I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

• Repair a Lake Fork Pig Claw

Hooksets may be free when fishing with jigs, but jig trailers are not. Lake Fork Pig Claws have been my trailer of choice for some time now, but they are only sold in a few select tackle shops in the area. So when one gets damaged, I try my best to make it last a little longer. One way to breathe new life into a soft plastic is to patch the hole. A popular way to patch up a damaged soft plastic lure is to use some extra plastic from another plastic lure that is beyond repair.

For some reason, the Zoom Horny Toad is made of plastic that patches other lures quite well. There must be something different about the composition of the plastic Zoom uses to mold Horny Toads. It melts uniformly and forms a durable patch. At some point, many of my toads lose their legs in battle making them ineffective as a topwater lure. If you are like me and have toads that are out of commission, put one of them to good use by sacrificing it to the soft plastic gods. One toad contains enough plastic to provide numerous patches.

I have provided a couple of photos to give you an idea of what I'm working with. You can see the ripped plastic in the middle of the Pig Claw in the photo. That is what I need to patch up. I use a knife blade and a lighter, so safety first kids. You will also want to do all of this work in a well ventilated area or outside so as not to inhale the fumes.

First I take a knife blade that I don't care much about. Melted plastic often sticks to the blade and can even stain the metal after only a few applications. Use the blade to cut out a small chunk of black plastic from the sacrificial toad. The best size to cut for patching this particular hole is no larger than the diameter of a penny. I almost guarantee that you will have some residual plastic left over. You won't need to use all of it, but because you won't be able to melt it down completely before the flame goes out, it's best to overshoot the required amount.

You will also need a suitable burning surface. I have a spare piece of siding that I do all my melting on.

Place the chunk of plastic on the burning surface and light it until it catches fire. Let about 60-70 percent of it melt down. Again, avoid inhaling the fumes. While the plastic is still on fire, take the knife and scoop up some of the melted plastic and apply it into the open tear in the Pig Claw. The idea is not to apply a band-aid, but to fill the defect. Press the damaged section together so that the sides of the hole adhere to the melted plastic. Smooth out what you can with the knife before the flame goes out or before the plastic cools down too much. It will cool quickly. The end result will give you a much firmer section of plastic to run a hook through. In my experience, the two important steps are to make sure you apply the patch into the hole and not just along the outer surface and then make sure the piece of plastic is still on fire when you apply it. Those two key steps will result in a more reliable patch.

Smooth out any additional rough spots by running a flame over it so it melts uniformly. Alternatively, you could heat the blade and press it across the uneven plastic. If you do heat the blade, take care not to burn your hand when the metal gets hot. Should the flame go out early, the plastic you melted ends up being pretty useless. Let it cool and cast it aside in favor of a new piece. Do the same for any other damaged spots. I typically have to apply patches at the hook entry and exit points.

Make the patch as thick as you need and you're good to go. It doesn't have to be perfect. An uneven patch won't change the way the Pig Claw moves. You just need something that will hold on to the hook.