Build Your Own Tube Lures

Learn how to craft your own tube lures for marlin and more.
Glen Booth
After reading Jim Rizzuto's seminal book Lure-Making 101/102, I was inspired to have a crack at making a trolling lure myself. While I'm not getting into this seriously it was definitely a bit of fun and not all that hard to do. Story and photos by Glen Booth.
The materials I used consisted of a 1.25-inch-thick wooden handrail purchased from a hardware store, stainless tubing (you can experiment with the thickness), epoxy, a set of hollow punch tools, rubber grommets, holographic tape and a short length of plastic tubing to run the leader through the lure head.
Having a workshop with the necessary tools will help immensely. Cutting stainless requires a specialized blade. Take your time when cutting the angle on the face of the lure and slide a piece of wood inside the hollow stainless. The angle on the face will determine how your lure runs. I linked up with the <a href="" target="_blank"> Men's Shed</a>, a not-for-profit organization that offers wood and metalworking shops for retired or widowed men.
Use a Dremel Tool to clean up the cut on the stainless steel tubing and put a bevel on the edges. Smooth out any rough burrs or nicks.
The polished tubes should be smooth and clear of any imperfections that may cut your leader or effect the way the lure will swim. Marlin lure trollers the world over are familiar with the 'tube' style of lure head, because that's literally what it is, a piece of tube with a bevelled face of varying degrees.
The next step involves using a lathe to create the lure insert which will be placed inside the stainless tube. For this lure, I cut two tail grooves. I will tie the skirts onto these collars.
Once the tail section of the lure is complete, you will need to drill through the lure head. The leader will run through this hole. Use a drill bit large enough to accommodate the appropriate pound-test you plan to use for your leader material and make sure to drill the hole dead center in the lure.
A drill press helps when creating a recess on the tail section of the lure for the rubber grommet. You want this recessed area to be dead center in the lure. If the line is offset to one side or the other, it will change the way the lure swims. Take your time and use a vice to hold the lure head in place when drilling out the area.
Place the grommet in the recessed tail section for a dry fit before securing it in place with some epoxy. You will also need to run a section of plastic or copper tubing through the entire lure head. This will provide a clean running area for the leader.
After cutting the wood insert to match the angle on the stainless tubing, I put everything in place to see how it fits.
You may need to file or sand down the wood to get a perfect fit.
When you are happy with the fit of the wood insert, you can begin the epoxying process. Mix the two-part epoxy and have all of your pieces handy so you can work quickly. You want everything in place before the epoxy sets.
Coat the wood with epoxy evenly and slide on the stainless steel tubing. Let the lure head completely cure before moving on the next steps. This may take a few hours depending on the epoxy you use.
I used some holographic tape for the eyes of the lure. You can use a razor and stencil to cut out the circles, but if you have a set of hollow punch tools, it makes the cutting easier.
n the mid-1940s, pioneering Hawaiian skipper George Parker used some chrome towel rail offcuts from the Kona Inn, a dowel and skirts made from strips of outdoor furniture upholstery to create a tube lure. He caught a 500-pound blue marlin the very first time he used the lure. My tube lure swam well enough that I'm sure it will garner a few bites of its own.

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