“The Secret” is out: Redfish can’t hide from the H&H Lure Co. spoon designed mostly by a Metairie outdoorsman who specializes in sporting goods and racks up redfish after redfish on the FLW Redfish Tour.
For years, saltwater fishermen, particularly those on the pro fishing tours, complained about spoons that couldn’t get through the grass cleanly and didn’t have strong enough hooks.
So Ray Chagnard decided to do something about it a year after Hurricane Katrina flooded Chag’s Sporting Goods with water 6 inches deep but spared his Metairie home.
While Chagnard and others recovered (he opened the store about a month after the storm hit in August 2005, just in time for bowhunting season), he also kept thinking about the problem with conventional spoons. He started making one with a stainless-steel body, a premium ballbearing swivel and added a heavy-duty split ring, which prevented line twist, another headache.
“One thing a redfish can do is tear up any bait on the market,” he said. “What we tried to do is make it as durable as possible without taking any of the action out of the bait.”
After solving so many troubles, there still was the matter of retrieving the spoon with a unique wobble through grass beds. A red plastic cap that looks like a bullet worm weight was the coup de grace. The spoon also has a weedguard to keep the hook from catching grass.
“The key is the swivel and the cap. The cap gets it through the grass. That part of the spoon (around the swivel) and the cap slide right through. It’ll get through the toughest grass,” Chagnard said. “The little red cap keeps the grass off the swivel. The tighter you can get on the grass without the spoon fouling up, the more fish you can catch.”
Thus, “The Secret” Redfish Spoon was born. So was the “The Secret” Speck Spoon, a treble hook model that is ideal for fishing under birds because it can be cast long distances. The latter has been producing plenty of speckled trout this summer in Black Bay, Chagnard noted.
Redfish fishermen all along the coast started getting their hands on the “The Secret” Redfish Spoons and beau coup redfish.
“You know, it’s really doing well,” Chagnard said. “The saltwater market and this redfish tour have really embraced it. Tons of people use it exclusively. Now it’s getting into the common market, and other fishermen are using it.
“Yeah, ‘The Secret’s’ out.”
I found you don’t need grass around to catch fish on the spoon. I caught redfish and sheepshead with it the first week of January while fishing the Dulac area with my son Jacob, who’ll be a junior at SLU this year. We were fishing over oyster reefs in the numerous bayous there.
“The Secret” Redfish Spoon and “The Secret” Speck Spoon found a home with H&H Lure Co. for a reason, according to Chagnard, who has owned Chag’s Sporting Goods 22 years. From the day he first opened his store, he has dealt with H&H, he said.
“They’ve made their mark in the industry with sparkle beetles and other soft plastics. I knew H&H would be the right company to go to with the spoon. They’re always on the cutting edge with products. As soon as (H&H owner Billy Humphreys) started showing it to people, it took off,” Chagnard said.
“It’s been very successful,” he said. “We’ve gotten them almost coast to coast. We’ve sold them wherever … there’s other kinds of fish that hit these spoons. I had no idea we’d be selling them in Oregon for salmon.”
Naturally, Humphreys, 71, has caught his share of fish on “The Secret” Redfish Spoon. He wholeheartedly endorses this one line of approximately 14,000 items his artificial lure manufacturing company puts on the market.
“I think it’s great. We have actually been selling conventional spoons, which have been on the market 44 years, and this improved it so much,” said the lifelong Baton Rouge resident who opened his artificial lure-manufacturing company in 1959, starting with one artificial lure, the H&H Spinnerbait.
“The Secret” Redfish Spoon’s success doesn’t surprise Chagnard.
“It kind of coincided with us fishing the FLW Redfish Tour. H&H gave me prototypes. The spoon was in a prototype stage. We were just starting to market it,” he said.
He distributed the improved spoons to the other competitors on the circuit, he said, remembering that eventful time in the summer of 2006.
“Lo and behold, we won a $50,000 tournament out of Lafitte on it,” he said. “We were on a bunch of fish in shallow ponds in the grass. The thing really took off after that.”
Chagnard and his FLW Redfish Tour partner Eddie Adams, a fishing guide out of Port Sulphur, have won a little more than $140,000 since then, more than half that amount earned thanks to the “The Secret” Redfish Spoon, Chagnard said.
For more information about “The Secret” line of spoons and other H&H Lure Co. products, visit www.hhlure.com.