that I saw on his depthfinder, and I dropped my spoon. Before he knew it I had four or five fish flopping on the bottom of his boat, and before he could finish getting a spoon from me, I had my limit.”

Hopkins Lures was started back in 1948-49 by R.L. Hopkins, and was largely seen as a saltwater player at the time. Smaller versions of their spoons, like the introduction of the 1/2S in the ad, were instrumental in making the crossover popularity to fresh water anglers, along with their use by East Coast freshwater anglers like Blake. Today, they are still manufactured and assembled here in the USA.

So who here still has these metal slab baits in their tackle boxes, and which brands do you carry with you these days?