By Nick Simonson
In Part 1, we tied up the skirts for our mondo muskie spinner. In this installment we’ll combine them with the rest of the components to finish off a lure that will help you catch more muskies as the spinner slinging season begins in late summer.
In order to do so, you’ll need the following components in addition to the skirts: two 7/0 Mustad 3551 treble hooks, two 2X heavy size 4H split rings, one 12-inch long .051”-diameter spinner shaft, two spacer beads, five 9/32” nickel beads, one .31-ounce nickel body, two size 12 magnum spinner blades, two size 6 clevises and a two-inch length of heat-shrink tubing (Figure 1).
First attach a treble hook with a 4H split ring to the looped end of the spinner shaft. Next, thread the two-inch length of shrink tubing down the shaft and wiggle it into place over the looped end of the shaft, split ring and hook. Try to get it so the split ring and loop are completely covered and the rest of the tubing is on the hook shank. Once it is in position, shrink the tubing with the heat from a butane lighter, taking care not to melt the tubing. This step prevents about 95 percent of lure fouling on the cast and keeps the treble riding straight during the retrieve, maximizing your chances of a positive hookset when the fish of 10,000 casts decides to strike. After the hook is attached and secured, thread two spacer beads onto the spinner shaft (Figure 2).
The next step is to add the primary and partial skirts that we tied in Part 1 of this series. Thread the primary skirt onto the spinner shaft through the center of the underlying coil at the skirt’s center. It should stack on top of the spacer beads. The lower strands of the primary skirt should cover the spacer beads so they cannot be seen, and the strands should just reach the bottom of the treble hook. If they don’t, remove one spacer bead; if they hang down too far, add another. Once the primary skirt is in place, thread the partial skirt onto the spinner shaft just above the primary skirt, forming the body of the bait (Figure 3).
At this point, thread on a nickel bead and then a split ring with the second 7/0 treble hook attached to it (Figure 4). Then, for the purposes of flash and weight, thread the lure body and the remaining beads into place (Figure 5).
Now it’s time to add some thump to the lure. The selection of blade colors and sizes is growing rapidly each season, and there are a lot of cool patterns and colors to choose from. Check out the selections at Rollie and Helen’s Musky Shop (www.muskieshop.com) or Lure Parts Online (www.lurepartsonline.com) to find the pattern you’re looking for. For the purposes of this bait, we’re going with dual size 12 hammered nickel blades to emit even more crazy flash and put out the beat that draws muskies in. What’s more, the water these blades displace on the retrieve provides ample turbulence to get the flashabou skirt pulsing and flashing to help you seal the deal when a big muskie chases your offering.
Thread the bottom holes of two size 6 clevises on the spinner shaft and thread the clevises through the holes at the top of the spinner blades. Then thread the top holes of the clevises onto the spinner shaft. Make sure the spinner blades are situated with the concave side facing the spinner shaft (Figure 6). Slide the clevises and blades down so that they stack up tightly with the other spinner components.
To create the spinner’s eye, you will need a pair of pliers and some muscle. Grasp the spinner shaft with a pair of round- or needle-nose pliers approximately one inch above the top clevis, with all components stacked together. With your other hand, grab the portion of the spinner shaft extending above the pliers and bend it 270 degrees around the nose of the pliers, forming the eye of the lure (Figure 7).
Applying a little more elbow grease, begin to wrap the tag end of the wire around the shaft below the pliers. Make four wraps around the shaft, forming an eye that will not be bent straight by a heavyweight fish. Using a wire cutter, clip the tag end of the shaft off, leaving a secure connection point that you can clip your leader to (Figure 8). Your finished bait is ready to hit the water (Figure 9).
A commercial flashabou spinner like the one we’ve put together will cost upwards of $30. But with a little free time you can save more than fifty percent on your muskie arsenal and learn a lot about lure making in the process. Give it a shot and try out your color and blade combinations on your favorite muskie water this summer!
Featured Photo: 6-for-3. In-line spinners are widely customizable with the great variety of blade sizes and colors along with the rainbow of flashabou colors available to today’s lure makers. Plus, for the price of one commercially-available muskie spinner, you can tie up two! Simonson Photo.