Building a Better Punch Skirt NW Style

I was first introduced to the punch skirt many years back and used it a lot over those years, from The San Joaquin River Delta’s periwinkle, hyacinth, cheese and hydrilla mats to Lake Roosevelt Arizona’s buck brush and trees and back to the Northwest’s lilly pad fields, Russian Olives, willow bushes, beaver wood and beyond!

The first real punch skirts I had ever seen came from Paycheck baits which I still think are the one of the best available skirts out there. But using them along with some other brands, I wanted more out of them.

The best features of the Paychecks were their punch hubs (what the skirts attached to) and the fact they are hand tied. The reason the hub was so good that it’s like a hard nylon material bead shaped with a slot in the middle of the hub which helps the skirt flair, not to mention the audible click when the tungsten sinker contacted it. The other companies had very poor designed hubs for their skirts which didn’t have the flaring quality of the original and the hubs themselves were way too long.

The color selections in my opinion were not the best especially  for up here in the NW. Most of the Paychecks had too many bright colors and if another company had a good color their hub was inferior.

The last problem was the durability of the silicone, after a days worth of fishing due to the places you are using these skirts at least one-third of the strands were missing, broken off by constant snagging on the cover and a lot of the inferior skirts were rubber banded onto an elongated hub which the skirts would eventually slide off the hub or the band would break.

This brings me to the beginning of making my own. The punch skirts were not cheap especially the ones I preferred (Paycheck) the cheap ones were just that cheap, I needed to make a more durable, long-lasting skirt, with The exact colors I wanted that could last a whole 3 day tournament or more and not just a 1/2 day.

So for the hard part the search for the right hub! I already knew that living rubber was going to be my primary material and silicone to provide my accent colors I already knew how to make a jig so only one last problem t solve. So solving problem number 1 was a hard one. Punch hubs were hard to find and the ones that were available were crap, I didn’t even bother buying any, I had to come up with a better solution. I knew what I needed was something small compact and have a barb or a groove so my skirt couldn’t slide or come off, then it dawned on me, and off to Home Depot I went!

You can see 2 punch hubs per splice…. right?

For years I have tied all my punch skirts on one half of a drip system irrigation splice! Don’t ask me how I came up with it (My mind works funny everything that I see gets twisted into how can I use it to catch fish) but It worked and still works to this day! By cutting and filing you get 2 punch hubs per splice!

By cutting and filing you get two hubs per splice!

If you want to know the size, I don’t really know I just buy the smallest ones, the size of the splice isn’t my concern it’s the number of fish I can catch on each one. I have never argued about what works I have only thought about how to make it better.

So now this takes us to the present, finally a company is offering a decent punch hub. Boss known for their jig heads is offering the best hubs I have seen. I don’t know if they will out produce my Home Depot specials but they are way less work and less time-consuming! One drawback I can see coming with them is that they are made of lead. Nylon against tungsten makes a good clicking sound, tungsten against lead makes a thud also since the lead is soft I could see hub distortion being a concern. Only time in the water will tell but so far so good!

Home Depot Special on the left Boss Punch Ring on the right

Okay we got the punch hub settled time to get tying! I am a big proponent of living rubber being all grades fine, medium, or large, the durability, matte coloration of the material itself, also the action and flare cannot be replicated by silicone.

Punch Hubs L to R generic plastic “build your own” hub, Eco Pro Punch Skirt light weight metal hub, Skinny Bear punch Skirt lead hub, Paycheck Baits polymer punch bead, Boss Innovations lead punch ring, Home Depot Special nylon polymer hub

Good luck only IMAGINATION is holding you back!

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  1. I have had a couple questions on a few items, pliers can be found at ORV Stores Aviation parts stores or Amazon and the same with the wire. Living Rubber can be found almost anywhere skirt making supplies are sold but I buy it from the Living Rubber Company.

    As far as attaching rattles, I never have added rattles to the skirt itself in the past. The size of the hubs I prefer (smallest hub possible because it shrinks the hinge points and length between top of the sinker to the end of the hook)
    Using the polymer style hubs there is an audible clicking going on the tungsten contacts the hub, but I have on occasion added glass rattles to my bait, especially when using a thicker bodies bait like a paca craw and dingier water.

    Most jig rattles out there especially the common plastic ones (example nunchuck style)aren’t sealed well and leak and don’t make much sound at all, they need to be checked constantly to see if the shot in side has free range of motion, and not rusted or if there is water inhibiting the shot to move freely. I know on numerous of occasions I have had only the rattle cylinder on my collar the shot and everything had fallen out the end for who knows how long.

    If you wanted to add this style though I would just cut the arms off leaving some of the old band and slide under my wire before tightening the skirt material down.

  2. Ron,
    You showed me how to build a jig skirt, always wanted to know how to build a punch skirt. Thank you

  3. Why does someone not make a decent nylon punch hub? The lead boss hubsxare good for non-finnesse applications, but if you are looking for light weight skirts for drop shot or finesse techniques, the boss hubs are not the ticket. I have seen punch skirts made on non-lead hubs, such as paycheck, but they do not offer their plain hubs. I think I’ll go down to HD and try your idea. Good job. I appreciate innovation and will definitely give it a try, Thanks, George