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October 26, 2001

Streamline Your Haywire

Use a metal washer to make tighter haywire twists, and make a quick-change lure rig in the process.

Change the way you make your haywire twists and you can create quick-change rigs for trolling lures. Capt. Del Dykes of the Reel Action in Honokohau, Hawaii, devised a simple wire-forming tool from a flat metal washer.
The washer forms a narrow eye that passes easily through the leader channel down the center of a lure. The thickness of the washer determines the width of the eye of the haywire. The washer itself aids in forming the haywire by providing leverage and a secure fingerhold.
The match between wire, washer and lure can be critical. Dykes uses #9 stainless-steel piano wire of 105-pound test to rig the skirted bullet jigs he trolls for yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mahimahi. A washer 1/16 inch thick creates an eye about 3/32 inch across (due to the double thickness of the wire). That's slim enough to pass through the 1/8-inch leader hole found on most medium to large bullet-heads. The length of the eye is determined by the diameter of the washer, but eye length isn't really critical. Pick a washer big enough to suit your fingers. Dykes uses 1 1/4-inch washers (so now I have something to do with the discarded drag washers from my 6/0 Senator reels).
You turn a washer into a haywire twister by hacksawing a slot along one radius. The slot allows you to withdraw the leader eye after it has been formed.
To form the eye, pass the wire through the center of the washer and bend it back across a radius. Lay the two wire sections next to each other and grasp them firmly with pliers about an inch from the washer. Twist the washer as you maintain a steady pull on the wire. When Dykes showed me this method, he did this much more easily than I could because my shoulder muscles weren't quite up to providing enough resistance. I beat that problem by grasping the wire 1/4 inch from the washer, allowing me to make the first part of the twist with very little effort. After the first rotation, I could finish the wrap easily by moving the pliers to a new position 1/2 inch farther down the leader. My eyes don't turn out as slot-like as his, but I fix that with a
gentle squeeze from my pliers.
Dykes finishes his leaders in the traditional way with four or five turns of a barrel wrap. The strength of the eye is in the twists, Dykes says. The barrel wrap just locks the twists and finishes the eye neatly. Dykes cuts his leaders 5 to 6 feet long. That's enough for fish like tuna and wahoo, and you can always snap on an extra length of heavy-duty nylon or fluorocarbon leader when marlin are around. He arms his quick-change rigs with a single, stainless-steel tuna-bend hook. To position the hook within the skirt, he adds spacer beads.
With this system, Dykes can keep all of his skirted bullet jigs in the same tackle drawer unrigged without fear of tangling. He stores the rigged leaders separately. To rig a lure, he uncoils a ready-made rig, runs the eye through the rear of the lure and snaps it to a trolling line.
After a fish is brought aboard and in the chill box, Dykes slides the lure up the leader and off the end. With a new quick-change leader, the lure is right back in action.

Jim Rizzuto
Kamuela, Hawaii