Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Make a French Spinner Introduction

French Spinners 04 05 2010

Before I present you with my much awaited series on how to tie a Musky Buck tail I want to show you how to make an easier spinner. I.e.: A wire spinner without hair. As a fisherman you know that a small difference in lure can make a big difference in fishing. This article will get you started with your own vision of lure engineering and design.

There are basically two steps to making one of these lures pictured above:

1. Selecting the components to place on the wire.

2. Bending and forming the eyelets.

Step One- The easy step

You pick the colors and styles to your own “taste” of choosing. And for those who don’t understand that phrasing this article is not for you, go spend your money on beer at the Regal Beagle and meet a new regret or count your pennies as you sit in mother Bates rocking chair. I usually buy mine from Barlow’s Tackle or Janns Netcraft for ease of selection. A nice store in the Milwaukee area is Reinke Brothers, 3144 W. Greenfield Ave., they are very helpful.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Wire Component

A. Single strand stainless steel wire. Always opt for the larger diameter when looking at the lists and thinking you should compare prices to diameter. I use “American Fishing Wire”‘s “Tooth Proof” 500LB, # 22, Stainless Steel Leader Wire.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy


Clevis: This is the half circle part that holds the spinner blade to the wire. Get one of single piece and not a wrap around the wire type. It should have holes drilled in the ends and be big enough for the diameter of the wire you use.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Spinner Blades

Spinner Blades; these are French #5 spinner blades; they can also be used on Musky baits. (These Lures were made for Trout and Salmon, they could also be used for Musky.)

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murpy

Lure Body

Lure Body: This is the part right behind the blade on the wire. It is usually metal beads or a barrel type. The metal beads are either hollow or solid. Solid are heavier but can balance the lure to the front which leads to it doubling back to the line when you cast, creating a fouled cast. Lure bodies are heavy too. I tend to prefer solid beads for added weight and I think they look better. Solid beads are counter weighted with a lead weight in front of the rear of the hook to balance the lure upon casting so it doesn’t “jack knife” to the line.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Lure Weight

Lure Weight: This is the weight in front of the hook. I started using steel weights because I don’t like the lead rubbing off on my fingers. It is a health hazard. The ones you see on these lure are ¼ oz and came from Cabelas. I like to drill the hole bigger where it fits over the eyelet to the hook; it stabilizes the lure and balances it better.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Treble Hooks

Hook: On these I used a size 2 Sohumi Hooks 203R Treble. On Musky baits I have gone to a size 8/0 treble. On hook sizing, if they have an 8/0 that means the hooks get bigger as the number goes up. If they don’t have the forward slash with the “aught?” after it means the hooks get smaller as the number goes up.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Step Two Eyelet Formation

Step Two: Step two is the much harder part because it requires manual strength with precision dexterity. It is an art to form them correctly. The goal is to get an eyelet round with end tangents directly centered to the wire. This allows it to run smooth in the water.

Tips to making the eyelet:

• It is easier to bend the wire closer to the “Stalk” wire if the piece you are bending to it is longer and you are bending from a distance where you are holding the pliers that is farther away from the eyelet, more leverage is created this way to form a tighter wrap to the wire.

• Don’t forget to put the hook on the bottom eyelet before you close it with a wrap of 1 ½ to 2 turns.

• Use one of those bull nose snipping pliers to snip the end. If there is still a bit sticking out bend it to the “axis” using two pliers and a fixation point method.

• Start by straightening your wire with a few friction strokes of your fingers, but don’t run them off the sharp tip end or you will cut yourself. The ends of cut wire are of spade or hoe formations. A more appropriate analogy is they look the front of a hammerhead shark.

• Don’t cut the wire too soon and start with more than you need or you risk a blade that won’t turn because the axle on the front of the spinner is destabilized from balance by hydroscopic force. You need some length in front of your spinner to balance it and resist this force. The principal here is similar to the woodworking principal measure once and cut twice except it’s more of a measured guess.

• More on bending the eyelet. When I first started making these 30 years ago I put a large framing nail in the vise and bent the wire around it to form the round part of the loop, while holding the two ends with vise grip pliers. Then to center the loop to the wire body you must put a slight bend in the other direction where the wire is to be wrapped around above it. Today I have bought a pair of needle nose pliers with round tips and they allow me to form these eyelets better. I wouldn’t want to go back to the nail in the vise method.

• On one of these lures above the spinner blade I have placed a crimping sleeve to keep the blade orientated to the back of the lure during casting and so that when it hits the waters it starts spinning faster because it does not have to take up the slack in the wire. I have not tried it yet and it might go through some variations and I have never seen this done before.

These lures are much simpler to make than a Buck tail lure and will provide you with the basic skills necessary before trying to do the same with the added complexity of using Buck tail or synthetic hair on the lure. They are harder to work with. The addition of hair might mean a few nicks, scrapes and bleeding cuts to your fingers as the hairs hide the sharp tips of the hooks. “The fish are said to respect this.” J

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy