Sunday, August 25, 2013

Outdoors Improv -- making an effective spinner from a soda can pull-tab (or a similar item)

In an Intense Angler's tip of the week, we see how to do just that, turn a soda can tab into an improvised and demonstrably effective Panther Martin-type spinner blade:

I should add that if a split ring had been used, two hooks could be mounted "ice tongs" style with the points facing each other like how ice tongs grab a block of ice, pincer style. That gives a bit of weed-guard effect and the free-to-swing double hooks can be deadly effective. On contact the hooks separate and both tend to go in. If they are sharp -- I believe in using a fine stone to put a cutting edge on the back of a small hook point. If a sharpened hook point tends to stick and cut in when slid across a thumbnail, it is sharp enough . . . now you know where the scratches on my left thumbnail come from when I have been fishing. Bigger hooks can be sharpened to have three cutting edges, by using the stone to cut three facets. Of course you can use modern chemically sharpened hooks.

A subtlety of the lure above, is that the split shot provides a keeling effect that reduces line twisting.

A mod would be to use a stainless steel shaft, and to put a weight (and attractor body) on the line, putting a knee-bend to similarly reduce line twist. A swivel on the leading end of the wire shaft would be helpful. (NB: W E "Bill" Davies, of a former generation, always recommended separating the weight for casting and control from the lure, using a trace rig, with a weight and swivels -- sort of like how a fly line carries the casting weight and is usually some feet from the fly, and like a float and suspended bait, but for spinning:  

--//-----sw--WT-- sw---------sw LURE. 

It is wise to make such non-reflective as that reduces profile and bite-offs from aggressive and toothy fish we tend to see in the tropics. As in Mr Barracuda, this means you.  It will also be possible to put a plastic or hair tab on the hook, or to mount a small grub or even a bit of bait. This last would be for survival situations.)

A similar lure is the old folded crown bottle cap fish lure. (Also, proved effective.)

For a more conventional lure, an old stainless steel teaspoon can be made into a fishing spoon:

Of course, some will use a grinder (protective eye-wear vital) to cut down the sides to get a narrower profile, and others will saw off and smooth down -- a lot of work -- to get much the same effect. I have found that the spoon handle also makes an effective lure, just give it a rather gentle S-bend. (A knife handle makes a good jigging spoon or heavy-weight casting spoon.)

If we are going that way, we might as well instead use copper, brass or stainless steel sheet [in a pinch, cut copper pipe open to make sheet), and a ball-peen hammer, with maybe a hard-wood base gouged out to give the desired profile. For reasonable fish, 1/2 - 1 inch is good enough for pan sized fish and 1 - 2 inches would cover quite considerably sized fish. A 3 inch spoon, especially with grub and decorated hook, is a big lure.

As just hinted at, I tend to decorate spoon and spinner hooks with v. small -- perhaps 1 inch -- plastic grubs. (I recall the day early in the volcano crisis here that I was playing around with a 000 sized Drone spoon so decorated on a very light spinning rod, when BOOM, a Jack Crevalle the size of a soda bottle flat -- probably 15 lb -- blew up on the spoon, and then took it all away, as I had been fishing without a serious leader.)

Lessons learned!

A few "frugal angler" ideas to stir the imagination -- and great father-son or father-daughter family fun fishing projects. END