Archive for the Fishing Lures Category

Lets make a wooden fishing lure

Posted in Fishing, Fishing Lures, Wood Carving, Woodworking with tags , , , on March 10, 2014 by Jim

Summer fishing season is Coming!

I am bringing this post over from an older blog of mine because it is time! Today, it is warm here – windows open short sleeves warm – so here you go:

I remember digging in my uncle Doug’s tackle box as a kid and being mesmerized.  I was none too fond of the smell of his catfish bait. It was home made stuff – imagine fish kimchee in a mason jar… Regardless, I  love the look of wooden fishing lures.   It is possible (and pretty fun) to make a few simple lures on your own without any expensive tools.

You will need:

  • A 5/8″ dowel from the hardware store
  • The smallest screw eyes you can find, also from the hardware store
  • Sandpaper (60, 100, 150 grits or close would be fine)
  • A wood rasp can also help speed up the shaping
  • Paint of your choice (I like the inexpensive acrylic stuff from Hobby Lobby)
  • An awl or sharp nail to poke starter holes
  • Some split rings and fishing hooks from a sporting goods store
  • A saw that will cut through a small wooden dowel

Lets get started. First, measure off a 3″ piece of your dowel and cut it off.

Not too hard so far… Next, put a pencil mark in the center of both ends the ends of the dowel, and poke starter holes there.

Put a screw eye into the holes in each end.

Next comes the shaping. Take the screw eyes back out, lay the 60 or 80 grit sandpaper on a flat surface, and drag the dowel toward you while slowly lifting the back end up.  Rotate the dowel a bit and continue.  The idea is just to round over the dowel until it looks like a cigar. You can speed this up with a wood rasp if you can lay hands on one.

After you have the ends of the dowel roughly rounded, pick it up, grab your sandpaper and get the rough off. If you want, you can sand it entirely smooth, or you can just sand a little bit.  I am pretty sure that the fish care do not care how beautiful your lure is. Use the finer sandpapers until you have the lure as smooth as you would like.

Here are two lures; the one from the pictures above and another that I sanded into a different  pointier shape.

I have the lures hanging from a coat hanger that I cut in two and bent up.  This holds them nicely while you spray primer on them. If you don’t want the fumes, you certainly do not have to use spray paint. I do, just to speed things up. Whatever paint you use, read and follow all the safety instructions…

I wanted my cigar shaped lure to have a fish scale pattern, so I wrapped it with tulle fabric.  Tulle is what you make butterfly nets out of when you are little. I got mine at Hobby Lobby.

I hold the lure by one of the screw eyes with a clamp or some pliers. Next, I lightly spray paint the lure over the mesh. After the paint dries, you get a scale effect.

One other traditional way to paint lures is all white with a red head.  The trick to getting the straight line on the red is by dipping instead of brushing or painting. First paint your lure all white. I used the non-toxic acrylics for this. With the acrylics, a hair dryer can shorten the time between coats.  I would not use the hair dryer with any paints that are solvent based.

Once the lure is all white, dip the end of the lure in the red paint.

The last cool bit of the painting is the eyes. There is a great trick for painting the eyes. I use a small piece of a dowel and a small nail. You dip the dowel (or a larger nail) in white paint and make a dot where you want the eye. Let this dry and dip the smaller nail into black paint and put a dot for the pupil.

Here is a pic of the two lures after the painting is done and I have clear coated them. You can use several coats of clear spray paint or polyurethane to get that nice shiny look and help the lures last longer.  Professional lure makers use a two part epoxy to coat their lures but that is certainly not necessary. I sometimes coat mine in Devcon 2 ton epoxy I get at the hardware store.

The last step is to put on the hooks. Poke a small starter hole about 1/3 of the way back from the head on the bottom of the lure. Put another screw eye in this hole. To hang the hooks, I like to use split rings. You can get them in the fishing section of sporting goods stores. These rings let you change the hooks easily if you break them.  The split rings are a little fussy to get on.  You can buy special split ring pliers (also in the sporting goods section) or you can just pry them open with the tiny screw driver that comes in a glasses repair kit. I will say, if you are going to do several lures – spring for the split ring pliers.  They make it easier to get the hooks on without getting poked.

Here is the finished lure.

Good luck and let me know how they turn out!


Hammered Copper and Stainless Steel Fishing Lure

Posted in Fishing Lures, Forging, jewelry, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on August 2, 2010 by Jim

Is there such a thing as a Roycroft fishing lure?

I have been making lures like this one for a long time:

Hand carved Spinner Popper Frog fishing lure

It is really enjoyable making these. I can make cooler looking lures than I can buy and I can modify them to suit the places where I fish. My lures work great – they catch a ton of fish. It’s also a kick to open my tackle box around the guys knowing that they don’t have any of the lures that I have.

One thing that has always been annoying to me about lure-making is having to buy the metal hardware.

I usually hate buying something that I can make. Today I realized I could make make the metal parts of my lures. I could even make entire metal lures. I learned what I needed in the metalworking class I just took at the Lawrence Art Center. I guess I can be kind of slow on the uptake some days…

Anyway, here it is, for your perusing pleasure, the first ever, one of a kind, Roycroft style hammered copper fishing lure (click the image to see it larger):

Roycroft style hammered copper spoon lure

This spoon lure looks fantastic in the water. It darts and flashes like a drunk little bait fish on an underwater jet ski! I took it out in a sunny area where the water was murky and got a bite on the second cast. This is a great working lure.

I started all this, like I often do, in my buddy Dave’s steel scrap pile. He pulled out a railroad spike and I ground and polished it into a spoon shaped sheet metal forming stake:

Custom Handmade fishing lure

The copper was supple and simple to form and hammer mark. I cannot say the same about the stainless steel. I have not worked stainless before like this and it was not friendly. I will have to do some research on annealing stainless before I make the next lure. I riveted it all together with brass pins cut from 18ga wire.

All in all, this was a really happy afternoon’s work and it gave me an excuse to go fishing (you know, purely research purposes, so forth, etc…).

If you have any questions, or for goodness sakes, if you have advice about how to anneal stainless, I am all ears.

Happy Making,


Vintage style wooden fishing lures that really catch fish!

Posted in Carving, Fishing Lures, Woodworking on April 9, 2010 by Jim

I wanted some vintage fishing lures. I found an old Heddon catalog at my local library book sale and remembered lures my Uncle Doug had in his tackle box and I wanted some bad…

I love digging through peoples tackle boxes.

I have always had that kind of curiosity. It is like digging around in your grandma’s attic. Everything you find is fascinating. Anyway, I found this old Heddon catalog and decide to buy some of those lures. I headed over to EBay and found out right quick that I don’t have the budget you need for those lures. Even if I had the budget, there is NO WAY you would throw one of those lures in a lake and let some mean old fish chew on it.

Old lures are works of art!

Old lures are beautiful. I wanted some lures that were cool as the ones I remembered but that I could lose in a tree without crying.

Here is what I came up with:


These two were inspired by an amazing lure maker I found on the web Old Oregon Lures – unfortunately, the Old Oregon website appears to be gone now – those were some amazing lures.


I made some folk art style lures:

Handmade wooden hornet fishing lure

Lastly, I tried my hand at making some semi-realistic lures:


This bluegill is weighed so that it floats upright correctly and suspends about 4 inches below the surface.

You can make your own wooden lures.

I have a post here on Make Stuff With Your Kid that shows you how to make two really great looking lures that catch fish. You don’t need a bunch of tools and you don’t need to be an experienced woodworker.

All these lures have caught fish. I was surprised how well the bluegill works. In the spring, when the bass are on their beds, they hate this little bluegill and try to eat it up!

Do you have any old lures you love or you are making any lures?  I would love to hear about it.