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Rigs & Knots
How To Skirt A Lure Using Vinyl
Improve your trolling lure's action with vinyl skirt material
Vinyl is an excellent material for skirting trolling lures. Sheets of vinyl can be purchased in a variety of colors at upholstery shops, and scissors can be used to create lure skirts from these sheets. Heavy rubber skirts tend to bog down a lure head, and replacing them with lighter vinyl skirts will improve the action of the lure as it is trolled. Story and Photos: KJ Robinson
The materials needed include a sheet of vinyl, Newell skirts (optional for added color), 40-70lb wax-rigging floss, scissors, a knife, super glue, and a lure head.
Draw a series of straight lines on the backside of the vinyl sheet to mark the skirt legs. You can follow the stitching or use a ruler to make the lines straight.
When cutting skirt legs along the stitches, you can use an exact number of stitching lines to determine the size of your cut. Although this method requires patience and good eyesight, it will result in identically sized skirt legs.
When cutting the vinyl, always stop at least a few inches short of the end of the sheet to leave room for error when you connect it to the lure head. Depending on the size of the lure, the width of the skirt legs will vary. Cut wider legs for big lures and thin legs for small lures. Small skirt legs on big lures will tangle, and big skirt legs on small lures will affect the way the lure swims.
Wrap the colored side of the vinyl around the lure. Make sure the skirt legs are facing the front of the lure head. The vinyl sheet should end where the lure head meets the first skirt post.
Cut a slit in the end of the vinyl where it overlaps itself.
Starting from the marked slit made in the previous step, use scissors to cut down the length of the sheet parallel to the skirt legs along the stitching line.
Now that the skirt is cut and measured to the size of the lure, cut small strips from the Newell under-skirt materials to add extra color to the lure setup.
Spread the small strips out on the lower skirt post by securing them with super glue.
Once the strips are glued in place, use your waxed rigging floss to tie them down. Cut off any floss that is left over.
The next step is to attach the vinyl skirt to the lure. Wrap the colored side of the vinyl around the lure with the head facing the skirt legs.
The uncut material must cover the skirt post and the ends of the vinyl must meet evenly.
Once the ends are even, tie down the vinyl to the skirt post with your rigging floss. If the vinyl does not line up the first time, tug the two ends together to meet perfectly.
Take your knife and remove the extra material covering the skirt post. Sometimes this extra vinyl will make a bulky area when the lure is finished. Cutting it away along the floss will help the lure look and swim better.
Begin to fold the vinyl back towards the skirt post and over the lure head.
Pull the two ends of the vinyl together until they touch.
Turn the lure upside down to let the skirt legs fan out.
Take scissors and cut the skirt legs longer to where they extend to the bottom of the lure head. This allows the lure to track through the water smoothly and prevents the legs from tangling as often.
Cut a small piece of vinyl off of the big sheet. This will be used to connect the two ends of the vinyl skirt.
Super glue half of the vinyl piece to the inside of one of the ends on the skirt and let it dry. Do the same to the other side, making sure that the two ends barely touch.
Once the glue is dry, the lure is ready to fish.
Rubber skirts can impede a lure's action because they are relatively heavy. Vinyl skirts are lighter, giving the lure a more lifelike appearance when trolled. Many top captains, particularly in Hawaii, prefer skirting their large trolling lures with vinyl in order to improve the lure's action. Although learning to properly skirt a lure with vinyl takes practice to master, it's well worth the effort if you often find yourself pulling lures in calm conditions.
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