Trolling Bunker spoons
Just like trolling any kind of lure many variables are present. Wind direction & current effect the speed and
depth of your spoon. The weight of the lure & the diameter of the line effect how fast you should be going.
The depth of the water and the structure of the bottom effect how deep you can go. Trolling bunker spoons
and catching striped bass put you in check for all of these. So here is a recipe to help you manage these
conditions and catch fish.
I recommend a 5/0 rod & reel spooled with 300 yards of 30 or 40 lb mono topped off with 150 feet of 30 lb
wire. Connect the wire to the mono using a small barrel swivel at least 50 lb test. Be sure the swivel is
small enough to run through the leads in your rod smoothly. Attach the wire to the swivel using a haywire
twist (simply twist the wire 10 or 15 times with the swivel end. Be sure that the end of the twisted wire is
flush with the line, so the swivel will not snare on debris or the rod leads.
The business end of the wire should have a 100 lb swivel twisted on, followed by an 8 to 12 foot 60 lb
mono or flourocarbon leader. The end of the leader should have a 100 lb snap-swivel which you will use to
attach the bunker spoon.
When choosing the spoon at the tackle store you will usually find 2 different types. One is brand named
"reliable" and offers a 6 oz lead keel that can be adjusted for different conditions. The other does not offer a
keel and has a free swinging hook rather than the screwed down hook on the "reliable". Either spoon
catches fish but the "reliable" offers a little more control than the others. I have also caught LESS bluefish
using the "reliable", because the nature of the spoon has less minute action and more sweep, which is targeted
Find a place to start trolling for striped bass. This is almost any inshore or river channel or rock pile. Your
speed should be set between 3 and 5 mph, or as slow as your boat can go. The slower the boat, the deeper
the spoon will run. Adhere to other rules of trolling regarding turning, marking strikes on your GPS, and
negotiating the boat when landing a fish.
Let the spoon out while the boat is stopped and out of gear. Allow the spoon to sink about 15 feet deep,
then put the boat in gear. As you move, feed the wire out by hand so there is no tension on the spoon. Let
out all 150 feet of wire, until the swivel attached to the mono is past the rod tip and about halfway between
the tip and the water surface. This is the marker you will use to adjust the amount of line you will have out.
Adjust the drag on the reel to about 5 to 8 lbs of pressure, or so that the spoon does not pull out any line.
When a bunker spoon is set out correctly the rod will take on a steady pumping action. This means the
spoon is making 5 to 10 foot sweeps in the water. If a bunker spoon becomes fouled with debris or seaweed
then it will come to the surface. So make sure you keep a constant eye on the rod, for the pumping action,
and at the surface behind the boat, to see if the spoon is fouled.