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Capt. George Landrum
Flyhooker Sportfishing
Email: landrum@caboguide.zzn.com 



   When buying a new trolling lure the fisherman has many options.  Most tackle shops offer lures that are already skirted, already skirted and rigged and most offer just the lure heads.  A tackle shop that has employees who are experienced in skirting and rigging lures can help alleviate the expenditure in time involved with doing the job yourself, but for many of us the hands on aspect of the process is an important part of the fishing experience.  In order to get a new lure to run properly a fisherman must pay attention to three different areas.

1. The first area is the head itself.  It is preferable to purchase a head that is not skirted or rigged in order to determine if the lure is properly balanced.  This is especially true if you are purchasing the lure from a shop with which you are unfamiliar or purchasing a specialty head.  I have many heads that cost in excess of $100 each, and with that kind of money involved I prefer to make sure everything is as perfect as I can get it.  A very good method of determining the balance point is to string the head on three feet of line.  Tie one end of the line
to a fixed object and hold the other end so the line is level and tight.  With your free hand spin the head on the line and note the position where the head comes to rest. After doing this several times you will have a very good idea of how the head is balanced.  The balance point
is the section of the lure that ends up closest to the ground when spun on the line.  If the head is cut at an angle the balance point should be centered vertically through the high/low points on the face.  If the lure is not properly balanced it may run to one side or not have the
proper action, constantly spinning instead.  If the lure is flat faced or bullet shaped make a note of the heaviest side, as this will be important when skirting and rigging the lure.  When skirting the lure try and make the eyes, if any, or the demarcation line is using a multicolored
skirt, centered and at 90 degrees from the balance point. While this will not affect how the lure runs it is more esthetically pleasing.

2.     The second area where attention must be paid is the 1770028.jpg (11335 bytes) rigging of the lure.  When rigging lures the angle at which the hooks ride can have a profound effect on the lure's action.   Whether you run single or double hook rigs, fixed or swinging hooks, it is important to insure that the hooks help to balance the lure and still maintain the preferred hooking angle.  Pegging the leader will make sure the proper angle is maintained.  Place the hooks in the desired position then insert a toothpick in the leader tube so that the leader is wedged tight and the lure cannot spin.  Water pressure will keep the toothpick tight and ensure a constant, continuos balanced set.

3.     The third area to pay attention to is the setting or placement of the lure in the trolling pattern.  Many time I have seen friends follow the first two steps above then proceed to just toss the lure out in the water and let it out to the position designated for that rod.  If care is
not taken the hooks can and often do cock off the leader eye or worse, catch on the leader above the lure.  The lure should be set into the water so there is no sudden jerking on the leader.  If you ensure the reel is in freespool and the double line knot, if any, is through the tip guide prior to setting the lure there will be no problem.  Once the lure is in the general position to be run the distance should be slowly adjusted until the proper or desired action is attained. Many lures will run well only when pulled from a low angle, many only from a high angle and there are a few that can be placed anywhere in the spread and still run well.  Bullet nosed lures are the most versatile, and as the angle of the face cut becomes greater the placement
becomes more critical.  There are also some lures that have the leader tube offset on purpose.  Futa, Sevenstrand and a few other lure manufacturers have lures like this and step
one as described above will not work with them.  These lures can be placed almost anywhere if they have flat faces but those with cupped or angled faces must be pegged and positioned just as the rest are.  By following these three points any angler should be able to determine if a lure is properly balanced prior to purchasing it, fix the hooks to the proper attack angle and ensure the lure will run properly.  If you are lucky enough to have an excellent tackle shop nearby they can eliminate the need for doing this yourself, and there are a few mail order and on-line shops that carry only the finest balanced heads.  

Have fun, good luck and Tight Lines!

Good Luck,     Capt. George Landrum


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George Landrum