June 16th, 2013
Off To A Great Start With New, HQ Series Spoons From Williamsby JP Bushey April 2, 2013
I’m pretty confident that by this time next month, I’ll have put lots of miles on these new Williams spoons. From the time I can break enough ice to get a boat in right through early June, I do lots of lake trout and rainbow fishing; flatlining, board trolling, leadcore, Dipseys, all of it. But in the meantime, I got my hands on a selection of new Williams baits in some of their new colours and finishes late last week. With only a couple days left in my 2012/2013 winter season, the timing was perfect. Late-ice, nice weather, and a big box of new spoons and lures to test drive. As it turned out, the HQ Series had a pretty solid debut. The table’s definitely been set for the open water season.
HQs aren’t exactly jigging spoons. They’re designed for trolling applications in salmon, trout and walleye water. The classic, tapered profile looks like a number of baitfish species, and I can already tell they’ll perform over a range of trolling speeds. Where I’ve been fishing on Georgian Bay, lake trout eat alewives, herring and smelts. All have slightly different shapes, and the HQ strikes a good balance between each. Actually, the bait gets so thick under the ice this time of year that lines, lures and reel spools are normally caked with tiny scales after a few hours of jigging. I could easily fish the rest of my life in these conditions using the Williams Ice Jig or Whitefish. And I carry dozens of them on the ice. So why try the HQ Series?
Right out of the package, the 3 ¼ inch and 4 ¼ inch models are the perfect size. Trout are constantly spitting up baitfish in the holes, and we see lots in the odd fish we clean and eat, too. Some food items are larger and some are much smaller. But overwhelmingly, this is the dominant size bracket for what these fish eat day in and day out. I rigged a couple for our first morning. Within a few seconds of watching one tumble down in that crystal clear water, I had confidence. They flutter perfectly. At 1/3oz, the 3 ¼ inch is actually a nice bait to jig with. The HQs took trout for two solid days in depths from 18 to 80 feet.
With profile, size and action already taken care of, colour was the only variable left. Williams has added UV-reactive finishes and but taken several of their all-time best colour combos and merged them. There are many, many things in life that I’m unsure of. But when a company with over sixty years of lure-making experience offers their most consistent colour schemes, I’m pretty sure they’ll produce.
The hands-down star for me was the UV Bad Apple: brilliant, jewellery-quality silver with black and hot chartreuse accents. It’s just a tremendous colour. Candied Ice and Black Sheep are scary, scary patterns, too. These colours and finishes are also available in a range of models. I’ve got a Candied Ice Wabler waiting in the on deck circle for pike opener.
Along with the paint, Williams has also stamped in much larger, more dominant, ‘honeycomb’ scale detailing and added a massive, reflective eye. Many of the lake trout we caught were drilling these spoons fished totally un-tipped. When the fishing slowed down, as it sometimes does after releasing several fish in a row out of a school, adding a small minnow head produced extra fish out of holes that had cooled off.
Speaking of tipping, I messed around with how much mass these spoons could handle while still keeping their action. Whole minnows up to three inches long didn’t affect it much at all. For walleye especially, that’s good to know. Knowing that we could catch fish on the bare spoon itself was even better. Even though there’s heavy feeding going on right now, trout are very selective and well-fed. The HQ definitely has all the right moves. Fish that nip or chase are normally very well-hooked, too. The premium, black-nickel hooks used are fantastic. You’re getting quality from end to end.
As always, durability with these products is great. The spoon pictured in the photos took over a dozen fish and pounded the rocky bottom constantly. It looks brand new. A rigging tip I can offer you, and you’ll notice it in the photos, is running a premium, ball bearing swivel right off the lure’s split ring. Most jiggers splice the swivel in several feet up the line, normally where they join their mainline and leader material. This works fine, but good sonar units will pick up the lure and the swivel above it. The result is a cluttered screen. If you’re sharing a shelter with a buddy or jigging around lots of bait, this can be a bit distracting. I use back to back Uni Knots to join my high-visibility mainline to about twenty feet of good fluorocarbon in about twenty pound test for lake trout.
I’ve got a feeling this little trial was the tip of a very exciting iceberg with the HQ Series spoons. Spoons factor heavily in many of my favorite trout presentations, so I know I’ll be fishing them a lot in the weeks and months ahead. I’ve always had great success and confidence in Williams products. It looks like the HQ Series is another solid option. In clear, shallow waters without the ice blanket, I can absolutely see the new, UV finishes being highly effective. Add in great action/vibration and things should get very interesting. What’s more, I’ve also got a proven jigging spoon to begin next winter with.
JP Bushey is a multi-species, multi-season fisherman living in Barrie, Ontario. North-Central Ontario’s ‘big water’ is where he spends most of his time, from his home waters of Georgian Bay to The Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing and The French River. JP’s been a freelance fishing contributor for over fifteen years, and enjoys helping people to improve their fishing through his articles, speaking engagements and on-the-water instruction.
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JP Bushey is a multi-species, multi-season fisherman living in Barrie, Ontario. North-Central Ontario’s ‘big water’ is where he spends most of his time, from his home waters of Georgian Bay to The Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing and The French River. JP’s been a freelance fishing contributor for over fifteen years, and enjoys helping people to improve their fishing through his articles, speaking engagements and on-the-water instruction.More by JP Bushey