Sunday, 4 September 2016

How to make bait spikes

Tools required to make boilie spikes - finished spike in red circle
Fishing tackle and especially end tackle can be as cheap as chips or ludicrously expensive. I usually buy reasonable tackle but when it comes to specialist carp tackle the cost seems to be off the scale. I can see how super sharp/strong Japanese hooks can command a decent price but when it comes to boilie spikes how can they cost so much money for a piece of bent wire?  Not wishing to be a cheap-scape I bought a packet recently to make an order value up to the 'free' delivery threshold. When I received them they turned out to be tiny, miserable looking things, and at £2.25 for 20 that is over 11p each. Okay, I know 11p is not a fortune but that is more than a lot of hooks, for a short (very short) length of bent wire.

Florist 'Roae wire'
28 or 30 gauge florist 'Rose Wire' in a reel cost as little as £2 a reel and will make more spikes than anyone could use in a lifetime. I had a fiddle around and using a small jewellers screwdriver as a former for the loop and holding the wire in a pair of pliers I managed to make some really quiet acceptable spikes. I tested these on the rigs Tim and I used, a week or so ago, and caught that 11lb+ carp on - Yes, I know Andy (the bailiff) landed it but the fish still took my bait sitting there held by one of my own spikes.

My home-made twisting tool
Now I know they work it was time to simplify the production of the spikes. I made a simple twisting tool from a piece of stiff steel wire. My piece  of wire was salvaged from an old magazine binder but I am a bit of a hoarder and have a workshop full of 'might come in useful one day bits'. If you do not have something 'in-stock' a trip to a DIY store will furnish you with a piece of piano wire of suitable gauge. My twisting tool is made from a piece of wire that is 1.9mm diameter. I may well make another finer one of say 1mm diameter to make finer loops for smaller baits, but for now, this one will do. The twisting tool is easy to make, just bend the wire to the shape shown in the photograph using a pair of pliers, file the ends square and remove any burr with abrasive paper. That is it unless you want to add a gripper sleeve (a couple of layers of shrink tube) to the handle, as I have, or add a bead on the end that makes it easier to pick up from a hard flat surface. 

Here is a step-by-step guide showing how I make my spikes...

To start I loop a length of florist wire over the tool and pull tight...
...I then move pliers close to the tool and twist once or twice to form a tight loop... 
...the pliers are moved away from the first twists and I then continue to twist while applying tension to the wire...
I continue to wire until it has taken on the desired form. This can be fairly tight for harder baits and a little looser for the slightly softer baits...
 When the desired form is achieved, the wire  is released from the pliers and trimmed to the required length
Making my own spikes is not only a lot cheaper but it enables me to make them to suit the bait I am using on the day. They are so simple to make and will save a bit of money along the way. I am not being penny-pinching but I can't deny that is a bonus. Now all I have to do is go and catch some fish using my home-made spikes that I can land myself!

Ralph.