Tyler and I are excited to introduce Trampe Talk, a sidebar that will be included in my articles going forward.  A collaboration of Tyler and Sara Trampe’s knowledge, experiences, opinions, and insight on various topics in the fishing industry. These are a more in-depth breakdown of something from the article to better educate you on a specific topic.

There are thousands of lures out there, and it can easily be overwhelming choosing what to use and when to use them.  There are obvious differences and baits designated for certain species, and then there are baits that seem similar, designated for the same species, but have distinct differences and purposes.

On our crappie trip Tyler used a Macho Minnow and I used a Forage Minnow Spoon right next to each other.  We are frequently asked why we use a certain bait.  We use different baits in order to dial in a pattern and if one of us is getting bit more often we’ll switch, but not every fish’s mood is the same and sometimes having two similar baits can trigger more strikes. You should definitely have both lures in your ice arsenal.  But how do you know when to use one versus the other? Let’s break down each spoon to find out!

First, the similarities: They can both be used for casting open water for aggressive panfish, but more popularly used for vertical jigging on the ice.  Both are vertical spoon presentations and are sold in the same colors.

Now, let’s break down the differences:

The Macho Minnow is a larger profile bait designed for larger panfish, walleyes, pike, or trout. The Macho Minnow has a split ring for tying line and the beveled edge is a leading feature causing the Macho Minnow to slice through the water column in erratic darting actions mimicking crippled bait fish. The kicker tail creates clacking and more flash to attract more fish and tipped with a larger treble hook for a higher percentage of hook-sets.

The side by side comparison picture shows both baits in the 1/8 oz size and you can visibly see Macho Minnow is longer, thicker and wider. The reasons for a larger profile are to attract larger, more aggressive fish, use as an effective search bait, or attracting fish further in dirty water.

To use as a search bait pound it off the bottom, creating dirt puffs which cause the fish to come inspect for food in the dirt cloud.  Or aggressive jigging creates more clacking, and in turn sound vibration, enticing fish from further away. You can fish tipped with live bait or a bare hook.

In contrast, the Forage Minnow Spoon is a smaller, thinner profile designed for picky or lethargic panfish, walleyes, bass, or trout.  The Forage Minnow Spoon also comes in a smaller size, which is perfect for those early ice bluegills, perch or crappies. The line is tied directly to the Forage Minnow Spoon to create a fluttering, wavering fall imitating an injured minnow. Overall, it’s a predictable, less aggressive presentation.

The Forage Minnow Spoon is more versatile, proven spoon that can be jigged aggressively causing flashing and fluttering to attract fish or jiggled and twitched for the less aggressive fish to thoroughly inspect without spooking.  I personally tip a minnow head or wax worm most times unless the bite is ferocious.  It is important to make sure the minnow head is pushed far enough back to give a sufficient gap between the hook and edge of the bait to gain better hook-sets.

Sometimes there is a clear-cut reason which bait to use and sometimes it could go either way.  Confidence in a bait is HUGE. When a situation is in between or you are unsure, always go with the bait you have more confidence in.  Either way, the Forage Minnow Spoon or Macho Minnow will catch fish and each are a great bait!

Posted in