Spadefish are one of the most under-rated sportfish in our region: they’re present in large numbers over wrecks and fishing reefs close to shore all summer long; they make for great table fare; and they fight like a gigantic saltwater bluegill, turning their broad body sideways to tug like there’s no tomorrow. So, how will you target them? Chumming is the trick.

angler catches spadefish
Chunky spadefish like these being held up by Travis are seriously hard fighting fish.
  1. Leave the dock with a mess of sea clams, a mesh bag, and some small number-one or number-two hooks on 20-pound leaders.
  2. Anchor up directly over or very slightly up-current of the wreck or reef you’re targeting.
  3. Smash several clams together to crush the shells, drop them into the mesh bag, and hang it over the side.
  4. Slice some clam into small, thin strips about the width and length of a paper clip, and use them to bait your hook.
  5. Drift the offering back along with the sinking chum bits; try one line with no weight, one with a split-shot or two, and one suspended four of five feet beneath a float.
  6. Every 15 or 20 minutes smash two more clams together and add them to the chum bag. Also give the chum bag a yank every few minutes if it’s calm out, to keep some chum flowing steadily.

For more information on targeting this species, also see Spadefish and Triggerfish at the CBBT.