Offshore Lure Tying Guide
Tying your own lures is more than just a great way to save yourself a bunch of cash, it's also very rewarding and a great way to spend those late winter months while you wait for warmer weather. We've had the unique pleasure of sitting down with Kevin Fraser, an expert in offshore lure tying and the driving force behind Hardcore Custom Offshore Lures. Kevin has tied thousands of trolling lures and was graciously willing to share his expertise to help fellow anglers learn the art of lure tying. While we were hesitant about the time and effort involved in tying our own lures, Kevin was able to clearly show and explain the process. To our surprise, lure tying was far simplier and more straight forward than we had ever imagined. The following step by step instructions will have you tying your own offshore lures in no time. In our example we will be tying a 9 inch lure but all the steps are the same for other sizes, you just have to vary the materials.
The Essential Equipment
Just like fishing, starting with the correct equipment is essential for success.
- Hair - Hair in a variety of colors and materials is available from many coastal tackle stores. The hair comes in several different lengths and needs to be matched to your lure head. In our example we are using 8 inch pink and chartreuse nylon hair with a little sheen.
- Lure heads - Lure heads come in just about every color, size, and weight combinations. You also want to look for a head with realistic eyes to draw a little more attention. While heads are sold in lots of tackle stores, we recommend that you contact Kevin if you are serious about tying your own lures. His heads are milled from solid aluminum and then powder-coated to be as strong and corrosion resistant as possible.
- Lure tubes - Storing your completed lure in a tube will ensure it stays in good shape and the hair is not damaged. Small PVC pipes with labels to remind you of what color the lure is will work fine, but clear plastic tubes add a lot to the finished product. Kevin also carries these if you can't find them locally.
- Plastic trays to hold the hair - The hair comes in tightly wrapped bundles and once you unwrap it, it tends to get out of control very easily. Kevin insists that a few cheap plastic trays from Target or Walmart will be one of the best investments you make and are certainly a requirement.
- Johnson & Johnson flat waxed dental floss - Don't skimp with generic dental floss, Kevin swears that the J&J brand has more wax and holds much better.
- Small stick - Used to help insert the finished lure into the lure tube, Kevin uses a chopstick.
- A good workspace - Pick a large flat surface that will be easy to clean because once you start trimming, the hair fibers will be everywhere.
Start with about 3 feet of the dental floss. Tie a standard slip knot on one end and leave about a 3-inch loop. Take the other end of the floss and form a 3 inch circle, then loop the floss through the circle 4 or 5 times. Ultimately your choice in knots is up to you; the floss just has to be tied securely.
Grab a pinch of hair from the platic tray with the first color you want to use. The size of the pinch will get more precise with experience, but start with a pinch about the width of a finger. Remove any hair that is running in the wrong direction and place the pinch of hair in your palm. Carefully tap one end of the pinch of hair on the table to get the ends to line up.
Take one end of the pinch of hair and place it on the head with about 1-inch sticking out past the back of the head. With longer lures like the one we are tying in the example you have to be careful in this step. The hair will later be trimmed, but if you aren't careful your hair will be too short. At the same time, be sure to leave yourself enough hair sticking out to secure it. As you wrap the floss, more of the hair will be drawn into the channel of the head. Take the end of the floss with the slip knot and place it over the head and hair in the channel. Pull the loop tight.
Take a pinch of your second color of hair about the same size as your first pinch. Tap it on the table to align the ends and then place it on the other side of the head. Wrap the floss around both pinches of hair loosely but tight enough to keep them secure.