Gamefishing Workshop - How to skirt a lure

MIKE PARSONS - FEBRUARY 2009
Last updated 09:48 14/04/2009
You will need scissors, furniture polish spray (the Pledge brand works well). 15kg rigging floss, your lure head and the selected inner and outer skirts.
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Gamefishing Workshop - How to skirt a lure DIY - Alvey downrigger DIY Reader's Story The best day's fishing!

Picture yourself out on a beautiful day, trolling your favorite spread of marlin lures, and hoping to hook your once-in-a-lifetime fish.

Next, picture the excitement as a ‘rigger clip pops and a reel screams. You prepare for battle, but your excitement quickly fades as you reel in a small mako, which has destroyed the skirts on your ‘magic’ lure with one savage strike. Now what?

This situation plays out day after day on boats around the globe. A toothy fish mangles the skirts on a lure, the skirts become plain worn out, or maybe you have a lure with a great head but the skirt colours have proved unproductive. Time for re-skirting – but in all cases this must be done properly to maximise the lure’s potential performance.

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Most quality offshore trolling lures produced today are designed to be quickly re-skirted without the use of glue. However, many of the folks who use these lures don’t know the proper way to skirt them. The following step-by-step process should help you keep your favorite lures in the water and ‘getting bit’.

Step 1: Begin with the inner skirt. To determine where to make your cut, examine the distance between the skirt seat and the tail end of the lure. You want the ‘skirt neck’ to rest in the ‘skirt seat’ when you slide the skirt onto the lure (the ‘skirt seat’ is the deepest part of the lure head’s notch securing the skirt). Also, you want to cut the end of the skirt so it’s about even with the tail end of the lure, enabling the skirt to lie smoothly against itself when pulled into position.

Step 2: Once you have made your cut, push the skirt inside out in your hand and spray the polish on the inside. This lubricates the skirt, allowing it to slide on easily without tearing.

Step 3: Now push the tail end of the lure down into the skirt. Skirts should fit the lure tightly. It helps to use a rotating motion to slide the skirt into the correct position. If the skirt has lateral lines, try to line them up with the eyes or sides of the lure. Also, if the skirt is split by dark and light color, try to rotate the skirt to a point where the dark color is on top and the light color is on the bottom. By doing this, your lure will more closely resemble prey.

Step 4: This is how the skirt should look once you have pulled it into the correct position. Notice how the ‘neck’ of the skirt fits perfectly into the skirt seat on the lure. Now you are ready to secure the skirt to the lure.

Step 5: You will begin to secure the skirt by forming a loop under your thumb and leaving about 10-12 centimetres on the tag-end of the floss towards the face of the lure. While holding your loop in place, make three overhand wraps on top of the loop and into the skirt seat. Pull once firmly to cinch them down. Make three more wraps and pull firmly again to secure the skirt into the seat.

Step 6: Now you can trim the main floss, leaving about 10-12 centimeters of tag-end. Once cut, put that tag-end through the loop that you have been holding with your thumb.

Step 7: To finish the job, grasp both tag-ends and pull tightly until the loop is gone and the ends are secured under your wraps. Cut the tag ends together, leaving about one centimetre of floss remaining. To change the skirt, just pull either end of the floss and the wraps will come undone.

Step 8: Once you have tied the skirt to the lure, you can pull it into position and prepare to put on the outer skirt.

Step 9: To start the second skirt, follow steps 2-3. Next, put your inner skirt all the way through the outer skirt until it reaches the next ‘skirt seat’.

Step 10: If the skirt does not slide easily into position, grasp the opposite ends of the two skirts and pull steadily to slide the skirt into place. Remember to line up lateral lines and/or dark and light colours accordingly.

Step 11: Now it is just a matter of following Steps 5-6, so the skirt is tied to the lure head tightly. This illustration shows how you can also put your thumb through the loop to hold it in place while making your first few wraps.

Step 12: After securing the second skirt, just pull it into position. The transition from the lure head to the skirts should be smooth, with no abnormal bulges from excess material or incorrect positioning.

Step 13: Once you have made sure your skirts fit smoothly on the lure, you are ready for the final step. Grasp the tail end of the lure skirts in one hand and lightly trim them. Your lure is now ready to be rigged and put back in the game.

If the skirts on your lure seem to be in decent shape, but are a bit faded and stiff from salt and sun, try spraying them with furniture polish. This is usually great for bringing back the shine and flexibility of the rubber so you don’t have to replace them.

Skirting a lure is a fairly simple process, but you should not expect to get it perfect on the first go. Just like anything else, you will get better with practice. Soon you will be able to skirt with the best of them. Until then, keep your head up and your lures in the water.

Mike Parsons is a young American university graduate with a passion for fishing. He has crewed on a number of charter boats, including the Black Bart Lures’ own company vessel. He also worked part-time manufacturing game lures at Black Bart’s Florida workshop.

Mike Parsons - Fishing News - February 2009

- © Fairfax NZ News

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