It happens to the best of lures. Bass spinnerbaits bend, trout spinner blades bind, and rubber skirts become chewed beyond function. But fixing your own beat-up luresÂ¿Â¿Â¿or even building new onesÂ¿Â¿Â¿is easy with the right tools.
Working With Wire
Gripping, bending, and cutting wire are tasks you’ll encounter whether you’re building or repairing wire-based lures. You’ll want round-nose pliers that make quick work of forming or repairing round loops or bends. Needle-nose pliers are useful for gripping one small area of a wire lure while bending another. End-cutting (flush-cutting) nippers are essential for trimming a wire’s tag end close to the main shaft after wrapping a loop.
Choose sizes appropriate to the job at hand. I use Sears Craftsman Professional Mini-Pliers for most trout spinners and bass spinnerbaits with wire diameters up to about .04 inch. For larger or saltwater lures, when I use wire ranging up to .063-inch stainless steel, I likewise use heavier pliers in the range of standard electrician’s sizes.
There are also some specialized wire-bending tools specifically made for lure building, but you might not need to go overboard on one of these. Wrapping a fine-wire loop for the end of a trout spinner, for example, is fairly easy to do by hand with two pairs of pliers, especially with a little practice. If you don’t quite have the knack, however, or if you want to make lures in quantities, then one of these wire-bending devices can make spinnerbait and spinner production essentially foolproof. I sometimes use a heavy-duty wire-former by Hagen, for example, which I can clamp securely to a tabletop and which works extremely well for any imaginable lure configuration.
I often mold my own leadhead spinnerbaits as well as jigs and other lures. For a long time, I did this with a propane torch and a tin can (in a well-ventilated area and wearing leather gloves), but that’s the hard way. I finally acquired a Lee Production Pot, which is electrically heated with a lever-actuated pouring spout at the bottom. This costs around $50 and is worth every penny in convenience and safety. It also has ample mold clearance under the spout.
The molds I use are by Do-It, a company that has one of the best-organized fishing catalogs and Web sites I’ve ever seen (319-984-6055; www.do-itmolds.com). Their directions and precautions for molding lead are excellent; the design variety of their moldsÂ¿Â¿Â¿including spinnerbaitsÂ¿Â¿Â¿is extraordinary. Other than common pliers, the tools I’ve mentioned here are generally available from the lure-making suppliers listed in Tackle & Tactics (see page 24), where you’ll also find more details on lure making for bass and trout. Repairing or building your own lures is a great off-season project, of course, one that makes anticipating next spring all the sweeter.