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Pirking’s deadly accomplice

by David Proudfoot

The humble Norwegian eel design may be older than the hills but this unassuming lure is ideally suited to fishing above a pirk. What they lack in looks and finesse, they make up for in unflinching longevity, and they are easier to make than you thought.

There are imitation plastic eels that excel at tempting pollack and cod on long flowing traces, and then there are those best placed to catch the same fish on a pirking rig. Normally fished in conjunction with a pirk, the long-established Norwegian-style eel or ‘Gummi-Makk’ is one such simplistic lure.

Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Despite the availability of a massive array of more realistic and aesthetically pleasing artificial eels of largely British and French origin, the basic Norwegian eel remains the preferred rubber accompaniment of many skilled and experienced Scandinavian pirk anglers. These rudimentary but highly functional artificials are mainly used as additional ‘high’ fliers strung around two feet apart above a pirk, as you might otherwise do with a muppet. A Gummi-Makk can also be used as a secondary hook on the pirk itself.

The big advantage this mature lure has over modern soft baits such as shads and jellyworms is that it’s virtually indestructible. Unlike the latest soft baits, Norwegians are shred-proof, and the rubber sleeve is exceptionally robust on the specially shaped hook. In fact, just about the only way these lures will be put out of commission is if they get terminally snagged on the wreck or reef.

Body swerve

The combination of an integral swivel and a pronounced bend in the long shank of the hook, gives these eels a ‘swerve’ action when drawn through the water. This enticing trait is plain to see, and unaffected by typically short 6 inch snoods on which they are normally presented. Best results are achieved when jigging with a pirk on the bottom.

Fish often attack the top of the pirk missing the treble hook altogether. Another trick pinched from Scandinavian anglers, is to attach a Norwegian eel to the top split ring of pirks to increase the hook-up ratio. It is also perfectly feasible to substitute the treble hook on the bottom of the pirk for a coloured Gummi-Makk.

Highly effective commercial cod jigging machines, which are extensively used in Faroese and Scandinavian waters, carry strings of heavy-duty Norwegian eels produced specifically for this rough-and-tumble arm of the commercial industry. Eels strung above a pirk can be real ‘volume’ pullers capable of returning impressive numbers of fish. This approach is often derided as unsporting. However, there is no disputing this method’s effectiveness when fish are present in sufficient numbers.

Particularly cod, coalfish and pollack snap up Norwegian eels with relish, and making a boxful of your own rubber fancies is easy, inexpensive and not especially time consuming. Some anglers have a preference for constructing their eels with a straight hook, while others swear by the proper ‘Rubber Eel’ hooks produced by Mustad. The Mustad hooks, and a vast selection of coloured and luminous tubing are carried by UK Hooks.

Follow the picture sequence below to create your own Norwegian rubber eels

With the right materials, deadly Norwegian rubber eels can be made in no time at all

Step 1 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

You will need PVC tubing for the eel body, Mustad 2363AD rubber eel hooks and good quality crane swivels

Step 2 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Note the kinked shank and open eye of the special 2363AD ‘rubber eel’ hook

Step 3 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Cut a 140mm/5 ½ inch length of tubing. Use scissors to start cutting and angled ‘tail’ in the end

Step 4 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Pare the ‘tail’ end into a 25mm/2 inch long diagonal chamfer through the tubing. The chamfered sleeves for the eel bodies should look like this

Step 5 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Take a hook and cradle a swivel in the open eye. We’ve selected a 6/0 rubber eel hook which has a gape matching that of a standard 4/0 hook

Step 6 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Using pliers to squeeze the eye shut to permanently contain the swivel

Step 7 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Take the un-tapered end of a pre-cut tubing sleeve over the point of the hook. Work the sleeve around the bend of the hook and up towards the captive swivel

Step 8 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Push the sleeve up over the barrel of the swivel. Ideally the sleeve should have to be forced over the swivel where it should grip securely

Step 9 - Pirking’s deadly accomplice - the Gummi-Makk

Your finished Norwegian eel should look like this

 

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