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Lure Crafting during the Winter Months

January 21, 2016
By

BY Chris Erwin

A small portion of author Chris Erwin’s lure crafting molds and end products. These will give you a hint at what you can do if you use the off-season to make your own lures for the up-coming fishing season. (Photo by Chris Erwin)

A small portion of author Chris Erwin’s lure crafting molds and end products. These will give you a hint at what you can do if you use the off-season to make your own lures for the up-coming fishing season. (Photo by Chris Erwin)


This is the time each year when I try to make fishing lures for the upcoming season. In my opinion, it is as much a part of fishing as any other thing we do to get prepared for getting back out on the water.

Each year I tweak lures and experiment with new ideas all to help improve my time on the water. It’s the time to stock up on lures that have already proven to be productive. For the last 40 years, this has been my winter project. I also sell a few of my baits to help cover the cost of parts, paint and all the other stuff that goes into building fishing lures.

I build spinnerbaits, both in-line and safety pin type, along with buzzbaits. I also build soft plastic and hard plastic baits. This includes worms, jigs and swim-baits and the hard plastic baits, which include crankbaits, topwater and blade baits like the Sliver buddy.

I don’t really try to market my lures but over the years I have customers and guides who put in orders for baits. I make them order for baits I don’t make for myself.

I get the most questions about making hard plastic crankbaits, and I can tell you it takes some skill and some setup cost. Most baits are first made of wood. Once I get a model that I like, I make a silicone rubber mold.
Then I buy bills, hooks, O-rings, rattles and in some cases weights. The bills are set into the mold, along with the rattles. Then I mix up rapid prototyping plastic. It’s a two-part product that when mixed, gives you about three minutes to pour it, much the same as soft plastic.

Once the baits are unmolded they are lightly sanded to remove any seam-lines or mold flashing then air brushed to apply the patterns. After drying the hooks are added.

I also have 15 do-it molds for spinnerbaits, and a few molds I have made myself. With these, I make jigs, (both bass and crappie) spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and blade baits, slip-sinkers, split-shots and drop-shot sinkers and this year I plan to add an umbrella rig mold to my collection.

This covers most of the wire type baits. Speaking of wire type baits, if you want to get into the hobby, you can buy most of the pre-bent wire forms so cheap you may want to buy them instead of making them for yourself. That said, I do make my own steel leaders and much of my wire forms.

I do this because many of the people that want custom-made lures fish for Muskie and the pre-made wire forms usually don’t have twisted eyes. They instead have what is called “R” bent eyes. This type of wire-form doesn’t work if you are using a snap to attach them to your line.

Muskie fishermen usually use steel leaders with snaps. By using a twisted eye-form you can snap them to the bait, and the snap can’t slide up or down the wire. This works for both buzzbaits and safety pin type spinnerbaits.

Then there are soft-plastic lures. While I have collected 130 molds, I only use a small portion of them these days, mostly to pour crappie jigs, spinnerbait trailers, jerk-worms, whacky worms and twin-tailed jigs for fishing below the dam on the Ohio River.

If you are interested in any of the projects, you can go to the search engine on www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine and use the search site feature to get more information about how to get started. You can also write me with your questions. I will do what I can to help you get on the path to making your own tackle.

Chris Erwin is the Author of Camping Kentucky, founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

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