When it comes to fishing for spoonbill catfish, there is almost as much misinformation as there is legitimate information available. Probably the first thing of which you should be aware is that it is not legal everywhere to fish for spoonbill.
The regulations are going to vary state to state, but as states, some states prohibit fishing for spoonbill at all, and some states make it illegal to possess live spoonbill, and even in states where it is legal to fish for spoonbill, there are usually strict regulations governing limitations on how many spoonbill you can possess at one time. Just remember to check the law in your state before fishing for spoonbill catfish, and you should be fine.
Spoonbill are also commonly called spoonbill catfish and paddlefish. You might hear that the meat is inedible. You might hear that only the white meat of the fish is edible, or you might hear that the meat of this fish, both white and dark, is wonderfully palatable.
I guess when it comes to fishing for spoonbill for table fare, the proof is in the pudding, and what YOU think about its palatability is really all that matters.
One thing you should know about spoonbill is that they are what is commonly called filter feeders. This means that they take in water as they swim, and they actually filter out the small plankton and other organisms as they do, and they process these as food. Because of this unique way of feeding, you can not catch them in the normal way.
They will not respond to lures or live baits, and there is literally nothing they will bite. Some fishermen have had success putting a trot line in spoonbill rich waters after dipping the hooks in anise and old motor oil. For some reason, this attracts the spoonbill, and they then roll in the lines, and snag themselves on the hooks. They are usually found dead on the line after that when the fishermen come to retrieve their catch.
Really the only method of fishing for spoonbill that is even a semi-consistently effective way to catch them, is to snag them.
In order to snag a spoonbill, you are going to need some heavy duty tackle and some special know how in the art of snag fishing to catch spoonbill. You will also need to be able to pinpoint some known spoonbill territory. One way to find spoonbill rich water is to talk to the old timers.
If there are any spoonbill around, the people who fish an area regularly are the most likely to know about them. Another way is to inquire with the Game and Fish Commission for help, or ask around some of the local boat docks, guide services, or bait shops in the area to see what information they can give you.
If you want to go snag fishing for spoonbill, you are going to need the following:
From 10/0 down to 6/0 treble hooks
From 80 to 40 pound test line
From a 12 to an 8 foot heavy surf rod
6 ounce weights
A heavy duty star drag reel or a heavy duty salt water spinning reel