by Dave Pitts
My favorite lures are spoons. I have had many I trusted, but since the arrival of Mepps Little Wolf I have cleaned out my tackle box and stocked it full of every color and combination Mepps offers. "Why," you ask? I fish over 100 days each year with a minimum of six tournaments and my loyalty remains with what produces.
I first used the Little Wolf while I was fishing Alaska's Kenai and Kasiloff rivers. I was preparing to write a how-to article on spoons and spinners for salmon and trout. Mepps sent a package of lures that included Little Wolfs in several different colors. I fished both streams with my long-time buddy and Alaskan local Joey Grimm. The Kenai produced several nice fish but not the quantity I needed for photo support. I thought some type of transition must be taking place, high turbidity, water temp a whole heck of a lot of things were micro flashing though my mind concerning why we weren't getting bit. Evening was approaching and I decided to tie-on a Little Wolf. I selected a rainbow trout pattern.
As I tightened the knot I noticed the contour of the spoon was different from all of the other spoons I had been fishing. My first cast landed behind the edge of a wide tail out. The spoon started "working" on the fall, and continued to work throughout my retrieve. I stopped reeling when the spoon hit slack water and could immediately see the Little Wolf was highly-reflective even in the clear glacier water. I continued my retrieve. I hit swift water and was happy to see the Little Wolf would not flip over. As it reached its side-to-side apex it would head back into the opposite direction. This meant there would be no line twist, like I had been getting with the other spoons I had been fishing. I knew right away this was one great feature all spoon fisherman could appreciate.
I continued my retrieve and a bright flash appeared just to the left of my lure. It slammed into my Little Wolf. My rod bent and the drag began to "sing." The hook-up felt solid. Joey pulled us to the right side into shallow water, and we could see a monster rainbow was twisting and turning trying to throw the single salmon hook. Mepps selected this hook because it balances perfectly with the Little Wolf's body, but I appreciate the size. It is just a bit larger than the hooks on most spoons yet it meets all single hook regulations. I found this to be a essential for big trout and steelhead.
The Little Wolf's unique design also allows you to fish higher in the water column. This is where you want to be. Too many other spoons are designed to "hug" the bottom, and most of the time fish strike upwards or to the side not below them Keep in mind, too, whether you're fishing from a boat or wading from shore cast up river and pull down stream. Target shallow water behind slots and tail-outs. This down stream presentation works very well as it looks natural to fish in holding areas.
Many guides and anglers alter their spoon's color by adding paint or prism tape. I can honestly say every spoon color Mepps sent me caught fish without alterations. The Color Technology Mepps offers is incredible. My top producers of trout over 10 lbs., on this particular trip, were was the rainbow trout and the silver/blue patterns. On these two colors alone we caught and released, in 16 hours, over 100 bows and more than 50 Dolly Vardens. Weather didn't matter. I consistently caught fish under cloud cover and on bright sunny days.
Begin your retrieve as soon as, or just after, your spoon hits the water. Don't let the spoon fall to the bottom or past the mid water column. Begin with a slow retrieve. You can see, and sometimes feel, your rod tip pulse with the action of the Little Wolf. Thump thump thump". Stay alert. I caught several big bows as my Little Wolf was falling. Remember, this spoon begins working as soon as it hits the water. As you begin reeling the little Wolf it will rise in water. As it does it produces a flash and vibration that is nothing short of incredible. . . just hold on.