Get wired with James Niggemeyer

James Niggemeyer

Fall is on the way. That means it's time to break out your spinnerbaits. No doubt some of them need the hooks sharpened, frames straightened and skirts replaced. While you're doing all that, why not modify the skirts on some of those old lures to give them a different look?

 "Even the best baits can be improved with just a little work," says Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer. "One of the best ways is to retie the skirts with a short piece of wire."

 Niggemeyer begins with a high-quality, Strike King spinnerbait. He carefully pushes the rubber or silicone collar that holds the strands in place out of the way. He then replaces the collar with two wraps of soft, thin wire. If the collar is molded to the strands on your bait cut if off after the wire wraps are secured.

 Make sure the wire wraps are side by side — touching each other if possible — and twisted very tight against the head of the bait. Before you twist the wire make sure the strands are evenly distributed around the head. You won't be able to move them once the wire is tight. Trim any excess wire from the bait.

 The idea is to pinch the silicone strands, pulling them as tight as possible against the spinnerbait head.

 This simple modification allows the strands to flair out farther, away from the spinnerbait. It creates the illusion of more bulk and, at the same time, allows the strands more freedom of movement.
It might look like a small thing to us but it can be important to a bass. Pushing the skirt away from the bait makes it look better and flow smoother through the water. The strands ripple and undulate during the retrieve. It's absolutely captivating to a bass," Niggemeyer says.
A quality spinnerbait is a must. Cheap baits and cheap skirts can't take the cutting pressure from the wire. Old wire from your basement or garage is suitable so long as it's soft, pliable and thin. Copper works best but isn't worth the cost if you have to buy it. Use scrap instead. And the entire operation is easiest if you put the bait in a vice or at least hold it with a pair of Vice Grips.

Even with a good bait the wire will occasionally cut through some of the silicone skirt strands. Look at this as an opportunity, not a problem. Replace the damaged strands with a different color, something that will match the hue of the forage in your local waters.

Re-wire your own spinnerbait
1. First, carefully push the rubber or silicone collar that holds the skirt out of the way.
2. Next, make sure the skirt strands are evenly distributed around the head before adding the wire.
3. Use two wraps of pliable, thin wire to replace the collar. Copper is your best choice.
4. Twist the wire very tight against the head of the bait, pinching the silicone strands. The wire wraps should be side by side — touching each other if possible.
5. If the collar is molded to the strands of the skirt, cut it off once the wire wraps are secure.
6. Finally, trim any excess wire from the bait.

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