KUUSAMO Räsänen review by Dominic Garnett
Spoons are lures that tend to divide lure anglers. Are they indispensible classics, or outdated oldies? Once upon a time I had little faith in them, probably due to the proliferation of cheap and pretty poor metal lures you inherit or find in the dingy recesses of bargain bins. Alas, this was before I discovered fishing in Finland and their fantastic range of spoons still hand finished in Kuusamo, Lapland.
Surely a spoon is a spoon though? Not on your stinking life! The difference between a Kuusamo and some of the gruesome metal things I used as a kid is not so much a gap as a gulf. The Finnish weapons of choice have beautiful, shimmering colours, cast miles and, most importantly of all, have a weaving, fluttering, wobbling action that can only be described as magical.
It’s somewhat refreshing that in this age of far-eastern labour and cost cutting initiatives, Kuusamo still rely on traditional values and a vastly experienced workforce based in the heartland of these classic lures- a region which has more lakes than England has Tescos.
Where better place to start than with Kuusamo’s all round best seller, the Räsänen? Out of the packet, you quickly notice the alluring finish of each spoon. Colours are sharp and these are durable as well as pretty. The range of colours is more limited in the UK to the vast array you’d find in Finland, but having said that the internet has a few options and you won’t go far wrong with simple silver or copper versions for clear water, plus one or two perch barred versions and brighter, more gaudy “stimulator” colours for when you encounter murkier conditions.
Playing the Spoons
It’s the quality of the body and components that really count with any lure. All fittings are top quality and I’ve never had a Kuusamo hook bend or break on me (and yes, I’ve abused them a fair bit). The weedless models have special wire guarded hooks, which can also be bought separately to modify regular spoons.
The Räsänen is the real all-rounder of the range and besides pike will catch salmon, trout, perch, zander… just about anything and I’ve even heard that Mick Brown swears by the smaller models for chub. It is the design of the spoon that really stands out however, a perfect, patented curve which creates a sexy wobble on the retrieve, but also flutters beautifully on the drop. Another unique feature is the red “eye” which sits in a little hole mount. According to Kuusamo boss Kimmo Korpua, this reflects light and serves as a target point. Cheap copies have been found using plastic beads and Kimmo has even seen Chinese imitations as flat as pancakes. Somewhat lacking that wobbling action!
The curve and the bead serve to give the spoon it’s deadly catching ability- and this is not based on catalogue descriptions but on the basis of countless casts both home and abroad. In the lakes of Finland- or anywhere for that matter- these spoons cast for miles and are relatively easy to fish. A straight, steady retrieve is the norm- just find a consistent speed and watch the lure on the way in to check the action. They work slowish, or pretty rapidly and the Finns also find that their consistency makes them suitable for trolling. Having said this, perhaps my favourite feature is that the Räsänen flutters so beautifully on the drop. I’ve had these smashed before even starting to retrieve- a sure sign of a naturally deadly action.
Pike fans will probably gravitate towards the larger sized spoons here, such as the 28g models- but the smaller models can be great when you’re not sure what to expect in terms of species, such as when you’re on a bit of a mystery tour abroad. I’ve taken predatory ide, perch and even a bream on the smaller versions. The baby of the range (11g) is good for perch and trout, especially so if you tip it with a worm.
Perhaps the most useful variant of all, especially for the spring or summer angler, is the weedless 20g Räsänen however. My all time best Finnish pike, a float tubed eighteen pounder, came on the black and gold model. The action seems to suffer no ill effects from the wire guarded hooks and you can steer these through all the reedy corners many other lures don’t like. I’ve had some brilliant sessions float tubing with a weedless Räsänen, and this lure really comes into its element paddling around snaggy, weedy shallows.
Switching from the wilds of Finland in June to, erm, the fag end of some gravel pits near Gloucester, the spoons have since also proved their worth. A big plus is that they they cut through the wind and will cast for miles- certainly longer than any plug, spinner or soft bait of the same weight. A light to medium spinning rod with good “feel” in the tip is ideal for this and my weapon of choice for spoons is a Greys Prowla Specialist Lure (12-38g). Go heavier and you lose both a degree of fun and efficiency.
I would say they work best in water from three to eight feet- although a less popular fact is that you can really let a spoon sink and fish it almost sink and draw style. I’ve also had some success with them on UK rivers and canals- if you fish waters that are shallow and weedy, go for the 20g weedless Rasanen every time though. They work best on canals and drains when the fish are chasing I find, but as all lure maniacs know there is no such thing as the “perfect lure” for every situation and when it’s bitter and the pike are playing silly buggers then either fish sink and draw style as slow as possible.
The Rasanen is sadly not always easy to get hold of in the UK- but try Andy Lush at The Friendly Fisherman or search on google for a European supplier. Better still get yourself to Lapland and visit the factory shop! Sadly, outside of Finland, I’ve never found some great colours though, such as the “orange spatter & silver” (probably not it’s proper title!) Finnish tournament winning favourite: short of actually depth charging the water, nothing could be deadlier in a clear Finnish lake.
So there you have it. Yes, Kuusamo lures cost a bit more than bargain spoons, but you only get what you pay for and you’re only as good as the lure you have on. There’s a good reason why Kuusamo have been in business for decades and shift literally millions of spoons worldwide. Grab these classics where you can- they’re great all rounders but especially useful for clear or weedy water and a godsend when you need to hit long casts in an ugly wind.
|Build Quality||Beautifully made, these won’t let you down||(9/10)|
|Quality of finish||Some of the most beautiful colours and finishes on any spoons in the world||(10/10)|
|Performance||Easy to use on a straight retrieve, but also fun to work in a whole variety of ways||(9/10)|
|Value For Money||Handmade in Finland and normally under a tenner||(8/10)|
|Variety of Options Available||A huge variety of sizes and colours, but some can be hard to track down outside Finland||[Rating7/10]|
|TackleTart Factor||nice looking lure from and interesting manufacturer that looks a little different||(8/10)|
|Overall||The Kuusamo Rasanen is a legendary lure, we love it||(8.5/10)|
The Kuusamo Rasanen is awarded the LureTour Gold medal
Full details of Kuusamo lures are available at Kuusamo
Catch more from Dom in the Angling Times, or for bonus features and his lively, wide-ranging blog visit: www.dgfishing.co.uk