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Spooks Video

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Spooks can be awesome fish catchers.

The right way to work them is to keep the rod tip low and bump the plug (sweep) to get the zig zag going. This technique is better suited to rods less than 9’.

Longer rods will wear you down fast doing this.

You can get the same effect (zig  zag) with longer rods working the spook like a pencil popper. At that point I’d rather just use pencil.

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27 mins ago, LowEnd said:

The right way to work them is to keep the rod tip low and bump the plug (sweep) to get the zig zag going. This technique is better suited to rods less than 9’.

Longer rods will wear you down fast doing this.

You can get the same effect (zig  zag) with longer rods working the spook like a pencil popper. At that point I’d rather just use pencil.

While a low rod tip is definitely preferred, it’s not required - sorta. If we’re talking large spooks from the surf (docs, jackhammers, etc) you can work them with a longer stick & higher rod tip from the beginning of your retrieve to about 2/3 of the way in, when the line angle is relatively low. As the plug gets closer, dropping the rod tip some will help to maintain the proper plug action. Respectfully, the spook & pencil are completely different plugs - the spooks side to side glide will draw strikes when other plugs won’t. The smaller versions really shine in quiet backwaters where a pencil would create too much commotion IMHO. 

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On 5/28/2022 at 9:28 PM, vinnyb said:

While a low rod tip is definitely preferred, it’s not required - sorta. If we’re talking large spooks from the surf (docs, jackhammers, etc) you can work them with a longer stick & higher rod tip from the beginning of your retrieve to about 2/3 of the way in, when the line angle is relatively low. As the plug gets closer, dropping the rod tip some will help to maintain the proper plug action. Respectfully, the spook & pencil are completely different plugs - the spooks side to side glide will draw strikes when other plugs won’t. The smaller versions really shine in quiet backwaters where a pencil would create too much commotion IMHO. 

This is exactly how I do it with a 10.5 or 11 foot rod. One thing I’ll add, like a lot of plugs a varried retrieve will illicit a strike. In the surf Or rocks my first method is always to yank the rod tip hard and reel fast making it over exaggerate the zig zag and pause for a second and on the pause is when I’ll get hit a lot. Or just crank it fast and erratically with no pause. Then I’ll retrieve it pencilled. Then I’ll do a slow gentle retrieve with longer pauses. It’s crazy sometimes how small a fish will hit a nine inch spook. I got a nice 20 pounder once by just letting the doc bounce off the rocks at my feet for a good two or three minutes when I saw fish yet they were finicky. This was dead sticked.

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5 hours ago, Reed422 said:

One thing I’ll add, like a lot of plugs a varried retrieve will illicit a strike. In the surf Or rocks my first method is always to yank the rod tip hard and reel fast making it over exaggerate the zig zag and pause for a second and on the pause is when I’ll get hit a lot. Or just crank it fast and erratically with no pause. Then I’ll retrieve it pencilled. Then I’ll do a slow gentle retrieve with longer pauses. It’s crazy sometimes how small a fish will hit a nine inch spook. I got a nice 20 pounder once by just letting the doc bounce off the rocks at my feet for a good two or three minutes when I saw fish yet they were finicky. This was dead sticked.

Good stuff & no doubt that experimenting with retrieves can/will raise fish when the traditional retrieves aren’t producing. You also brought up a great point which is essential to effectively working a spook IMO - the pause. I pause intermittently during my retrieve & it’s amazing how often I get smashed just as the plug starts to move after the pause. Or instead of a full stop/pause I’ll sometimes slowly wake the plug & that can be effective too. 

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29 mins ago, vinnyb said:

Good stuff & no doubt that experimenting with retrieves can/will raise fish when the traditional retrieves aren’t producing. You also brought up a great point which is essential to effectively working a spook IMO - the pause. I pause intermittently during my retrieve & it’s amazing how often I get smashed just as the plug starts to move after the pause. Or instead of a full stop/pause I’ll sometimes slowly wake the plug & that can be effective too. 

Every time I get clobbered on the pause I’m surprised it hit at rest. The best spook lately for me is the unweighted sluggo and the 9” doc of course.

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Dave Anderson’s SJ video is the best I’ve seen. Jack Sprengel a close second and there’s no right or wrong rod angle.    It depends on current, surf or chop and what you’re trying to do with it.  You also don’t really need to go crazy jerking the rod. I prefer throwing the big ones on a 11’ and chop the reel handle in 1/2 turns with a little rod tip action. 

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I tend to favor a shorter surf rod for spooks if casting from shore. A 9 or 9.5 foot rod allows me to work the plug more efficiently without wearing myself out. I have worked them with 10 and 11 foot rods, but would stick with a shorter rod if I had the option. If you are new to spooks, it is worth it to spend some time when you are not actively fishing (between tides or after the bite is over) getting use to how to work them correctly.

 

Basically I cast it out and start working it as soon as it hits the water. To get it walking, you use the rod tip to impart the action. Sort of snapping the rod tip back like you would for working a popper. Difference is that for walking a spook, after you snap the rod tip, you want to throw just a little slack in the line. This gives it a little more freedom to move. So basically, snap the rod tip back, then drop the rod tip forward a little, then repeat. Simply put, the plug is worked by twitching the rod to get the plug to go side to side like a fleeing baitfish. The action can be modified depending on how quickly you twitch the rod, and whether you use short, hard twitches, or long, soft twitches. In either case, throwing a little slack at the plug after the twitch will allow it to glide side to side easier. Work the plug faster if you are targeting bluefish, slower if you are targeting stripers. Those are the basics.

 

I prefer to work the plug with the rod to the side and slightly down, though, as noted above, sometimes you will want to work it with the rod tip up. When using the rod to the side, I brace the rod by placing the butt and rear grip along my arm. If I need to work it with the rod tip up, on a shorter rod, I bend my knee a little and place the butt of the rod on my upper thigh. With a longer rod, you can place the butt of the rod between your thighs like you would work a pencil.

The main time I work them with the rod tip up is if I am working a seam in moving water. Similar to how you would work a pencil on a seam, I’ll have the rod tip up and just bump the rod tip back and forth to get the spook walking. Depending on the current and where you placed your cast, you may be able to work the spook with just the rod and never touch the reel. Just let the current keep the line tight. This can be deadly with the current moving side to side relative to where you are standing. The spook is hanging on the edge of the seam like a struggling bait. With larger waves or moving water that may put slack in your line, I will often switch to working them with the rod tip up.

 

Most often when I use this plug I am mixing up the retrieve. By this I mean, start the retrieve with a few quick twitches of the rod tip in a more aggressive manner, and then switch up for a few feet with a slower, more subtle rod tip action. I might also add a pause in the retrieve and let the plug sit motionless for a few seconds, and then start working it again (more often work them this way at night). You can work it a few feet, pause it, then work it a few feet, pause, until the plug is the whole way in. The plug can also be slow waked on top to create a V-wake (sort of how you might work a stubby needle at night). I often do this if a fish blows up on the plug, but misses. After the blow up, start waking the spook for a few feet, then start walking it again. And yes, you can use them just like you would a stubby needle if you have the need for such a plug and do not have one with you. The key for working a spook is to mix up the action during the retrieve. A lot of the hits will come right when the plug changes action. Since the plug is a topwater plug, you can watch the action and often see how the fish are reacting to it. If you see a fish following, but not hitting, try speeding up the retrieve, or working the spook more erratically for a few seconds like a baitfish that senses the predator behind it and is trying to escape. Stripers just hate that! Some days they want the plug just moving along at a steady pace, but most days it's the change up that gets them to commit. Vary the retrieve to see what they want that day.

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In the past couple of years if found it quite effective to work pencil poppers like one would work a spook, rather than the it's more conventionally thought of action.

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