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Rigs & Knots
The Beer Can Lure
It's amazing what you can use to get a marlin to bite.
The best billfish crews are comprised of creative guys who like to rig up all kinds of baits. It's pretty amazing what you can use in place of an expensive marlin lure. Whoever came up with the beer can lure was no doubt astonished at its action when they saw it swimming. Put hooks in it or run it as a teaser, but it looks spectacular in the short corner position. You'll need an aluminum can, a length of chafe tube slightly longer than the can, foam, lure skirt, strips of Newell Slap Skirt, glue and waxed thread.
Punch a hole dead center in the cupped bottom of the can and slide the tube out through the drinking hole at the other end. To get the tube perfectly aligned, it pays to cut away the little collar where the pull tab sits.
Make sure to leave the tubing slightly longer than the can to avoid abrasion. The mono leader will run through this tube. You can choose to use a hook-set or just crimp a loop into the end if you'd rather pull the beer can lure as a teaser.
Tape the tube in position. If the tubing has a bit of a circular set to it from being coiled up, a length of thick wire will straighten it out as the expansion foam sets around it.
Following the manufacturer's instructions, fill the can with expansion foam and allow it to set. This will give the can rigidity and avoid crumpling on the bite. Don't go crazy with the foam though, because as the name suggests, it will expand dramatically as it dries. If it comes up a little short, just add some more when the first lot is dry. Any that spills out of the hole can be sliced off with a sharp knife once set.
The lip on the can provides a perfect spot to attach the skirts to. There is not a lot of wiggle room, so rather than using two skirts, cut some strips off the slap skirt for a dash of contrasting color. Attach each skirt section on opposing sides of the can with glue. Once the glue has set, binding over with waxed thread (split lengthways to lower bulk) will ensure they don't go anywhere.
Finding skirts that are the same diameter as the can might prove difficult, so vinyl sheets (which are undergoing a revival these days), makes a good alternative.
The final step is a matter of gluing the outer skirt in place and rigging the lure up with a leader for deployment. Again, binding over the skirt with waxed thread and glue provides added insurance. This lure / teaser has giant marlin written all over it, so stick to 500-pound plus leader.
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