Rocky Mountain Tackle has come out with a new dodger pattern they call Moonshine. It combines the popular pink splatter pattern with moon jelly tape. Reports are that people are being quite successful with it.
Now that I’ve been learning how to build my own dodgers I decided to make my own. For an added twist, I also made it glow in the dark. After all, I got to fill my dodger storage, right? Who am I kidding? I got to fill my second dodger folder, so it doesn’t feel left out.
The moonshine pattern has a moon jelly sticker on the dodger. Over that is a fluorescent colored stripe down the middle, then a random splatter over the rest of the dodger. The colors of the strike and splatter could be the same or different.
The Dodger Blank
Unless you are really doing this from scratch you’ll need a dodger “blank” and it’s associated hardware.
The easy way, especially if you only plan to make one or two dodgers, is to buy a suitable dodger at the store to modify, such as this plain chrome one.
But if you plan to make multiple and want to keep costs low then it is best to find a tackle supply shop and buy the individual parts. I get mine from Hagen’s.
In addition to the dodger piece itself you’ll need a swivel for the “top”, along with a split ring to connect it to the dodger. For the “bottom” you’ll need a swivel snap and another split ring.
Having a pair of split ring pliers can really be helpful when attaching those split rings to the dodger and swivel.
If you are unsure what size split ring and swivels to get then get out one of your dodgers and measure it. If the description of the item isn’t enough the printed catalog from Hagens has actual size pictures.
Personally, I buy into the “big ring” theory from Holiday Sports. That is having a larger ring at the “top” of the dodger, where it connects to the mainline. The idea is that this allows the dodger to swing easier since it can pivot more on that ring, and doesn’t lose energy to pushing that mainline back and forth in the water. I go one step further and downsize the “bottom” split ring and snap swivel, so that more energy is transmitted to the leader.
Moon Jelly Sticker
The first thing you need is some moon jelly tape. You can buy it online or your favorite tackle shop. Be aware that not all moon jelly tape is the same.
To make the stickers I used a simple paint program to make a dodger sized rectangle with rounded corners. Then using a Circut machine I cut the shape out. The general process I followed was similar to how I cut out stickers from lure tape.
Use some transfer tape to put the sticker on both sides of the dodger.
Adding The Stripe
This is very similar to how I made the pink splatter dodgers, with the exception that the stripe doesn’t have to be pink.
I wanted a solid stripe down the middle of the dodger. There are several ways I could have done this, such as painting it with a brush, or masking it off with tape and then spray paint.
What I decided to do was to have a stencil and spray paint it. I did this so the edges would be a bit fuzzy since the stencil doesn’t have to be held tight against the dodger.
For the paint, I used pink Rustoleum fluorescent spray paint, but it does come in other colors. I suggest avoiding the downward spraying marking paint. While the color is the same, I found those harder to control and would wind up with too much paint.
To make the stencil I used a simple paint program to make a dodger sized rectangle with a smaller rectangle inside it. Then using a Circut machine I cut the shape out of some manila folders. The general process I followed was similar to how I cut out stickers from lure tape.
I used some blue painters tape to attach the stencil to the dodger. The blue tape is important because it is less tacky than regular masking tape, so it isn’t going to pull off any paint when you remove it.
Once everything was in place I hit it with a couple light coats of spray paint. Once dry I did the other side.
Splatter The Paint
The brush needs to be dipped into the paint, which can be hard with spray paint. The easiest thing to do is to spray a little bit of paint into a container. I used a paper plate, which made cleanup easy.
I found there are two secrets to doing effective splatters. First is to have just the right amount of paint on the brush. The second is to have a good flick of the wrist.
To achieve the right amount of paint, first dip the brush into the paint and get it loaded up. Then do flicks on something else besides the dodger until the paint flecks are size you want. I suggest practicing first on some cardboard, although eventually I would just flick it into the same paper plate as my paint.
Practice getting a good flick. It should move the brush fast enough that the paint will fly, but end with a sharp stop so the paint will leave the brush. It makes take a dozen tries or so before getting the hang of it.
When you are ready to splatter for real get your dodger positioned in your painting area. I found it best to flick pain from the side across the dodger, rather than trying to do it along the longer length of the dodger. Make sure to do it in an area which you don’t mind a few flecks of paint, because it will go places you don’t expect.
Start with just a few splatters, since it is easier to add more splatters than to remove excess paint. Keep adding splatters until you are happy with the result.
After the paint dries, flip the dodger over and do the other side.
Finishing It Up
Now that the painting is done we can attach the split rings and swivels. Here is the final result.
Of course, we want to check it out under UV light.
I put the finished dodgers in my dodger folder for storage.
Building your own custom dodger with stickers and a computer cutter is easy and fun. It can also save you money, and let you create fishing tackle that is exactly how you want.
Do you make your own tackle? Please share what you like to make.