Tips For Making Fishing Lures

If you want really good-looking spoons, you can purchase dozens of blanks, already painted if desired, or plain, from the tackle places mentioned above, for next to nothing. Spoons are some of the cheapest lures you can use. It takes less than 10 minutes to hand-craft a great looking spoon.

Our next step up is the most successful bass lure of all-time, the plastic worm, and/or plastic bodies. All you need for these are a melting pan, molds, liquid plastic, coloring, and flavoring if desired, hardeners and softeners. All these can be found at the places I mentioned earlier. To make worms and bodies, you simply mix the pigment, flavor and sparkle with the plastic, melt it, and pour it into the molds. When the plastic sets (in about 60 seconds), remove the creature and drop it into cold water to finish hardening. That’s it.

Next up is the most versatile lure ever invented, the jig. There are two ways to approach crafting jigs. You can get a Hot Pot, and molds and make your own jigheads and sinkers, or you can buy plain jigheads and just paint and dress them at home. You can use scrap lead (but make sure it is pure lead, with nothing added), or buy lead ingots to melt.

A good source of lead that I use is to go to your local Shooting Range on a day when no one else is there, or at night, and go to the dirt mounds behind the targets, and dig out all the lead bullets. You can have 50 pounds of lead in less than 30 minutes.

When you are done, make sure you put all the dirt back where it came from, and tamp it back down tightly. Just rinse the old bullets off really good, and make sure they are completely dry before you melt them, and you’re good to go. Now, just melt the lead, set your hooks in the molds and pour. After the jigs have set, just remove them, clip off the sprues and paint and dress them like you want. For dressing lures, a good Fly Tying Vise is a worthwhile investment.

Now we get a little more involved. Inline and French Spinners are next on the list. These are a bit more complicated and require more hand-work, but they are still not bad. You can make excellent versions of Mepps, Roostertail and Panther Martin spinners with just a little bit of work. You can make these by hand, but a wire bender is really handy and speeds up the process greatly. They are available form the above mentioned sources. All you do is thread your weighted lead body, or beads onto the wire, attach a clevis and blade, or a blade directly to the shaft, bend the wire into loops at both ends, attach a hook to one end with a split ring, and your line to the other end. Finis! You can dress the hook how you want it, and paint the body any way you desire. You can vary the type of blade, or even use a propeller.

Spinnerbaits are a combination of the jig, and the spinner. To make these, you start out making a jig, but before you pour the lead, you add a pre-bent 90 degree wire, with a looped center, to the head, running the same way as the hook point (up).

When the jig is set, you remove the unit and make a loop in the end of the wire, and attach a blade with a swivel. Or you can attach a propeller directly to the end of the shaft. Or, with stops and swivels, you can attach multiple blades to the shaft. The spinner can be painted and dressed to your desire.

The apex of lure making art is the solid lure, or ‘plug’. I have made these from wooden dowels, and whittled bodies from old pieces of lumber, You can do this if you wish, but you can also purchase pre-cut plastic bodies. If you go the wood route, for topwater lures,

I like balsa. It floats really well, and when sealed and finished, is water-proof. For floating/diving and subsurface lures, I like Red Cedar. It has a good nuetral bouyancy and weight to it. Draw your design out on paper, then you can cut, whittle or sand the wood to the proper shape.

If I need a ‘cupped’ face for poppers and chuggers, I shape the head with a Dremel Rotary Tool. It does a fantastic job for cupping faces. Next, sand the lure smooth, up to about 320 grit sandpaper.  Apply a water-proof finish, and paint it to your liking. When it’s dry, drill small holes to attach the hook hangers, lips, and line eye. Attach your hook hangers, lips, blades, hooks and go fishing.

One tip: if you want a ‘ratting’ lure, simply cut the body in half (wood only), hollow out a cavity, glue in a small plastic tube (straws work good for this) and fill it with BBs. Then glue the halves back together and sand over the joint, and finish the lure like normal. Now you have a rattling lure.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment. That’s what it’s all, about.

Happy Fishing!

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Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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