BoatUS ANGLER: Bait and Tackle
by Capt. Steve Chaconas, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff
Finding a different look for recognizable lures is difficult. Using a discarded bait to revitalize a new look is rare. A chat with FLW Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre satisfied both!
Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, chatterbaits and jigs use skirts to change their appearances. Soft plastic tubes are discarded once torn or chewed up! Lefebre remembers in the early days of smallmouth fishing on Lake Erie when skirt colors were not all that creative or flexible. Today the pro actually makes his own skirts with a variety of materials, colors and patterns. Back then, he eyed his old tubes and began to use them on his skirted baits. Tubes come in many color combinations and aren’t just for Texas rigging anymore!
Lefebre uses his go-to tube colors on his favorite spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, chatterbaits and jigs! His tube skirts begin with a cut across the nose of the bait. Then he takes another discarded bait, usually a Senko and stuffs it into the bait about ¼ inch to where the tails begin. A drop of Pro’s Soft Bait Glue secures this plug into place. This plug also allows the skirt to stay in place, especially when placed above a skirt collar.
Once in place, Lefebre uses scissors to make cuts in the tube body. This is where he experiments with conditions. If the water is cloudy, the leaves the body whole for more bulk and visibility. If he is looking for more movement, he cuts anywhere from 2 to 8 slits and sometimes more. For less bulk, the Erie pro cuts the tube close to the glued in collar for a more lively skirt presentation without the tube body. Another drop of glue secures the tube skirt to the hook.
This is a simple process that gives a complete makeover to his baits and offers a unique look fish haven’t seen before, also changing the way a bait comes through the water. For example, removing the skirt from a buzzbait and replacing with a tube skirt, the Erie pro will sometimes leave the body whole to provide a bigger target but also to help make the bait more buoyant, making it easier to keep the buzzbait on the surface. Or he can cut the rest of the tube body off the tube skirt. He does this for jigs and swim jigs like chatterbaits to add a craw trailer instead of the tube body.
In any case, change is good! Using tubes to enhance skirted baits makes sense to get the identical colors used for standard Texas rig or insert head tube fishing. As for used tubes, recycling makes change better! Start saving your old tubes to give your baits a new look!