Making your own marlin lure from Naugahyde is easier than you think. The material also has some adva


If you’re a fishing lure geek, searching for the special marlin lure that has the X-Factor — a combination of colour, performance and size and weight — is a never-ending quest. When you do finally establish a quartet of relatively successful performers, it’s a tragedy when something untoward happens to one of your precious marlin lures.

If fishing in areas where the ‘razor gang’ — wahoo, mackerel and barracuda — operate, fishing lure skirt damage is the most likely occurrence. In fact, when fish with teeth are out in force, you can be left with no workable skirted lures in just a matter of days. This is why when visiting tropical regions the favourite fishing lures get left at home and the second 11 get called up. If they catch something worthwhile, then they too get elevated to favourite status.

Taking plenty of spare skirts to repair marlin lures is a sensible idea, as they weigh nothing and don’t take up much space, but a more robust form of skirt material is also worth considering.

As touched on briefly last issue, an alternative to rubber and octopus skirts is a cloth-backed vinyl called Naugahyde, which is popular for car seat upholstery and seats in high-traffic locations like public transport and fast-food restaurants. Aside from being tough and therefore somewhat razor-gang resistant, its weight and drag in the water can bring radically slanted lure heads back under control, especially on rough days that would otherwise see them skittering off the tops of waves and generally misbehaving.

The big online gamefishing tackle stores stock Naugahyde, but it’s easy enough to source from motor trimmers. It comes in a useful range of fish-attracting colours, some with metal flake, capable of fulfilling every lure skirting fantasy.


How to make a DIY marlin lure

You'll need the following materials to make a Naugahyde fishing lure skirt.

  • For this we’ll need
  • A lure head
  • Sheet of Naugahyde
  • Newell strip skirts
  • Waxed thread
  • Sharp knife
  • Steel rule
  • Pen


Step 1: On the backing side of the Naugahyde, use a pen to mark out the skirt ‘tentacles’, spaced about 10mm apart for big lures and less than this for smaller ones. Leave about 35mm at the top for the collar. With a sharp knife and a rule, cut along the lines to create the skirt effect.


Step 2: Wrap the Naugahyde around the top collar, with the skirt facing forward. Leave a slight overlap, positioned at the bottom of the lure head (the shortest side). Take a metre of waxed thread, leave a tail, and bind around the Naugahyde three times, pulling it tight into the top collar. Use the tail to form a pull-through, and bind over it three more times. Put the tag end in the pull-through and pull it under the binding.


Step 3: Trim the tag ends and trim the Naugahyde collar. As Naugahyde is quite bulky, we don’t use a full under skirt, just small strips of contrasting colour positioned at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees around the second collar. These can be bits of old damaged skirts, or strands of Newell skirts like this. Bind them on as you did the outer skirt, but facing towards the tail of the lure. This can be a bit tricky to do, so a tiny amount of super glue can be useful to hold them in place.

Step 4: Fold the outer skirt down and the lure is complete.

Step 5: If the overlap flares out a little, a dab of super glue will hold it closed.

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #435, January 2013.