Simple screws and hook hangers will work well on lures designed to catch smaller fish, but the bigger and stronger species will required baits with “through-wire” construction. Through-wire construction is a method of attaching plug hardware to an internal wire rather than screwing it into the body. This design can withstand violent strikes from heavy fish that would pull normal screwed-in hardware right out of the lure.
How It’s Done
Step 1. Drill Center and Hook Holes
To make a through-wire lure, use a long drill bit to drill a small-diameter hole through the body of the lure from the nose to the tail. After you have completed this small hole, use a wider drill bit to drill hook holes in the bottom of the plug at the spot(s) where you want to attach your hooks. These hook holes should meet the smaller-diameter hole at a perpendicular angle as shown in the diagram to the right.
Step 2. Create Hook Hangers
Next, you’ll need to create hook hangers to attach your hooks to the through-wire. You’ll need one for every hook except the tail hook. To do this, take a piece of wire 5 times the length of your hook hanger holes and string it through your hook. After the hook is centered on the wire, shape it as shown in the image to the right. Press the ends of the wire firmly against the body to close the loops at the top. You can also double-loop the tops of the hook hanger for additional strength if you are using thin wire.
Step 3. Add Wire
Now you’re ready to add your through-wire. Create a loop at one end of a long piece of wire (the wire should be at least 2 1/2″ longer than your lure). String the wire through the small center hole from tip to tail, running it through your hook hangers on the way. Each hook hanger should extend at least 1/8″ out the bottom of the hole (if they don’t, redesign your hook hangers to make them longer). Pull on each hook to make sure that the wire caught each hook hanger on its way through. Place a treble hook on the piece of wire extending from the tail and then loop the wire around the hook to form an eye at the tail of the lure.
Step 4. Fill in the Hook Holes
After you have run the wire and attached the tail hook, you can fill in the holes around the belly hooks. To do this, insert epoxy or a similar filler into the holes and allow it to dry. As it’s drying, position the hook hangers so they are in-line with the body of the lure. Keep them in this position until the epoxy dries.
Step 5. Paint the Lure
Now your lure is ready for painting. Tape off the hooks and hardware and paint your lure.
Don’t Add the Treble Hooks
Many anglers prefer to use a split ring between the hook hanger and the treble hook. If you plan on using split rings, follow all of the instructions above but do not add the treble hooks. You can then add the hooks later using split rings.
Side to Side Variation
If you do not plan on adding a tail hook to your lure, you can use an alternate method of running your through-wire. Instead of running the wire tip to tail, run two side to side wires. To do this, drill two holes through the body from one side to the other. Drill your hook hanger holes so each one touches one of the side to side holes. Add your hook hangers and hold them in place by running a small wire through from one side to the other. The wire should be slightly shorter than the width of the lure. Fill in the tips of all wire holes with epoxy to hold the through wires and the hook hangers in place.