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You are here: TackleMaking Encyclopedia > Articles > Understanding Forming Wire
Understanding Forming Wire

Forming wire is the metal wire used to create spinnerbaits, in-line spinners, buzzbaits, wire leaders, and other pieces of fishing tackle. Wire selection is based on diameter, material, length, sturdiness, shape, and test.

Selecting the Correct Wire Diameter (Size)
The diameter of forming wire used for making freshwater wire baits generally ranges from .024 to .031. Smaller and larger wire sizes are available, but are primarily used for leaders or saltwater tackle. You should select a wire diameter that is as small as possible but sturdy enough to handle your fishing conditions without getting damaged. If you're building a lure for huge largemouths, stick with a larger diameter. If you're fishing for crappie, the smaller diameter wire will work better. The graph at the right shows this relationship at a glance (figure 1).

Selecting the Correct Wire Material
Performance levels vary greatly between types of wire. Softer metals (brass, copper, gold, etc.) provide stronger vibrations during retrieve, but are easily damaged by fighting fish, underwater debris, and during the formation of the bait. Harder metals (steel, silver, titanium, etc.) can take more abuse, but don't flex as easily and thus cannot provide the exciting vibrations that attract fish to wire baits. Harder metals can be more difficult to work with because they do not bend as easily as their softer counterparts.

Selecting the Correct Wire Test (Strength)
The strength of the wire (test) is only an issue if you are building wire leaders for large aggressive fish. It is usually not a factor when selecting forming wire for freshwater wire baits because small diameter wires can hold large fish without breaking. As a general rule, consider a wire's test if you're building rigs or leaders...and ignore it for everything else.

Selecting the Correct Wire Sturdiness
The sturdiness of particular wire baits has become a hot selling point in recent years. One very popular manufacturer of spinnerbaits made a name for itself by marketing titanium spinnerbaits that retain their original shape after being thrown around by an angry lunker. The baits' ability to "spring back" to their original form relies on the sturdiness of the metal forming wire. If you want to sell your wire baits, you should consider using a sturdy metal like titanium because consumers are more likely to purchase them. If you're building lures for your own use, don't worry about the'll catch just as many fish on a wire bait that doesn't "spring back"!

Picking the Correct Wire Length
Simply put, you can never have "too much" wire. You can, on the other hand, ruin your project by having "too little". With this in mind, we suggest adding a few inches to the end of the expected wire length to insure you have enough to finish the job.

If you're buying pre-formed wire (wire that already has bends, eyes, or loops), we suggest you purchase a bulk package of the longest shafts that you expect to use. When you want to make a shorter piece of tackle, just trim the long shaft down to the size you want.

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