The Upper Lure Is A Stock Smokey Joe 7" Redfin. The Lower Lure Is A Modified Smokey Joe 7" Redfin AKA, "REDINGFIN
Over the past two + years I developed a way to modify just about any plastic lure you can imagine...with the exception of those that come through-wired from the factory. The idea is simple! Convert a non-through-wired plastic lure with weak hangers, cheap split rings, illogically placed hooks, no depth adjustment, and weak casting abilities into a lure that lacks in none of these departments...without negatively effecting the lures action or it's ability to catch fish. After two + years of testing, I'm confident I've come up with the solution which I will share will all of you here.
- Added Confidence! Especially in the lures that catch well but are poorly constructed. Everyone knows big fish eat small baits. The problem is, a lot of smaller lures are not built for big fish (weak hangers, thin wire hooks, cheap split rings, etc). Using this modification procedure changes all that!
- Through-Wired construction
- 100% foam filled. No more lures filling with water!
- Non-fixed hangers in the form of 130# Spo Swivels.
- The ability to create your own hook arrangement. Striped Bass anglers, get rid of that useless tail hook and add an additional belly hook!
- Adjust your lures depth by adding weight or adjusting the wire.
- Add the exact amount of weight, right where you want it, with the use of magnets (I will describe this procedure later).
- Replace weak, thin wire, inferior hooks with superior hooks like VMC 4X strong, without worrying about pulling hangers or splitting lures.
- Improve your lures castability.
- Replace tail hooks with bucktail.
- No more weak, cheap, failing split rings. You'll no longer need split rings for your plastics.
- Add new life to old, dysfunctional lures. This method will resolve just about any defect your plastic lure can have; cracks, splits, pulled hangers, etc.
The one and only disadvantage I've come across so far using this mentod is the inability to add an effective rattle. The modification will render lures with stock rattles, rattleless (if that's a word?) In any case, In my opinion, it's not a bad price to pay for the added benefits.
Below is a list of materials, tools and instructions for doing the modification. The example below is a typical 7" Redfin modification. Feel free to adapt these procedures to whatever plastic lure you like...provided it's not already through-wired. Some of the lures I've modified to date include; 5" & 7"Redfins, Top Guns, One Minus, 17A Bombers, 16A Jointed Bombers, 4.5" Mega-Baits, 5" & 7" Mambo Minnows, Creek Chub Pikies, and Windcheaters.
Ok, here we go...
- Nose/Tail Grommets, 0.152" OD (brass or nickel plated)
- Spro Power Swivels Size #4 - 130lb
- 2/0 VMC #9626PS Permasteel Treble Hooks
- 0.062" OD x 11" LG #304L Annealed Stainless Steel Wire
- Belly Grommets (5/32" Eyelets found at craft stores)
- Foam Sealant (Great Stuff)
- Epoxy (30 minute or 5 minute depending on how many lures your building)
- Propane Torch
- Drill Bits - 12" long 5/32", 3/16", 13/64"
- Round Nose Pliers
- Split Ring Pliers
- Bench Grinder or flat file
- End Nipper Pliers (used to snip the hook eye to fit over the Spro swivel)
Step #1 - Remove All Hardware & Hangers.
- Remove hooks and split rings.
- Heat hangers with propane torch until you're able to pull them out with pliers.
- Use a bench grinder or flat file to flatten out the tip of the nose and the end of the tail. You won't need much. Just enough to create flat surfaces for the nose & tail grommets to seat properly.
Note: This step should be performed in a well ventilated area. I do not recommend doing this indoors...or at least not in your house. I also recommend using a respirator to avoid breathing in any fumes created by the melting plastic.
Note: The rear hanger on 7" Redfins may need more heat than the nose and belly hangers. In newer style Redfins the tail hangers are longer then the nose & belly hangers.
Step #2 - Mark New Hook Configuration
- With the hardware removed, use a Sharpie to mark a dot on the belly where you'd like the hooks to be placed. Center your marks down the middle of the lure as best you can.
Note: Be sure the front hook doesn't catch the lip, and the two belly hooks don't catch each other.
Note: If you're doing a lot of lures, you may want to consider constructing a template to use for hook placement.
Step #3 - Prepare Locations To Be Drilled
Before drilling, heat up the tip of your icepick. Use the ice pick to start the holes. This will make the drilling process much easier. It will also ensure the wire is centered which will aid in the wiring process.
- Heat the icepick with a propane torch
- Press heated icepick into the nose, tail and belly hook locations. Center the holes as best you can.
Note: You don't need to insert the icepick too far. All you want to do is create a starter hole for drilling.
Step #4 - Drill The Lure
I prefer to drill the lures in two steps. You may find doing it all at once works best for you?
- Place the lure horizontally, belly up in a vice.
- Start at the nose with a 12" long - 5/32" drill bit. Use a slight upward angle to drill through the nose hanger anchor and the belly hanger anchor. You'll want to angle the drill up on a slight angle so you don't miss the center hanger anchor. The center hanger anchor begins at the belly of the lure and extends up about 1/2 way to the top (see image). The drill bit may pass over the top of the center hanger anchor if not drilled at a slight angle. If you miss drilling the center hanger anchor, wiring the lure will be much more difficult...if not impossible.
- Start at the tail and drill through the tail hanger anchor. You can drill through the center hanger anchor again if you like. Another hole won't hurt. If anything it may make wiring the lure a bit easier.
- Drill out the two belly hook locations using a 3/16" drill bit.
- Use a slightly larger bit 13/64" to drill a hole between the two belly hook locations. Go easy! You can drill through the entire lure if you're not careful. This hole will be used to inject the foam sealant.
- Remove any shavings from the body of your lure.
Step #5 - Wire The Lure
- Prepare two belly grommets by pressing Spro swivels though the centers (see image)
- Next take your wire and add a nose grommet
- Pass the wire through the nose hanger anchor, center hanger anchor, two Spo swivels and the tail anchor hanger. If you're not used to wiring lures, this part may take some practice.
- Use round nose pliers to finish the wire job
Step #6 - Epoxy Belly Grommets
- Apply epoxy to the lure around each belly grommet hole
- Press the belly grommet down. You can use your round nose pliers to round them off if you like.
- Use a rag to wipe off any epoxy that may have squeezed out during the process.
Note: You may need to use your fingernail to pry up the belly grommets enough to slip some epoxy under them.
Note: Use 30 minute epoxy if you're doing a bunch of lures, 5 minute if only a few.
Step #7 - Foam The Lure
You will need to have a plan for storing your lures after foaming them. The foam you will be adding expands as it cures. The expanding foam seeps out of every crack, hole, etc. The idea is to keep as much of the expanding/seeping foam from getting on your lures as possible. Foam sealant is a mess! It sticks to everything and destroys the lures finish. I built a drying rack that works well for me (see image).
- Remove the long extension tube from your can of foam sealant so the spout fits in the hole you drilled to fill the lure.
- Fill the lure by injecting foam sealant into the previously drilled hole between the two belly hooks. Don't go nuts! Remember foam sealant expands as it drys.
- Place your foamed lure in a rack, belly down.
- Use an icepick to remove any seeping foam that may curl up and come in contact with the lures finish.
- Allow the foam a day or so to cure completely
Note: While drying, foam sealant will drip from the lures. Don't do this in the house!
Step #8 - The Finishing Touches!
- Remove all cured foam that may have seeped from the lure
- Add hooks
- Add tail
- Take it for a swim