Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Made some other form of traditional fishing tackle.
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Stour Otter
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Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Stour Otter »

Editorial from ANGLING, Written by anglers for anglers - February,1977 Price: 35p

Making "Willow-leaf Bar Spoons"
By Dave Steuart

WHEN I WROTE OF CHUB FISHING recently, I stated how simple it was to make willow-leaf bar-spoons.
The only tools necessary are, a pair of long-nose pliers with a cutting edge to chop wire, a pair of metal snips or very strong scissors, a file, a hammer, and a power or hand drill. Materials required are one, two or three thicknesses of wire, (the reason will become obvious late) some beads or plastic tubes, a few sizes of barrel leads, treble hooks, and sheet brass or copper -- any scrap that is of a suitable thickness.
I think the secret of the fast-revolving bar-spoon, is what I call (incorrectly?)* the U-piece. Spoons attached directly to a bar do not spin so fast, and worse, they considerably increase the "kinking" factor of revolving spoons. For convenience I have sketched and named the composite parts of a bar-spoon.
Usually I cut a few blades out first with the snips, file the edges smooth, and drill the holes for the insertion of the U-piece, and then, with the hammer (preferably one with a "ball" end), I tap the blades on a softwood block until they become concave. Next step is to make an equivalent number of U-pieces. There are three ways of making these, and I will start with the method I consider to be the simplest, and which is also the method that needs three different thicknesses of wire. A fine steel wire is for making U-piece, a medium steel wire for making the bar, and a slightly thicker one is used as a "gauge wire". The fine wire is wound around the gauge wire to the shape shown in sketch 1. When the gauge wire is withdrawn, the U-piece will fit loosely on to the thinner wire of the bar.
Another way of making U-pieces is to drill a series of holes in sheet metal, cut strips, and finally the little U-blanks which can be curved to shape as in sketch 2. I find removing the sharp edges of U-pieces made in this manner, both fiddly and tedious. If you make this sort of U-piece you only need the one thickness of wire to make the bar, and can use the same metal sheet that is used to make blades.
A third way of making U-pieces is to fold brass washers around the gauge wire to the shape in sketch 3. Obviously when the gauge wire is withdrawn, the resulting U-piece will revolve freely when placed on the bar.
The next operation is to attach a treble hook to the bar. It can be attached loosely as shown or, if preferred, the bar wire can be taken through the eye of the treble, then between the hook bends, and back through the eye. If then wound for a couple of turns and snipped off, a rigid hook fixing is obtained.
It is then simply a matter of sliding on a body of plastic tube for a light-weight spoon, beads from the wife's pearl necklace for a medium weight flashy body, (the variety of body material is limitless) or for a heavyweight model, some bar-leycorn leads serve well. I always put a bead either side of the U-piece, having first passed it through the hole of the blade, one more bead, and the final operation is to wind the top eye of the bar.

*The U-piece is correctly termed a "cleave", according to Tom Saville of Nottingham, who sells components for bar-spoon construction. Editor.
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The good angler is not the one with expensive equipment. Common sense, observation and trying to realize
what is happening above and below water will catch fish no matter what price equipment you fish with.
L.A. Parker - This Fishing 1948

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Duckett
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Duckett »

That’s really interesting. Some years ago, I made up a few of those from mostly recycled parts plus wire spines made from scratch. I wanted to try some with barbless trebles (as opposed to crushing the barbs as I’ve been doing for years) plus barbless singles. Trebles worked fine, singles not so well with lots of missed bites - odd, as I’ve never had that problem putting barbless singles (and singles shaped as trebles) on plugs and plastics.

Phil
From "... the wilds of the Wirral, whose wayward people both God and good men have quite given up on ...".

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Santiago
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Santiago »

First time I used the mepps version of the willow blade (no. 3 I think) I nearly caught a crested grebe, with the very first cast! I cast out under a bridge on the Kennet (no sign of any birds) and as I reeled in I felt a pluck pluck and as the lure came to the surface it was followed by a chasing grebe!
"....he felt the gentle touch on the line and he was happy"

Hemingway

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Olly
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Olly »

I think the 'plucks' are when the fish - Perch especially - are maiming the 'fish' by damaging the tail! Not taking the fish to eat.

I have watched perch actually doing the above in crystal clear water in a small pond in Thorpe Park. I think they do this before attacking to kill/eat. Or out of sheer devilment!

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Santiago
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Santiago »

Olly wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:34 pm I think the 'plucks' are when the fish - Perch especially - are maiming the 'fish' by damaging the tail! Not taking the fish to eat.

I have watched perch actually doing the above in crystal clear water in a small pond in Thorpe Park. I think they do this before attacking to kill/eat. Or out of sheer devilment!
The vast majority of the time they are. In fact, I have only had this happen to me the once, and I actually saw the grebe's beak plucking my willow blade as both surfaced.

Out of all of my spinners I rate the willow blade the best; especially in deeper slow moving water.
"....he felt the gentle touch on the line and he was happy"

Hemingway

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Duckett
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Duckett »

Olly wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:34 pm I think the 'plucks' are when the fish - Perch especially - are maiming the 'fish' by damaging the tail! Not taking the fish to eat.

I have watched perch actually doing the above in crystal clear water in a small pond in Thorpe Park. I think they do this before attacking to kill/eat. Or out of sheer devilment!
That’s interesting. I’ve not seen that behaviour though I have seen Bass follow a shallow diver plug and sideswipe it before trying to bite it. I have often wondered if they do that with small fish or if this was an “is this a fish because it’s movement isn’t quite right” behaviour!

Phil
From "... the wilds of the Wirral, whose wayward people both God and good men have quite given up on ...".

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Grumpy
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Grumpy »

I have often seen Perch chasing fry on the Severn at dusk.Its not unusual for the chase to start on one side and carry on right across the river,all the time on the surface.You can often see,and sometimes hear,the Perches mouth opening and closing.The end result is usually a foregone conclusion,dinner for Mr Spiney.I believe they are nipping at the tail of the prey to disable it,plus some devilment for the Perch!When dropshotting worms in clear water Perch can often be seen nipping the end of the worm until chomp,fish on!

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Olly
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Olly »

Fishing this little pond with its clarity was great. Learnt a lot about the species.

The perch were only interested in fry, or a spinner, in clear water. Groundbait/loose feed was fry! Hunting by sight.

Occasionally due to rain the pond would really colour up - that was the time to change to float fishing a lob. Hunting by smell/taste!

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Santiago
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Re: Willow-Leaf Bar-Spoons

Post by Santiago »

Often they attack spinners in small groups. I've seen as many as about 8 surface as my spinner comes up to the surface. And often as not, that's when one of them will strike decisively rather than just giving a pluck.
"....he felt the gentle touch on the line and he was happy"

Hemingway

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