REVIEWED BY CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
They are back – almost from the grave. In the middle 1980s, primarily on Lake Ontario but with a solid presence on the other Great Lakes, Northern King spoons were solid producers, if not the overwhelming favorite of many salmon and trout anglers. When owner/creator of Northern King Spoons, Patsy Distaffen died, the company faded to near non-existence. Now they are coming back – solidly so on the north of the border portions of the Great Lakes, but increasingly, here on the U.S. side as well.
The venerable Len Thompson Company, a maker of “Canadian” pike spoons since the 1930s, purchased the Northern King company – most importantly, they now own the Northern King dies used to stamp out the spoon blanks. Many believe Patsy’s dies produce a spoon with just enough realism to make just enough difference in the eyes of a hungry salmon or steelhead to get them to bite when they would pass on other brands.
Many other fans of Northern Kings say it’s the genuine silver finish on the spoons that makes the difference. To humans, in direct sunlight, there’s not much difference between the flash off a polished chrome or nickel spoon and a polished silver spoon. Underwater, there is a difference and the fish can see that difference as easily as a woman can tell the difference between a real diamond and one made of cubic zirconium.
They are available in three sizes, the NK 28 is a standard 3 3/4 inches, the NK 4-D is just under 4 inches (a great size for steelhead) but thinner and with a different action completely. The NK MAG is the 4 3/4 inch “king-killer.”
They are not (yet) available in an amazing array of color patterns, but I don’t detract from them for that. Many companies produce a dizzying number of patterns and anyone who thinks a fish cares much about whether or not the spots on the lure are round or oval or if the orange highlight stripe is 1/4 inch wide or 3/16s pays more attention to those details than I do (and most fish, I believe).
They do come in nice selection of standard and UV as well as extended glow patterns. The first fish I caught on my “new” NKs was on an orange-monkey-puke, NK 28, the venerable double orange crush proved as deadly on steelhead as ever and the UV Mixed Veggies gets bit by any species that comes close to it.
Northern King is becoming increasingly available in Great Lakes tackle shops here stateside. The biggest on-line seller when this review was written was http://www.fishusa.com. Take a peek at all their colors at http://www.nklures.com.