As the name implies, the primary component of a wire bait is wire! The wire is twisted to create bends and eyes, and a body, blade, skirt, hook or other component is added. Depending on the size of the final lure, the type of wire bend, and the components used, the resulting lure can be used to catch bass, walleye, muskie, pike or crappie in virtually any fishing situation. Variations in wire bait construction include wire diameter, blade shape and size, dressings, color, components, and wire shape.
Wire baits are loosely grouped into the following categories: spinners, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits. Each type of wire bait performs best under specific conditions and with particular species of fish. Please consult the Tips & Research section of this website for a full explanation of uses and design considerations for each type of wire bait. Additional information is also available in the Charts & Research section.
To start making your own wire baits, please follow the directions below.*
How-To Guide: Wire Baits
2 1/2″ In-line Spinner w/ Single Colorado Blade
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace
Before you start, you will need to locate and prepare a suitable workspace. Clear wire baits (those that do not involve molding a lead head to the wire) are the easiest baits to make and don’t require significant cleanup after the project. Nevertheless, you may spill paint or drop tiny wire pieces and you should take this into consideration when selecting your workspace.
Once you settle into your workspace, gather the necessary tools and materials and organize them on your workbench. Lock the door to prevent any disturbances and wear your safety goggles.
Tools & Supplies:
- 6″ .024 Forming Wire (stainless steel)
- Size 1 Colorado Spinner (preferably nickel or painted)
- Three (3) Size 3/16 Beads (preferably brass)
- Two (2) Unis (tiny smooth metal beads)
- Size 12 Treble Hook (preferably Mustad)
- Size 1 Stirrup Clevis
- Round Nosed Pliers (both arms are rounded)
- Wire Cutters (sharp scissors will also work)
- Split Ring Pliers
Step 2: Create Your Wire Shafts
Every wire bait begins with a wire shaft. Wire shafts are available in all shapes, sizes and styles from commercial suppliers (i.e. Stamina), but in this exercise we will create our own.
To create a wire shaft, cut a 4″ (inch) strand of wire from your wire bundle. Although the actual size of the spinner we are creating is 2 1/2″, we will need the extra inch and a half for bending and accident recovery.
Hold the round nosed pliers in your dominant hand and the wire shaft in the other hand. Grasp the wire with the round nosed pliers about 3/4″ away from the tip of the wire as shown in the following diagram:
NOTE: For the sake of clarity, the position of the pliers is shown using two black lines.
Next, make a slight bend in the wire to bring the tip of the wire down 30 degrees. This bend starts your loop.
Now, bend the wire upward and roll it around one arm of the round nosed pliers to form a loop. This action is shown in the following diagram. (The pliers are shown head-on for clarity with the arms of the pliers represented with two black dots).
Finally, wrap the tip of the wire around the shaft. Wrap the tip around the shaft one more time and cut the tip off to snug the wrap. The completed closed eye wire shaft should look like this:
Step 3: Add The Components
After you have made a closed eye wire shaft, you are ready to add the spinner blade. There are a couple rules that must be followed to insure that the blade does not “bind” (get stuck) to the shaft or other components. These rules are as follows:
- Always attach the blades so that they hang toward the tail end of the spinner
- Always attach the blades so the convex (bowed-out) side of the spinner faces away from the wire shaft
- When using a clevis, make sure it is large enough to allow the top of the blade to rotate without binding against the wire shaft
- When using a clevis, always place a tiny bead (“uni”) above and below the clevis on the wire shaft to prevent the clevis from binding with other bait components.
Now that you know the rules, let’s put on our blade (Follow along in the diagram below).
- Hold the metal shaft upside down so the eye is facing the floor.
- Slide a small uni onto the shaft so that it rests up against the eye.
- Slide the clevis partially onto the shaft. Slide the blade onto the clevis.
- Slide the clevis completely onto the shaft.
- Slide another small unit onto the shaft so that it rests against the clevis.
- Slide the beads onto the shaft.
- Slide the hook onto the shaft.
- Twist the wire back around the shaft a few times to secure the hook.
- Clip off any excess wire.
Step 4: Experiment!
Now that you know the basics, start playing around with multiple colors, new bodies, different blades, etc.