Proper lure maintenance
Lure rejuvenation and proper storage: Trolling skirts are made from various types of plastics, mainly PVC, which are by nature hard and brittle. They are made soft by the addition of oils. These oils do not bond with the skirt materials and will continue to leach and migrate to the surface of the skirts, which has the effect of either making them feel sticky or stiff and sometimes brittle. If the skirts are sticky, stiff or brittle, then the oil content of the skirts has been diminished, and salt and other chemicals in both salt and fresh water will replace the oils in the skirt.
Skirt rejuvenation: Put the skirted lures in just boiling water and agitate them for around a minute. This removes any sticky surface oil and dissolves salt (cleans out the skirt). Dry the skirts laid neatly and flat on a towel in the shade. Spray with silicone oil and rub the silicone into the skirt. Use a high-grade pure silicone such as CRC 808. Don’t use cheap multipurpose or food grade silicone. Many furniture polishes such as Pledge or Mr. Sheen are high-grade silicones, but don’t use scented ones. Allow an hour or two for the silicone to soak into the skirts, and if necessary reapply another coat.
Long-term storage of skirted lures: For long-term storage, the best strategy is spraying the lures and rigs with silicone, wrapping individual lures in greaseproof or parchment paper, then storing them away from light sources. Storing the skirts by color and type allows for quick access later. Keeping the skirts straight in storage is another helpful tip. If the skirts are folded or bent when they’re stored, they’ll sometimes retain that shape. Some plastics don’t coexist with other plastics. Plasticizers chemicals that keep the skirts flexible attack a lot of other plastics. Sometimes high heat may even “chemically burn” skirts together. If you store lures in plastic of any sort, the lubricants in the skirts will migrate to any plastic or other lures the skirts are in contact with. Spray any plastic containers or lure bags with pure silicone to cut the migration down significantly. All trolling lure hooks have a steel and carbon content that will corrode in saltwater over time. Spraying rigs and skirts with silicone or other petroleum-based greases or oils will keep rigs in top condition for many years.
Additionally, you can store your rigs in breathable vinyl soft lure bags made by various manufacturers.
Options for storing your trolling lures: If you are looking for more durable storage options, companies like Plano and Flambeau manufacture hard tackle boxes specifically made for trolling lures. Flambeau Outdoors’ The Maximizer Bait Storage Box has two lure racks that hold over 50 large baits each – room for over 100. Plano’s Big Game System is made from durable “worm-proof” plastic that won’t chemically react and melt together with the plastics in trolling lures. It holds 40 baits up to 12 inches long. Boone Bait Company’s Lure Bag is made with a breathable vinyl backing and a clear vinyl front. Individual lure bags help to separate the lures to prevent skirts from fading on each other. No more tangled leaders!