During the time I fished aboard Katherine B with Capt. Peter Bristow in Madeira, he showed me quite a few tricks. One morning, while he was making up a single-hook rig for one of his new lures, I noticed he didn't use a heat gun or heat-shrink plastic to make his hook-set, so I started paying close attention to how he stiffened up his connection between the hook and leader.
After crimping the leader to the eye of the hook, Bristow picked up some electrical tape and bound it tightly over the end of the trace and partway down the hook shank. He then painted the tape with PVC pipe cement, the stuff plumbers use to connect PVC pipe. The glue dried within minutes, fusing the plastic tape into a solid, firm cover. The resulting smooth finish doesn't harm the plastic skirts in any way. I now stiffen all of my lure rigs with this method and haven't bought heat-shrink plastic for ages.
John Ashley / Cronulla, Australia