Tools for Lures
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 lures--or even building new ones--is easy with the right tools.
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.