Walleye Crawler Harnesses: building your own, and where to buy clevises

Following a line from “Tool Time”, in this week’s tribute to crawler harnesses, the attention will be focused on the clevis. For the complete novice, which perfectly ok, the clevis is the part of the harness that allows the blade to spin as you pull it through the water.  It also protects your line from wear, and in some cases, to change your style or color of blade on the fly.  Side note, despite arguments to the contrary, size does matter.

For all intents and purpose for this section of the “tribute”, there are two types of clevises used while building crawler harnesses.  The folded clevis is made of metal, and as the name indicates, it is folded back upon itself.  This type allows the the blade of choice to spin freely around your line.  To point out the differences I will mention that there is another type of metal clevis, but it is a solid piece with a hole at each end, this type is strictly for use with metal wire.  Typically this is the clevis you will find upon spinnerbaits designed for bass, pike and muskie.  As previously mentioned, size does matter and in most cases you only need to have two in stock, sizes #1 and #2.  For blades sized #4 and smaller, then your choice of clevis would be the #1.  For all blades bigger, then the #2 size will get the job done nicely.  In a case of self-disclosure, this is the type that I use most frequently because I like to match up the bead colors to match my blades.  This is also the most secure type of clevis and unless the line fails or you are bit off, you won’t lose your blade.  If you are just starting out, and believe me, with the prices of pre-made harnesses,  each year, more and more people are building their own rigs, this is what a folded clevis looks like….


Next up is referred to as the “quick change clevis”,  made of plastic, this type allows you to snell a smaller of number of rigs, put on some generic bead patterns and store for future use.

 Notice the one at the bottom where I drew a small “x”, this is the direction you want it when you slide it down the line.  This allows the blade to rest in the bottom section of the curve and have a less of a chance of popping off.  That is the only drawback to using the quick change, the chance of losing blades.  You should fully inspect your harness each time it comes back to the boat, but take a good look at the plastic for signs of fatique, or the blade getting cocked slightly, which can also lead to it popping off.  Different sizes for these are a bit harder to find, and size #2 is the most common.  They come in a variety of colors; white, yellow, red and black,  but would say black and white seem to be the most commonly used.

You can find them at the following websites:




Copyright, 2012









About Mason

Born off the Detroit River, raised in Ida and on Lake Erie. Anything fishing holds my interest from Walleye, Pike and Muskie to a 10 year run on the Ice Fishing Circuits around the MidWest.
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