I think a lot of people get "scared off" when they hear the term "Spoonplugging", thinking it's some trolling lure, or some old-fashioned way of fishing, or who knows what else, and they end up not giving it serious consideration - dismissing it based upon perception. I've been looking for the best way to explain it to people in language that everyone will understand, and that won't come across in such a manner as to have people's conscious throwing up red flags when they hear it. Finally, I think I've found my answer in a 1981 Fishing Facts article.
In that article, Buck wrote, "The doubt, and the search for some one thing to latch onto as a guide to 'size-up' a fishing situation is by no means new. What was done about this in the very beginning resulted in the Spoonpluggers becoming known as 'structure' fishermen." So there is the first part of the answer. When you hear or read the term "Spoonplugging," simply realize that another (and perhaps better term, at least for those less familiar), should be "structure fishing."
Buck, especially in many of his later writings, used the two terms almost interchangeably. In fact, in that same article, Buck acknowledges this and later ties the two together. He stated, "I have been referred to as the "Daddy of Structure Fishing." Probably this is true..." Then, in his study guides, he also added, "I find no great fault with calling a Spoonplugger a "Structure Fisherman," and we often refer to him as such. But it is a well-known fact that those who often call themselves "structure fishermen" - are not always Spoonpluggers.
So if you accept the premise that Spoonpluggers are basically structure fishermen, then the second part to this is easy to understand, and Buck gives an explanation in simple terms of what we believe or how we go about our fishing;
"Spoonplugging is primarily concerned with OPEN water and DEEPER water...The Spoonplugger is well aware a (shallow) fish can be caught at sometime or other, by most anyone, at most any place, on most anything, and by most any method. But, he knows if he desires to become a better fisherman and consistently put more and bigger fish on the stringer, a hit or miss type interpretation, lure presentation, etc., is not the way to go. The way the Spoonplugger plays the game is to use "structure" as his guide to where the fish may be found, and then use the "breaks" and "breaklines" on (or connected to) it to pinpoint the fish."
Structure - It's how we play the game (of finding and catching fish). Buck Sez: "The average structure fisherman (Spoonplugger) realizes it takes time, study, and effort to become a good fisherman." If you want to know more, simply contact us - we can help.