Many anglers steer well clear of snaps for connecting lures to the line. Cheap clips fail and anglers have a natural aversion to losing another $15 lure because of a terminal tackle failure. I can clearly remember watching a 5kg Murray cod swim off with a StumpJumper that was lightly hooked on the rear treble because the cheap clip I was using opened up and the lure slipped off. My fishing buddy just laughed at me as I stood there with loose line in one hand, camera in the other and a slowly disappearing cod sneaking off into the depths. Luckily we found the lure an hour later nestled up against some reeds, but more often than not the lure is gone forever.
From that point the search for a reliable snap to connect lures began. At the time we were fishing braid straight through to the lure while chasing cod and goldens. We didn’t need leaders because we were getting acceptable results and had absolutely no skill in tying a loop knot that worked in braid. Plus the trips to the dentist after biting through the braid were getting a little expensive. The only way to stop all the bills and keep our lures was to use a clip.
After a bit of investigating we discovered that game anglers really liked the Hawaiian-style snap because they worked without failing. So the search was on for a small Hawaiian snap that wasn’t rated for black and blue marlin.
A little clip from America came to our notice almost 10 years ago. It came in two sizes and the larger size was perfect for 15kg braid and native fish. The action was not the same as a Hawaiian clip, but it did borrow the concept and altered it so lure anglers could easily open and close the clip, making lure changes easy. It also happened to be very strong and did the job perfectly.
The Norman Speed Clip is a one-piece clip designed to allow anglers to quickly change lures on a lure casting rig. The clip has two torsion arms that when pressed, open the circular clip and allow a lure to be attached. When the torsion arms are released, the clip closes securely. The torsion arms do not open the clips by sliding them along each other, rather it forces the two clip arms to be pushed apart. This means there is little chance that a strong-jawed fish will be able to open the clip when you’re hooked up and it reduces the risk of metal fatigue causing a failure. It really is a simple and effective method of attaching lures.
The two sizes are the standard Speed Clip, which comes in a handy 10 pack and measures 1.5cm long with a clip diameter of 4mm, and the Magnum Speed Clip, which comes in a 5 pack and measures 2.5cm long with a clip diameter of 6mm. The smaller Speed Clip is ideal for strong actioned small lures like Custom Crafted Baby Extractors, Oar-Gee Pee Wee and the No. 3 StumpJumper fished on braid up to about 20lb, while the larger Magnum Speed Clips are best suited to bigger lures fished on heavier tackle. I use them on 20lb and 30lb braided line and find I have few problems, but if I upgrade to 50lb I start to get nervous about stretching out the metal on a tight drag setting.
Apart from being easy to use, the Speed Clips rarely fail. I can’t remember a time when I have actually lost a fish due to a Magnum Speed Clip failing on 30lb braid and a 4kg rod. I have seen a Magnum Clip get a little bent out of shape on a big cod hooked on 50lb and a 10kg rod, but the clip still held together long enough for the fish to be landed. I have only straightened one Magnum Clip and that was while trying to retrieve a deeply snagged lure with a Tackle Back. The Tackle Back had no trouble getting the clip, but the lure was not coming back and I was putting a heap of pressure on the clip through the cord attached to the Tackle Back.
The Speed Clips do not have a swivel on them and some anglers have said this is a disadvantage. Unless you’re using monofilament and a bladed spinning lure, there really is no need to have a swivel attached. All a swivel will do is add weight to the clip and adversely effect the lure’s action. Designed as it is, the Speed Clip has a perfectly rounded clip end and, unlike many other clips without this feature, will not track your lure out to one side on the retrieve or troll. They’re a very well balanced clip and can be used on surprisingly small lures.
Another feature I like about the clips is their material. While checking through my lure boxes to find a few Speed Clips recently, I came across a couple that had been hiding in the bottom of the tray for at least three years. After wiping the surface grime from them and snipping off the knotted line, I found them as good as new. There was no rust or any other sign that they had weakened in any way. I took them up north with me and tried them out on a few jacks and small barra, and to my delight, they worked just as well as on the Murray River fish.
Having two sizes is also a bonus. When I am fishing small lures in shallow water on lighter lines, I tie on a standard Speed Clip. If I am throwing around or trolling larger lures I opt for the Magnum. I usually convince myself I am chasing big fish so I mostly use the Magnum, but there have been times, like chasing Windamere’s golden perch from the bank, or trolling around Lake Eppalock’s flooded margins when a small lure and the standard Speed Clip have been my best friends. The smaller Speed Clip is also great in the estuary where 2-4kg threadline outfits are the go. The smaller lures, like the Deception Shrimp, Tilsan Bass and Rapala 5cm Shad Rap go perfectly with the small Speed Clip. If I was having a crack at true crocodile-sized flathead or a mulloway or a jack on a diving minnow I’d upsize the clip to the Magnum Speed Clip.
If you’re into tossing around spinnerbaits, then clips of any sort are not such a good idea. If the spinnerbait has an open eye you need to put a small piece of rubber tubing on the lure to stop the clip sliding down an arm. If its got a closed eye you can get away with a clip, but most anglers prefer to tie directly to the lure. The same applies to plastic anglers. Clips are just not necessary and add bulk to presentations that are often intended to be subtle.
I have seen saltwater fly fishers use the Speed Clip when chasing mackerel on fly. They use a small length of single strand and haywire twist the speed clip onto the wire and attach a big profile fly to the Speed Clip. It’s not a perfect system, but it has worked for my fly fishing mates.
Overall I recommend the Norman Speed Clips for anglers who cast and troll hard-bodied lures. If you’re fishing less than 50lb, then you can’t go too far wrong if you tie on a Speed Clip. It’ll save you time on the water, the clips are large enough to get tangles in lure retrievers and they’re easy to use. Norman Speed Clips are available at most tackle outlets and with a retail price under $10 they’re a small investment for some peace of mind on the water.Reads: 4521