Over the years I've made a lot of my own lures. Included in this would be spinnerbaits, jigs, buzzbaits, topwater plugs and probably a few other things that I can not remember right now.
My favorite baits to make are spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. I never get tired of making these types of lures because they just plain catch fish. Year in and year out, the spinnerbait is probably my most productive lure under a variety of conditions.
It does not matter whether I'm fishing at night or during the daytime, I always have at least one of my rods rigged with a spinnerbait. Most times, I'll actually have two rods rigged with spinnerbaits of different sizes and color schemes, just to cover a variety of conditions.
There are two primary components that make a spinnerbait good and help it attract and catch fish. Those two components would be the blades and the silicone skirt.
Spinnerbait blades come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colors so they can make a huge difference in how the spinnerbait behaves in the water. Bigger blades will be paired with heavier baits and different color blades can be used in varying levels of water clarity.
In addition to the blades, spinnerbait skirts are an integral part of what makes the spinnerbait attractive to fish in the first place. Silicone skirt materials come in an unbelievable variety of colors that range from translucent, natural-looking colors that resemble baitfish, to gaudy, bright colors that attract strikes from a reaction perspective.
Years ago when silicone skirt materials first hit the market, I tended to stay away from them because they were unproven as fish catchers and they also seemed to have less of a fluttering action in the water when retrieved. I preferred living rubber skirts because they had been around for a while and they were proven fish catchers.
Nowadays I have complete confidence in the modern silicone skirt materials. They've proven themselves to me. Additionally, if these skirts are properly constructed, they'll have a fluttering action that's comparable to the old living rubber skirts.
As these new skirts and materials evolved and became more popular, the manufacturers started developing new colors that increased the productivity of these baits and made them more fun to fish with.
The addition of scale effects and glitter made them live live bait fish more closely, giving them an edge over the old rubber skirts with regard to their likeness to natural forage fish that gamefish typically prey on.
It was not long before I was building a large number of my spinnerbaits and buzzbaits with factory-made silicone skirts or buying the silicone skirt materials in bulk and making the skirts myself.
As I got more into making my own skirts, I found some color combinations that worked well for me that were not available in the pre-assembles skirts available from the sellers I bought my lure parts from. This is a huge advantage for me when I fish competitively because I can now throw lures that have unique color combinations.
This helps to set my lures apart from the other anglers slightly. Sometimes just a subtle difference in color can make the difference between catching fish and just going fishing.
So what do I look for when I buy my silicone skirt materials?
Price is one consideration, but more importantly I look for a good variety of colors available from one vendor. If a vendor has only a few colors and I have to go elsewhere to find additional colors, I end up paying more because now I have to pay shipping charges on multiple orders. This can get expensive in a hurry.
So I will always look for a supplier with as many colors available as possible. The more colors in their inventory, the better I like it. Sometimes it's worth paying a slightly higher price to have access to a larger inventory of colors and to work with a reputable dealer.
When it comes to quality, most of the silicone skirt materials on the market are made by just a few manufacturers, so you're getting the same quality product from different suppliers.
All in all, once you get used to making your own spinnerbait skirts, you'll never buy factory-made skirts again.