. . . . . be perfect but trying out something for yourself is the best way to learn how to do it.
|Many Different Kinds of Lure|
Three Questions to Answer Before Making any Lures
- What kind of material will be used to make the lure.
- What type of lure will be made from the chosen material.
- What species of fish is the lure intended to catch.
What Lure Making Material?
|Wood Offcuts - Perfect for Making Lures|
What Kind of Lure to Make?
|You Can Get Great Ideas From Magazines|
What Species of Fish are the Lures to Catch?
|My Lures Will Hopefully Catch More Fish Like This One!|
My Lure Making Plan - Jerkbaits For Pike Fishing
Okay, with the three questions above answered it's time to plan my lure making project. I have already established that the first few lures that I'm going to make will be wooden jerkbaits made specifically for pike fishing and the way I intend to go about making them will be based on what I learned from an article that I read in Pike and Predators magazine. (Edit - since writing this post I have actually found the article online, to check it out - Click Here - well worth a read).
This type of lure can be made using the most basic of hand tools and does not require the use of any expensive power tools. Although the use of some power tools would speed up the lure making process I intend not to use them on this occasion as I suspect that many people who find and read this series of blog posts may not own or intend to purchase expensive power tools just for the sake of making a few lures.
Basic Hand Tools Should Do for Making These Lures
|Fairly Basic Hand Tools For Lure Making|
From my experience on this lake I know that the pike are very active at dawn and dusk mostly in a fairly shallow bay in the north-east corner of the lake. They then move off to deeper water for the middle part of the day. My first approach to lure fishing this lake will be to work shallow working lures in the north-east corner of the lake for the first few hours of the day and then move out to deeper water with sinking/suspending lures for the middle part of the day and then back to the shallows for the last few hours of daylight. The lures will all be perch pattern as I am a great believer in giving the fish what they are used to seeing - this approach has worked well for me in the past.
|A Small Perch - This is What My Lures Will Have to Imitate|
So what of the lures then? I plan to make four flat sided jerkbaits in two different body shapes. One of each shape will be a floating jerkbait designed to fish just under the surface and the other two will be weighted to make them sinking/suspending jerkbaits which I will hopefully be able to count down and fish at any depth required. Well that's the lure making plan, looks good on paper, let's see how it pans out.
First Things First - A Lure Template
Before I can start to build my homemade lures I will need to know the size and shape of the lures I am going to make. I already know that I will be making some wooden jerkbaits but need to figure out the shape and size of these lures. The first step in making a wooden lure is to find or make a template for the lure. The way I see it there are three ways to come up with a template for a homemade lure:
- You could derive a template from a lure that you already own by tracing around it somehow or copying it's shape in some other way. You could also probably copy a lure by printing out a picture of it from the internet or cutting one out of a magazine.
- You could use a template from someone who has already built a successful lure. There are a few available on the internet but they are not that easy to find. You could buy a lure making book or eBook which usually have lure templates in them.
- You could design your own fishing lure template. There are probably two ways to go about this - you could either copy mother nature by making your template resemble as closely as possible the prey fish of your target species or you could try to come up with something new and different. Either way this method will be very much trial and error!
|One of My Lure Templates based on a Salmo Slider|
Making The Templates
First I drew my 'fishy' shapes onto some hardboard using a pencil. I figured that hardboard being thicker and stronger than cardboard would be a better material for making the lure templates. In hindsight it was not necessary to use hardboard at all - ordinary cereal box cardboard would have done just fine and would have had the advantage of being much easier and quicker to cut out!
|This Shape I Simply Drew out Freehand|
|This Shape is a Copy of a Salmo Slider Lure (see above).|
Then I clamped the hardboard to the edge of a bench and cut out the shapes using a coping saw. If you are using cardboard for your templates this step is very easy - you would simply cut them out using a scissors.
After cutting out the shapes with the coping saw I used some fine sandpaper to smooth over the edges of the templates - not really necessary but just being fussy!
|The Salmo Slider Shaped Lure Template|
|The Second Fish Shaped Lure Template|
Marking Out The LuresNow that I have some templates it's time to mark out the wooden lure blanks and crack on with making my lures. The first step I took was to place my lure templates onto a piece of wood and trace around them to give me the outline of the lure - this is the line I would be cutting to. In this case I'm using 22mm thick poplar for my lures for no reason other than that I have lots of scraps of the stuff lying around my workshop. I have not seen anyone else use or mention poplar as a lure making material but it has similar properties to pine in that it is light and easy to work with so it should be ok. Poplar may turn out to be a useless wood for lure making but I feel that the trial and error method of learning how to do something is probably the best way to learn.
|Using the Templates to Mark out the Lures|
|Using the Templates to Mark out the Lures|
Cutting Out the Lure Blanks
The next step is to go ahead and cut out the lure body. I did this using a coping saw by clamping the wood to the edge of a workbench with a quick-grip clamp and moving the position of the clamp periodically as necessary while cutting to the pencil line on the wood blank.
|Cutting Out the Lures with a Coping Saw|
|Cutting Out the Lures with a Coping Saw|
After I cut out the lure bodies in this manner I noticed that the edges of the lure blanks were quite rough and required some sanding to smooth them off a little. I did not get too carried away with this initial sanding as the lures will get a proper sanding at a later stage.
|The 'Rough Cut' Lure Blanks|
|The 'Rough Cut' Lure Blanks|
|The Edges of the Lure Blanks Needed Sanding|
Marking Out the Slot for the Through Wire
At this stage if I were using screw eyes for the line tie and hook eyes of the lures I would get on with rounding over the edges of the lure blanks, but since I am using the through wire construction method for these lures I feel that it will be easier to mark out and cut the slot for the through wire now while the edges are still square.
|Marking the Position of the Through Wire|
|Marking the Position of the Through Wire|
The first thing I did to mark out for the through wire position was to lay the lure blank on its side and put a small mark at the nose and at the tail of the lure. These marks represented the locations on the lure where I wanted the line tie and tail hook eye to be positioned on the finished lure. I then marked a straight line along the side of the lure blank joining these two marks. This line represents the position of the through wire within the lure going from nose to tail. I then used an adjustable square as a marking gauge to mark a centre line down along the belly of each lure.
|Marking a Centre Line Along the Belly of the Lure|
|Lure Blanks with Through Wire Slot Marked Out|
Cutting Out the Through Wire Slot
The lure blanks now have two lines marked onto them, a centre line along the belly which is the line which must be cut to for the through wire slot and a line along the side which represents the depth to which the through wire slot must be cut. I used a dovetail saw (any type of hand saw would do really) to cut along the belly line on the lure to create the through wire slot. I did this by clamping a sturdy piece of wood to a workbench and then clamping the lure blank to this piece of wood to hold it while it was being cut.
|Cutting The Through Wire Slot|
|The Line Along the Side of the Lure Blank Gives you the Cutting Depth|
|Lure Blanks with Through Wire Slots Cut Out|
Rounding Over The Edges of the Lure Blanks
At this stage I had intended to use a rasp and file to round over the edges of the lures so I could show you how to do this by hand, however a combination of laziness, lack of time and the fact that I had a router set up in the workshop with a rounding over bit in use on another project led to the lure blanks getting their edges rounded off using the router.
Using a router on a small piece of wood such as a lure blank can be tricky. What I did was nail the lure blanks to my workbench using some fine wire panel pins to stop them from moving around during the routing process and used two pieces of wood the same thickness as the lure blanks positioned either side of the lure blanks to support the router and prevent it from wobbling. After doing the first side of each blank I prised them off the workbench, removed the panel pins, turned them over and nailed them back onto the work bench making sure to nail through the same holes to minimise damage to the lure blank. The tiny holes left by the fine wire panel pins can easily be filled later.
Sanding and Filling the Lure Blanks
|The Lure Blanks with Rounded Edges|
The next step after the lures edges have been rounded is to use some wood filler to fill any holes, dents or rough edges on the lure blank prior to sanding. I left the filler to dry overnight before sanding the lure blanks starting with a coarse grit sandpaper then a medium grit and finishing with a fine grit sanding pad. Some areas on the lure blanks needed a second round of filler as the first layer of filler shrunk down slightly as it dried out.
|Lure Blanks Ready for Sanding after Second Round of Filler Had Dried|
At this stage the lure blanks are actually starting to look like some lures. The next step will be to make some through wires and fix them to the lures.
Finding Wire for the Throughwires
Making and fitting a throughwire to a homemade lure is a fairly simple task, certainly one of the easier tasks involved with making your own lures. There are many different kinds of wire commercially available from fishing tackle outlets and other sources (such as your local DIY and hardware store) which are suitable for making throughwires for lures. One of the themes of this lure making project so far has been not to buy anything for the lures unless absolutely necessary - making the throughwires for the lures will follow the same idea.
|Throughwire for Homemade Lure obtained from old Electrical Cable|
So where can we find wire that is suitable for making lure throughwires just lying around the house? One place to look for some wire is to locate any old and broken electrical appliance that may be in the house and cut the chord off it. If the copper wires inside the chord are of the single core type rather than the multi strand type then it should be fine for your lures. I found a short length of electrical cable rolled up on a shelf in the garage which had more than enough wire in it to make the throughwires for my four lures. The picture above shows one of the pieces of electrical cable that I used to obtain some wire for my throughwires. I removed the plastic coating from around the copper wire by cutting along it's length using a sharp utility knife.
Making The Throughwires for the Lures
Making a throughwire from copper wire is quite easy as copper wire is reasonably soft and easy to bend by hand. The use of a pliers however will make she shaping and bending of the wire much easier. The size and shape of the throughwire was determined by referring back to the lure template. The positions of the hook eyes and line tie are marked onto the template and lines are drawn onto the template to represent the position of the throughwire within the lure. These lines create a 'T' shape as shown in the photo below which gives you the actual size and shape of the throughwire for the lure.
The wire is then bent into this 'T' shape making sure that the loops formed in the ends of the throughwire stick out from the body of the lure enough to allow the fitting of split rings and hooks later on.
After the throughwire slots on each lure were widened the throughwires themselves were offered into each lure to check that they were sitting correctly and minor adjustments were made where necessary.
Once I was happy that the throughwire for each lure was sitting correctly I was ready to glue them into the lures. Before mixing up some epoxy to glue in the throughwires I put some masking tape around the slots on each lure as the process of putting the epoxy down into the lure bodies was going to be a bit on the messy side.
I mixed up some five minute epoxy on a clean scrap of wood using a thin piece of wood and then used this piece of wood to push some epoxy down into the slot in each lure. I then pushed the throughwire down into the slot making sure that it had bedded into the epoxy fully. I then put a generous amount of epoxy around each of the hook eyes and line tie to make sure that they would stay well secured.
As soon as I had the throughwires pushed down into the lure bodies and glued in I removed the masking tape from around the throughwire slots before the epoxy went off so as to avoid it getting glued to the lures. I left the epoxy to go off for about twenty minutes or so and returned to fill the throughwire slots on each lure with wood filler making sure to apply extra filler to allow for shrinkage as it dries out.
With all the throughwire slots filled with wood filler the throughwire fitting process is complete. The next step will be to properly sand and seal the lures prior to balancing them.
|Lure blank, Template and Throughwire|
Fitting the Throughwires to the Homemade LuresAt this stage I'm almost ready to go ahead and fit the throughwires into the lure bodies. First however we need to check that each throughwire fits snugly into each lure body and that the hook eyes and line tie are sitting in the correct positions. At this point I realised that I had made my first mistake - the slots that I had cut into the lure bodies using a tennon saw were not nearly wide enough to allow the throughwires to slide into them. To be fair the copper wire that I used to make the throughwires was probably a little on the heavy side (too thick) for the job and a thinner wire would have fitted into the already cut slots neatly. I had to widen the throughwire slots on each lure using a padsaw which has a wider blade than the tennon saw (commonly used for making cutouts in drywall) as shown below.
|The Throughwire Slots were Widened using a Padsaw|
|Checking the Fitment of the Throughwires Prior to Glueing|
|Masking the Lure Bodies to Reduce the Mess Created by the Epoxy|
|Putting Epoxy into the Throughwire Slots|
|Lure Blanks with Throughwires Glued into Them|
|Filling the Slots with Wood Filler to Complete the Throughwire Fitting Process|
|Lure Blanks Filled and Sanded and Ready to be Sealed|
Now that the throughwires have been fitted to my lures and all the filler has been sanded flush it's time to seal an balance the lures before finally painting them and getting out and doing some fishing with them.
Balancing My Lures
So what does it mean to balance a lure exactly? Balancing a lure is the process by which weight is added to the lure (internally) to make it sit in the water in a specific way to give it the action we require. For example the amount and positioning of the weight that is added to a lure will determine whether the lure floats, sinks or suspends and also whether it sits in the water horizontally, nose up or nose down.
For my four lures I plan to make two of them slow sinkers which rest in a nose down position and the other two floaters which sit horizontally in a slightly nose down position. What I hope to achieve is two sinking jerkbaits for deeper water that work in an up-down as well as side to side action (if this is possible) as I jerk them back in and two floaters that will work with a side to side action one to two feet from the water's surface. I have not really done any research into jerkbait design or balancing and since these are my first homemade lures it is quite possible that the lures I'm making will have a totally different action to that which I'm trying to achieve!
Sealing the Lures
|Sealing a Lure with Wood Primer|
The process of balancing a lure obviously requires that it is put into water, so before I can proceed the lures need to be sealed so as to prevent the wood blanks from soaking up water. There are many different products that can be used to do this. I would opt for a polyurethane type varnish or an oil based wood primer as both tend to repel water quite well in my experience. In this case I used some white wood primer as I had a small amount left over in a tin on a shelf in the garage. I used a brush to apply the primer but would have dipped the lures instead if I had had enough of the primer to do so. I applied two coats of primer allowing 24 hrs between coats and sanding the lures thoroughly before each coat was applied.
Balancing the Lures
|Some Items Required for Balancing a Lure|
To balance the lures I am going to need a container of water, some hooks, split rings, an assortment of lead weights and some method of attaching the weights temporarily to the lures. I took the hooks and split rings off a similar sized lure I have that I don't use much. I'll need to do some research to find out what the best hooks for these type of jerkbaits would be but for now I'll just use what I already have. The first thing I did was attach split rings, hooks and a large cross-lok link to the lures and drop them in some water to see how they would sit without any weighting. The picture below shows one of the lures floating in my kitchen sink (just about deep enough for balancing surface lures) before any weighting is added to it. As you can see the lure is sitting slightly 'nose up' and keeled over to one side a little.
|Checking How the Lure Sits Prior to Balancing|
The lure in the picture above obviously needs some weight added to it, in this case I want it to sit horizontally in the water, slightly nose down and with the back of the lure only just proud of the waters surface. Adding some weight a little at a time and changing the hanging position of the weights on a trial and error basis resulted in the balanced lure shown in the picture below - perfect!
|One of the Lures with Correct Amount of Balancing Weight Attached|
How I Attached the Weights for Balancing
Attaching the weights for balancing is quite easy. I simply tied a short piece of fishing line onto a suitably sized elastic band, put the elastic band on over the lure and slid different sized drilled weights onto the line keeping them in position with a small split shot. When the right combination/amount of weight was achieved the position of the line was marked onto the lure as this would be the position for the hole to be drilled into the lure to accommodate the lead. The lead and lure were then left aside together ready for drilling out and weighting.
|Elastic Band with Fishing Line tied on to Hold the Weights|
|Marking the Position for the Weights when the Lure is Finally Balanced|
|The four Lures set aside with their Balancing Weights|
Fitting Internal Weights To My Homemade Lures
There are two ways as far as I can see to go about fitting internal weighting to wooden lures. One way is to drill a hole at the required position in the lure body and simply melt and pour the lead into it. The other way is to mould the lead into a dowel or pellet and fit this dowel into a hole drilled into the lure body. The first method of simply melting and pouring the lead into a hole in the lure body would involve less work but you would really need to know the correct diameter and depth of the hole required before drilling any holes in the lure blanks. As I had not done this before I did not want to risk drilling a hole in the lure body that would be the wrong size and potentially ruin the lure! I decided to mould the lead for each lure into an individual cylinder shaped pellet of 18mm diameter and then measure the length of each pellet which would give me the depth of the hole required in each lure.
Making The Lead Pellets
As the old saying goes "a picture say's a thousand words". The sequence of pictures below show how I made the lead pellets and then fitted them to the lures. The first step was to make a mould of sorts for the pellets. I did this by drilling 18mm diameter holes through a scrap of wood and then screwing this onto another scrap of wood which would be the base of the mould.
|My Homemade Pellet Mould and Melting Pot|
|Lures and Pellet Holes were Numbered|
|Melting the Lead in My Homemade Melting Pot|
|The Pellet Mould with Lead Pellets Poured|
Fitting The Lead Pellets to The LuresIt was now time to drill holes in the lure blanks to accept the lead pellets. Each of the pellets was a different length and so required holes of different depth to be drilled. Prior to drilling each hole I marked the length of each pellet off against the 18mm diameter drill bit using masking tape and then drilled a hole to the depth of this mark on the corresponding lure. I drilled the holes about 2mm-3mm deeper than the length of the pellets to allow for glue and filler.
|Marking the Length of a Lead Pellet on The Drill Bit|
|Drilling the Hole For The Internal Lead Pellet|
|Trial Fitting a Lead Pellet to One of the Lures|
|The Lures With Lead Pellets Fitted|
|A Generous Amount of Epoxy Filled the Holes and Secured the Leads|
This is where the lure making project gets interesting. I could realistically paint my lures just about any colour under the sun. However if you have read what I wrote earlier in this post about my lure making plan you will know that I intend to paint all of my lures in perch pattern to target the pike in a particular lake where perch are the only prey fish of the pike who live there. There are a few different ways to paint lures - hand painting, dipping, spraying with an airbrushing kit or similar or spraying with aerosol spray paints. For this project I'll be using a combination of dipping, hand painting and aerosol spray painting.
Prior to doing any painting the lure blanks were sanded thoroughly with a very fine grit sandpaper to make them as smooth as possible. Once they were sanded properly the first step was to dip them in an oil based undercoat. I used a cream white coloured undercoat that I had left over from some cabinets I had been working on. I put up a short string line in the workshop between the end of a shelving unit and a wall and made some little light wire hanging hooks to use for hanging the lures up to dry between coats of paint.
|Applying Undercoat to the Lures by Dipping|
|The Lures were Hung up to Dry Between Coats of Paint|
After the two coats of undercoat it was time to spray on (using aerosols) the base colour of the lures which in this case was going to be gold. I cut some little blocks of wood and made small notches in them to use as props for the lures - see picture below. This way I could spray the top and both sides of the lures in one go.
|A Lure Supported on Wooden Blocks Ready for Spray Painting|
|A Close Up of the Simple Wooden Support Blocks|
|The Backs of the Lures were Sprayed First . . .|
|. . .and then the Sides to Complete the Base Colour of Gold|
With the gold base coat completed it was then time to add the green body colour in a scale pattern. I used a simple mesh bag, the kind that you get from the supermarket with vegetables or fruit in them. I wrapped the mesh around each of the lures and stretched it out until I was happy with the size and shape of the pattern. I then sprayed the green paint rather sparingly over the lures building up the colour in three coats making sure not to move the lure or mesh between coats. The aerosol spray paints that I used were great because they dried very quickly - I only needed to wait 30 seconds or so between coats as long as I did not spray the paint on too heavily.
|Lure Wrapped in Mesh to Create Scale Pattern|
|A Dark Green Colour Was Used as the Main Lure Body Colour|
|The Scale Pattern Complete|
The lures were now coming along nicely - white belly, gold base colour and green scales. The next step to creating a perch pattern was to add the black stripes. For this I was going to need to make some stencils for the pattern. I used my lure making templates to trace the outline of my lures onto some cardboard and then drew the stripes onto them and cut them out using a utility knife - see the pictures below.
|The Original Lure Templates were used to Mark Out Some Painting Stencils|
|The Required Pattern Was Drawn onto the Stencil . . .|
|. . .and then Cut Out in Preparation for Painting|
I placed the stencils onto the sides of the lures in turn and sprayed the backs and sides of them black, again ensuring to build up the colour slowly by spraying on a number of light coats rather than doing it all in one go which would run the risk of the paint pooling or running on the lure.
|A Stencil Placed on one of the Lures Ready for Painting|
|The Simple Pattern Produced By the Stencil|
|The Lures Hanging to Dry Between Coats of Paint|
With the black stripes now painted onto the lures all that was left to do was add some red fins, a gill cover and the eyes. I made another stencil for the fins and gill cover and then sprayed the fin and gill pattern onto the lures.
|I Made Another Stencil to Create Fins and a Gill Cover|
To add the eyes I cut a hole in the stencil that I used for painting the stripes and used this as a guide in order to get the position of the eyes in same place on either side of the lure. I simply dipped the head of a large nail into some white paint and dabbed it onto the lure using the stencil as a guide. To put the black dot in the centre of the eye I just used a smaller nail with a smaller head in the same way but with black paint this time of course.
|Painting on the Eye Using a Nail Head and Stencil|
|Next Step - Add a Black Dot To the White Eyes|
Now that the lures are fully painted there is only one step left before they are ready for testing and some fishing. The lures need a coating of some sort to protect the paint job and of course the lure itself. Most lure makers it would seem apply an epoxy resin 'hard coat' to their lures at this stage. The most popular product for this would seem to be an epoxy clear coat called EnviroTex Lite. I fully intended to get some of this to finish off my lures but the fact that I could not find it anywhere locally combined with the fact that work got a bit hectic at the same time meant that my lure making project got abandoned for a while. While in a local hardware supplier I came across a product that grabbed my attention - a type of spray on lacquer for finish coating metal which claimed to have some very hard wearing properties. For the sake of getting my lures finished I grabbed a tin of it and used it to clear coat my lures. It sprayed on nice and even and produced a lovely gloss finish. I knew that it would not be nearly as good as an epoxy finish but would do for now!
|The Metal Sealer I Used to Finish the Lures|
With the lures now finished there's only one thing left to do - clip on some hooks and take them to the water. For hooks I just took some off other lures I have that I never use - I'll have to look into buying some good quality hooks for my lure making - for now though 'borrowed' hooks will do!
|The Finished Lures on the River Bank Ready For Action|
The picture above of my finished lures was taken on the river bank just minutes before I made my very first cast with my first ever homemade lures. To find out how I got on, if the lures are any good and if the fish were biting you'll have to wait for a later post here on this blog.
Well there it is - my first lure making project complete. I plan to update this post as soon as I can with some video footage of these lures in the water so that you can see what kind of fishing action they have. I have already made a start on my second lure making project - a couple of wooden crankbaits made using two free lure templates that I got over at Greg Vinall's website. I'll be writing a post on that project in the near future. I hope you enjoyed reading through this lure making project, you are welcome to share this post with your fishing friends on facebook or twitter or anywhere else. If you have any questions or comments I'd love to hear from you.