Spoonbill -- otherwise known as paddlefish -- can be caught in U.S. states ranging from northeast Montana to southern Louisiana. The fish are filter-feeders, and don't actively seek out baited hooks or strike at lures. Fishing for spoonbill consists of making casts in areas where the fish normally congregate, and attempting to snag one with a large, treble hook. A spoonbill snagging-rig requires strong knots, but the knots are easy to tie.
A Spoonbill Rig
Bend the eye of a treble hook with a pair of pliers. Bend the eye far enough to allow the fishing line to pass through the eye of the hook, and continue straight down the shank without curving. Less bend is required for large hooks. Use the largest hook-size allowed by state regulations.
Cut a 36-inch length of fishing line. Push one end of the fishing line through the eye of the hook. Pull 15-inches of line through and along the shank of the hook.
Tie a snell-knot around the shank of the hook with the 15 inches of line. The tag-end of the line should hang below the bend of the hook.
Tie a bell sinker to the tag-end of the line below the hook. Tie the sinker with a clinch knot, adjusting it so the sinker is suspended approximately 4 inches under the hook. The size of the sinker depends on the water depth and speed of the current. Sinkers from 1-to-4 oz. are common.
Tie a surgeon's-loop knot at the end of the fishing line above the hook.
- Spoonbill fishing is strictly regulated. Each state's fish management agency sets size and catch limits, seasons, legal areas in which to fish and gear restrictions. States may require special fishing licenses to participate.
- Make several of these set-ups, and have them ready. Snagging on underwater obstructions is common in this type of fishing.
- hook image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com