Bucktail Tuning Tip

Floppy hook...
     If you spend enough time chasing muskies sooner or later you're gonna foul up a bucktail when casting.  Or maybe you're a shore fisherman who's looking for a couple more feet when making a long cast.  Well this tip will help you stop fouling inline spinner baits on the cast and will make you're bucktails cast farther.  I first came across this modification a few years ago and have been shocked at how many anglers I know that don't take the time to make this modification.  They will tune the blades by bending them for more cup, bend the wire eyelet to keep the bait from rolling, and they'll spend who knows how much time trying to keep the hooks sharp, but they won't take 5 minutes to make sure the hooks don't fowl on the cast.
     So first off let's take a quick look at how this modification works.  For the example in the pictures I'll be using a Nauti Lures Blade Bait.  The heat shrink will be added to the base of the hook and over the split ring.  This allows the hook to stay straight when casting and the heat shrink on the hook itself keeps the skirt from getting in between the trebles allowing the material to pulsate better in the water.  The pulsating action of the materials helps to attract the fish so the more action, the better.
A bait, a blade, a little heat shrink, and a flame is all you need.
     To get started you'll want to gather up some supplies.  A pair of scissors or a knife to cut the heat shrink.  Your split ring pliers to remove and attach the treble hook.  Don't forget a lighter, torch, or heat gun to melt down the tubing (heat shrink).  Finally, be sure to move the tablecloth so that your significant other doesn't give you a lecture.
     To begin you'll want to cut off a small section of heat shrink and slide it up the hook.  This piece is just going to be covering the part of the hook where the trebles come together.  Slide it up on the trebles and apply some heat.  The heat shrink will...shrink, filling the gaps between the individual hooks.  This will keep the skirt material from getting caught in the gaps at the base of the hook.  The next piece of heat shrink (I use 1/2 inch) needs to be cut a little longer.  This piece need to extend from the hook shank, over the split ring, and onto the wire that makes up the inline spinner.  Don't add any heat until you get the hook reattached.  Admittedly reattaching the hook with the over sized heat shrink in the way can kind of be a chore, but I promise it will be worth it in the end.  Once you have the hook connected slide the heat shrink down over the split ring and keep the hook pointing up.  This will let gravity do the alignment work while you concentrate on not getting burned.  Speaking of not getting burned, it helps to hold the hook with a pair of pliers.  I've found that hooks make great heat conductors which isn't very helpful when you're holding on to them and applying a flame.
With both pieces applied it's ready to catch some fish.
     When it's all said and done it should look something like this.  The hook is held inline with the bait which allows for less fouling and longer casts.  It's a simple trick that can really make a difference.  Give this a try with one of your own lures or pick yourself a Nauti Lure online.  I think you'll find that it's definitely worth the time and effort.
     Tight lines.

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