Author Topic: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring  (Read 15475 times)

Offline Slimdog

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DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« on: Dec 20, 2011, 10:14 PM »
(Mods, please move if this is not in the right place...)

This is my attempt at a St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring.  The St. Croix design is one of the most sensitive on the market, but they are pricey at $8 or $9 a piece.  With the materials used below, one can produce a similar spring for about 68 cents in materials.  If was to include my time, I figure each spring costs me $1.90.  I have not been able to test these yet, but I did by a Light St. Croix Spring and they seem to “feel” very similar; my spring is probably more like a Medium Spring.

The Boring Stuff – Skip to “the Good Stuff” if you just want to see the process.

R & D Notes

Stainless Steel Leader Wire
After quite a bit of research, I found some info from another icehead that had made his own springs that used .016 diameter wire so I used that for my starting point.  I looked for a wire that was available in several diameters so that I could make springs with several different tensions to allow use with different weight jigs/lures.  I settled on AFW Tooth Proof Stainless Steel Leader Wire.  I went with #7, #9, #11 and #13.  It is my hope that #7 will result in a medium spring, #9 will result in a medium-heavy spring and #11 will result in a heavy spring.  Not sure what I am going to do with the #13 wire.

(Note:  I didn’t purchase the St. Croix spring until after I already had the leader wire.  A light spring uses a wire that is .013 inches in diameter, or #4 Tooth Proof wire from AFW.) 

Nails
I had a heck of a time finding suitable mandrels to use to create the coil section of the spring.  The opening in the rubber grommet that the coil slides into is 1/8 of an inch in diameter.  After a bunch of mind-numbing math, I found the following maximum diameters for mandrels for each spring:
#7 = .089   #9 = .081
#11 = .073   #13 = .063
When finished, the coil needs to be snug in the grommet, but not so snug so that you mess up the coil when installing or removing.  Finally, over the Turkey Day holiday I found suitable mandrels.  While digging around in my parent’s garage for something totally different, I came across an old mason jar full of miscellaneous nails.  Using digital calipers I measured somewhere around 976 nails and found a couple 3 for each different wire diameter.  They weren’t exact but they were with in a couple thousandths and at least 1 ¾ inches long.  Once I had my mandrels and started testing, I found that the mandrel I selected for the #11 wire worked best for the #7 wire and the mandrel for the #13 wire worked best for the #9 wire.  I have yet to locate a mandrel for the #11 wire.

The Good Stuff – Making a Strike Indicator Spring

Tools
Calipers
Variable-speed drill (very important that it’s variable speed for winding the spring.)
Nails, various diameters and lengths (these will be the mandrels for winding the spring.)
End or Side Cutters
Slip-Joint pliers
Round Jaw pliers
Tape Measure

Materials
Stainless Steel Leader Wire (#7, #9, #11)
Soft Glow Beads (4x6mm)
Storage Tubes



Chuck a nail in your drill so that there is approximately 1.25 inches from the jaws of the chuck to the end of the nail. 



Cut a 24 inch piece of wire and make a 90 degree bend about 5/8 of an inch from one end.  Slide this end in between the jaws of the chuck.



Slowly pull the trigger on your drill with one hand will applying slight downward pressure on the wire with the other hand.  This is where the variable speed drill is important.  Continue until the wire is at the head of the nail. DO NOT LET GO OF THE WIRE!  There is tension on the wire and you could be injured!  Slowly let the wire “unwind” to release the excess tension.  You may lose a coil or two, but not enough to make a difference.   



Remove the nail from the drill but don’t remove the coil from the nail just yet.  Bend the wire that will become the arm 90 degrees away from the coil.  Then make a 45 degree bend 2 inches from the coil.



Slide on 2 soft beads.  Then use round-jaw pliers to form the loop.



Trim the wire so that it does not extend past the 2nd bead. 



Bend the loop down 90 degrees from the arm of the spring.



Slide both beads up to close the loop. 



Here is a picture of the completed spring bobber.  Remove the nail and trim the coil to a finished length of 7/8 of an inch. Make sure it fits in the spring bobber holder before you make a bunch.



Offline Gamedog1

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #1 on: Dec 20, 2011, 11:34 PM »
nice work!.... :thumbsup:
We are where we are, cause that's where we choose to be.

Offline icejunky

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #2 on: Dec 21, 2011, 07:15 AM »
great post slim, and nice looking finished product.

Maytimes I see these DYI threads and the final product may do the job but just doesn't look great.. but this one looks great

surflizard

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #3 on: Dec 21, 2011, 07:20 AM »
Greast Post, thanks for sharing it with us !  :thumbsup:

Offline Slimdog

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #4 on: Dec 21, 2011, 08:27 AM »
Thanks guys!

BTW, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask!

Offline 1moslab

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #5 on: Dec 21, 2011, 08:52 AM »
wholly cow 2 days after getting half a dozen st croixs. :'( excellant post slim way to go thanks for sharing.thats what makes this site so great.

Offline CZMark

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #6 on: Dec 21, 2011, 12:14 PM »
That's nice workmanship.

Offline jchunter

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #7 on: Dec 21, 2011, 12:28 PM »
Thanks for sharing.

Offline HVFD14

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #8 on: Dec 21, 2011, 01:06 PM »
That is some good quality stuff!
  BE THERE!

Offline slipperybob

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #9 on: Dec 21, 2011, 01:53 PM »
Awesome!  :)

For more information read my MN nice journal

Offline bmxrider11976

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #10 on: Dec 21, 2011, 01:55 PM »
sweet! looks awesome, wil definiatly have to try and make one
USE A BOBBER!


Offline Gills-only

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #11 on: Dec 21, 2011, 02:28 PM »
  If your spring fits a little tight in your grommet, take a 1/8" drill bit and by hand insert into the grommet and turn by hand till it bores out the opening to fit correctly

Offline Slimdog

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #12 on: Dec 21, 2011, 03:55 PM »
  If your spring fits a little tight in your grommet, take a 1/8" drill bit and by hand insert into the grommet and turn by hand till it bores out the opening to fit correctly

Excellent tip, G-O!  I've lucked out so far...  :)

Offline Santo180

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #13 on: Dec 21, 2011, 04:00 PM »
Great thread!  Thanks for sharing your work.

Offline Ironeagle

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #14 on: Dec 21, 2011, 08:39 PM »
You my friend.. are bad ass!  :bow:


     
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Offline Marcum Man

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #15 on: Dec 21, 2011, 08:44 PM »
very nice, thanks for sharing......MM

Offline openingact

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #16 on: Dec 21, 2011, 08:45 PM »
Very Nice. Love seeing a DIY that not only functions, but looks good as well!

Offline snuffcan

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #17 on: Dec 22, 2011, 03:39 PM »
Thanks Slim, nicely done.

Offline icemantwo

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #18 on: Dec 23, 2011, 10:16 AM »
Nice!
A day without fishing is a day wasted.

Offline lefty2053

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #19 on: Dec 25, 2011, 03:24 PM »
Very nice work and write up. Where do you find the spring bobber holders? And how do they attach to the Rod?
<===Lefty===

Offline Slimdog

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #20 on: Dec 27, 2011, 05:18 PM »
Thanks, lefty.  The holders are actually size 8 single foot rod guides with a grommet with a 1/8" opening. 

Very nice work and write up. Where do you find the spring bobber holders? And how do they attach to the Rod?

Offline Zugunruhe

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #21 on: Jan 26, 2012, 01:05 PM »
First off Slim, beautiful piece of work there!  I balked this weekend at the price of the St. Croix bobbers ($9 @ Scheels!) and that was without the guide or the grommet!

What size (or diameter) nail did you end up using?  The one in the picture looks to be a paneling nail of some sort, I think I've got some of those in white...

With the #8 guide, do you remove the ceramic interior of the guide or will the grommet slide in as is?

Offline Slimdog

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #22 on: Jan 27, 2012, 11:07 AM »
First off Slim, beautiful piece of work there!  I balked this weekend at the price of the St. Croix bobbers ($9 @ Scheels!) and that was without the guide or the grommet!

What size (or diameter) nail did you end up using?  The one in the picture looks to be a paneling nail of some sort, I think I've got some of those in white...

With the #8 guide, do you remove the ceramic interior of the guide or will the grommet slide in as is?

Thank you for the kind words, Z! 

The diameter of the nail depends on the diameter of the wire you are using.  #7(.018" dia) wire ended up being a light spring and the nail I used had a diameter of .073.  And with the guide, I leave the insert in.

I finally got on the ice last weekend to try them out.  I didn't catch or really mark any fish, but was impressed with how they helped me "tune" my presentation. 

Offline Nutsicles

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #23 on: Jan 30, 2012, 07:55 AM »
Awesome! I'm going to try this. I really don't like any of the spring bobbers out there.

Offline gillyman

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #24 on: Jan 30, 2012, 08:30 PM »
Thanks a lot for the directions.  I made up a dozen lightweight out of #6 wire and another dozen out of  #9.  I had a large set of drill bits and was able to use them instead of nails.  It was easy to use the next size up or down to get the proper fit.  Caught the first fish on them today!
Thanks again.

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #25 on: Feb 13, 2012, 11:20 AM »
Nice,

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #26 on: Feb 13, 2012, 03:27 PM »
Well I bought the stuff to make my own springs this should be fun.

Offline walleye tattoo

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #27 on: Feb 13, 2012, 06:50 PM »
Question? does any one have a better mouse trap for a spring bobber I have St Croix  spings on all rods I keep them short 18 to 24 inch no need for a long rod as the spring does all the work. NOW the big bummer the line gets rapped in the spring and you have a cluster on the ice.


Live to fish forced to work

Offline gillyman

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #28 on: Feb 14, 2012, 09:19 AM »
Don't let it get caught in the spring.  then you won't have that trouble. ;)
Yeah, I lost a good fish because the 2# line got caught.  But I still think it is best way to go.  I have had other spring bobbers with tangle problems. 

Offline gemcityslayer

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Re: DIY St. Croix-style Strike Indicator Spring
« Reply #29 on: Feb 15, 2012, 01:55 PM »
Awesome job.  Very good work sir!

Not to hijack.. but yes, you can lose nice fish w/ spring bobbers that have the wrapped spring... (like the st. croix).  I have caught hundreds of fish though and only had it happen once.  A bigger pain is the line getting stuck in there while re-baiting, etc...

These style of bobbers are well worth it though.  Only way around it is to maybe design a wire like the "tripwire" from thornebros.

 



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