Testing My Homemade Lures

My Home Made Lures On Their First Days Fishing

My First Ever Homemade Lures On The River Bank Ready For Fishing
Free Time For Fishing Is Hard To Come By These Days!
Having finished working on my first few homemade lures they sat on a shelf in my garage gathering dust for quite a while before I finally managed to organise a half a day of free time to actually go fishing and have a cast around with them. If you read my earlier post about how I made these homemade lures you will know . . . . .
. . . . . that my plan was to use these lures to fish a specific lake in a specific way. As I have recently relocated (moved house) the lake in question is now considerably further away from where I live. Also in order to fish the lake effectively I would need to carry my 9 foot inflatable boat about a third of a mile across some fairly rough ground (no access roads) and then walk back to get my fishing gear. Putting in the effort to go fishing at this lake is well worth it but half a day is just not enough time. I chose to take my new lures to a venue closer to home with easier access - a fairly deep slow moving river.

A Change of Venue
The river itself is a fairly slow flowing river wide enough that you can almost hit the far bank at the limit of your cast in most places. It varies in depth from between 10 feet down to over 20 feet but most areas are an average of around 15 feet or so. The river has a good stock of pike and plenty of prey fish for them to eat in the form of roach, rudd, perch and bream. The fact that perch were present in this river in good numbers is one of the reasons that I chose this venue to try out my perch pattern jerkbaits. Of the four jerkbaits that I made only the sinking ones were going to be tried out today as I feel that the river is a little too deep to bother using surface working jerkbaits especially this early in the year. My two sinking jerkbaits were two entirely different shapes made from two entirely different lure templates and so should offer two completely different actions to hopefully tempt any pike that might be in their vicinity.
A River Well Worth Fishing
An Early Start is Best
The plan was to get to the river as early as possible and fish until about 1 o'clock in the afternoon or so. A few minor setbacks in the morning led to me arriving at the river much later than I had hoped - all said and done I was tackled up and at the waters edge ready to take my first cast at just after 8.00am. The river itself was in fairly good condition. It had not rained much for quite a while so the water levels were unusually low for the time of year (end of March). This lack of rain also meant that the water itself was a lot clearer than usual - not ideal. I prefer a reasonable amount of colour in the water as I feel that predatory fish feed with much more confidence in such conditions. I also find that in clear water conditions it is critical to be fishing for the first few hours of daylight in the morning and the last few hours before darkness as these are absolutely the best times to fish.

Fish On!
With this in mind I was keen to get fishing as quickly as possible on arrival at the river as the sun had risen a good hour or more before I got there. As this days fishing was more about testing my homemade lures than actually catching some fish the things going through my mind as I made my first few casts were - how far can I cast the lures?, do they cast well across or into the wind?, what depth do they run down to?, do they have a nice action? what's the best type of retrieve to use? . . . . . My train of thought did not last very long! On only my third cast a small pike hit the lure quite hard for a fish of it's size and proceeded to jump clear of the water three times in a row. Is it any wonder so many of us just love pike fishing? The fish which weighed about 4lbs or so was soon on the river bank - a quick photo, hooks removed and back in the water to fight another day. I would not normally even take a fish this small out of the water but simply remove the hooks at the waters edge and let the fish go on about it's business. However since this was my first ever fish caught on a homemade lure I think a quick photo was warranted. I always practice catch and release by the way, regardless of the size or species of the fish.
My First Ever Fish On A Homemade Lure
A Good Start to the Days Fishing
With less than 10 minutes spent at the river and already a fish caught on one of my homemade lures I have to admit that I was feeling quite chuffed with myself. If I caught nothing else for the rest of the day it would still have been a worthwhile trip. When my very next cast met with the same result as the previous one this was starting to look like it could be a bumper days fishing. Four casts and two fish on the bank - both caught using one of my homemade lures. Again a quick photo of the fish which was a little smaller than the first one and back into the river to hopefully grow much bigger. I couldn't have hoped for a better start to the days fishing. I now knew that at least one of the lures that I had made was not completely useless and was going to catch me at least a few fish. It goes without saying that when you are confident in the lure or bait that you are using you will always fish more effectively.
A Smaller One This Time - But I Still Enjoyed Catching It
Give The Predators What They Expect
Of the two sinking jerkbaits that I had made one was shaped somewhat similar to a salmo slider jerkbait and the other was a more regular fish shaped lure. It was this more regular fish shaped jerkbait that I started the day fishing with as it more closely represented the shape of the actual perch that lived in this stretch of river. My first plan of attack when fishing for any predatory fish in any water is to try and figure out exactly what prey fish they are feeding on and then match my bait or lure to that prey fish as closely as possible ie same shape, same colour, same size and same swimming action. It is only when giving the predators what they are used to seeing does not work that I will consider doing something different. This approach may not work for everyone but it certainly works for me. My approach on this day would be to cover each spot that I fished firstly with my regular fish shaped jerkbait and then cover the same area with the slider type jerkbait before moving on.

The Lures Were Working Well
After catching two fish in quick succession at the start of the day the pressure was now off - although the fish I caught were very small I was not going to go home fishless. However I still wanted to give my new lures as much time in the water as possible. At this venue there is virtually miles of river bank you can fish from. As I was on foot on this occasion and only had about half a day to spend fishing the very most I would get to cover was the first mile of river. I knew from experience that the further downstream and away from the access point I went the deeper the river got and the more likely I was to encounter a bigger fish. I decided to spend about an hour or so fishing the area closest to the access point to gain a good feel for my new lures and then take a long walk downstream to some deeper water in the hope of catching a bigger fish and then work my way back up river before going home. My fish shaped jerkbait was working very nicely - gliding beautifully from side to side and also rolling slightly at the end of each glide which caused it to flash it's white belly to the side as it changed direction. My slider type jerkbait seemed to work best on a straight retrieve zig-zagging strongly as it was wound back in and really pulsing on the rod tip.

Time To Go In Search Of Something Bigger
After an hours fishing there was no more fish activity other than those first two fish at the start. I was starting to think that the clear water conditions were really against me and was also wishing that I had managed to get to the river an hour earlier. Nevertheless I would stick to my plan and make the move about a mile down river. About half way down stream on the way to my intended fishing spot I almost walked past a very nice looking area - the only spot where I had seen any lilly pads growing on this side of the river. I had to stop and have a few casts. On about my fourth cast my fish shaped jerkbait found it's way into another set of  toothy jaws. This pike struck mid river shortly after the lure splashed down and did exactly what I hoped it would do - did not panic, stayed deep in the water and put a pleasing bend in the rod - certainly a bigger fish. A short tussle ensued, the pike proceeded to wake up, swam strongly to the surface clearing the water by some three or four feet, shook it's head violently and threw the lure! Getting a good look at the fish I realised it was not as big as I had thought - probably about 10lbs or so. Disappointing not to have landed the fish but encouraging that yet another pike found my homemade lure to it's liking.
A 10lb Pike Lives Here!
Another One Gets Away
It was now shortly after 9.40am so I decided to cover the area where I had just lost the ten pounder to see if there were any more pike in residence and then move on to my chosen spot downstream quickly before the morning was completely gone. No more action resulted so I moved downstream to the deeper stretch of water where I was ready to cast in at around 10.15am or so. Yet again upon arriving at a new spot I did not have to wait very long for something to put a bend in my fishing rod - this time a pike of about 6lbs or so. Unfortunately this fish also knew how to jump clear of the water and shake off a jerkbait. Again a little disappointing not to have caught the fish but very encouraging that my homemade lure drew a strike from a fish after only four casts in this spot. I spent a reasonable amount of time fishing this deeper stretch as I knew that some very big pike can be caught from it but nothing else showed any interest in my jerkbaits. It was not long before my time was up and I had to make my way back upstream before going home. I stopped for a few casts in one or two likely looking spots along the way and did manage to raise a small pike of about two pounds which bumped my lure just at the waters edge but failed to make contact with the hooks. 

A Day Well Spent and Some Lure Making Lessons Learned
The Hardcoat That I Had Applied Was Just No Good - Lesson Learned!
All in all not a bad day out - five strikes, four hook-ups and two fish on the bank - I was going home a reasonably happy fisherman. On my way to river that morning I had considered the possibility that my homemade lures might be completely useless. This possibility had been completely dispelled by the days fishing and I now knew that at least two of the four lures that I had made possessed a nice swimming action and one of them had even caught a couple of fish. I had learned a fair bit about my new lures and a few things about lure making as well. There were however a few problems with the lures themselves and possibly a problem with the design of one of them:

  1. One problem was with the hook eyelets of the lures being just a little too small for the large split rings that I had used to attach the hooks. This caused the hooks to 'stand off' the lures rather unnaturally on occasion - not a major issue but annoying nonetheless. On these lures this problem can probably be solved by using smaller split rings. On any future jerkbaits that I make I will have to make sure that the hook eyelets are big enough for the hooks and split rings required.
  2. A very obvious second problem that quickly became evident was that the metal sealer product that I had used as a hardcoat on the lures was just not up to the job - not even close. Bite marks and hook rash caused quite a bit of damage to the paint job on one of the lures. For these type of lures it would seem that an epoxy hardcoat will be required - lesson learned!
  3. Thirdly - and this is more of an observation than a problem as such - I noticed that when comparing my jerkbait (pictured above) to other similar jerkbaits the position of the front hook on my jerkbait is a little closer to the rear of the lure than on most others. This could be one reason why the two pike that 'shook off' my jerkbait on this days fishing found it so easy to do so - having more of the weight of the front part of the lure shaking about and possibly helping to dislodge the hooks. I'll have to research this a little more and see if I need to make some changes to the design of this jerkbait.
Some Fishing Lessons Learned
As I drove home from my mornings fishing two notable observations that I had made on this days fishing were being given a fair amount of thought. Both observations I made were in relation to the behaviour of the fish on the day.

  1. Of the four pike that I hooked on this outing every one of them proceeded to jump clear of the water shaking their heads violently - this is new to me. I have fished this river more than a few times over the years and caught a few nice pike from it both large and small - some of them tail walked but most of them did not. The majority of fish that I have caught previously from here (especially the bigger ones) were caught using bait fishing tactics and those that were caught using lures were caught on smaller lures such as spinners and spoons. I can only assume that it was the size and weight of the jerkbait I was using that caused the pike to leap clear of the water in an attempt to shake it off (which worked for two out of four fish on this occasion!). It will be interesting to see if pike in other venues behave the same way when hooked on this jerkbait and if they do it may be necessary to try and rig the lure in such a way as to make it more difficult for an angry fish to shake it off.
  2. A second observation that I made and anyone who has read the entire post above will also have noticed that every one of the five strikes that I got from the fish on this days fishing came within the first few casts that I made upon arriving at a new spot. This is something that I have also noticed previously whilst using bait fishing tactics at this river - if any fish is going to take the bait it usually happens within 20mins of casting out that bait. My tactics on this day had been to cover each spot fairly thoroughly with probably 20 or so casts with each jerkbait in each spot before moving along the river to the next adjacent spot. Logic would suggest that making less casts in more spots will probably bring more fish to the bank so on my next outing at this river I will have to make sure that I move between spots a lot more quickly.

What Next?
The Crankbaits I'm Working On
Before I take these lures fishing again I will have to apply a proper hardcoat to protect the paintwork and lure bodies themselves of course. I also will have to sort out the split rings on the hook eyelets of these lures so that the hooks hang more freely. When the lures are ready for action I plan to take them to the lake that I had originally intended to test all four of them out thoroughly and hopefully catch some bigger fish. The lake in question has shallow flats, deep open water areas and some areas with interesting underwater structure and weed beds. I'm also currently working on a couple of crankbaits that I'm making using some free templates that I downloaded from another site which I will be posting about in the coming weeks. I have to admit that I'm really enjoying the challenge of learning how to make fishing lures.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them below. As always you are more than welcome to share this lure fishing post, if you wish, with your friends on facebook or twitter or anywhere else that you hang out online.

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Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

I myself am just starting to make wooden fishing lures here in the USA. I don't have pike as far south as where I live, but I have caught them before in New York State and Canada. Fantastic work and great job on your pike lures. They look fantastic and I can only imagine the feeling you got when a toothy critter grabbed on to a lure of YOUR design! Keep up the good work. Ill send you pics if and when I finish a lure or two.

Joe said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

@AnonymousHey Anonymous . . . great to hear from someone in the US. I can see from the stats for my blog that most of the people who visit this site are in fact from the US - the internet it seems really does make the world a smaller place!

I guess not having any pike to fish for where you live you're probably working on some bass lures. If you're just starting out (much the same as myself) I must warn you that this business of messing about with bits of wood is extremely addictive!

If you have not made a start on your first lures yet let me offer one piece of advice - work on larger rather than smaller lures if you can. Bigger lures are quite a bit easier to work on, less fiddly I suppose and are a lot more forgiving of mistakes. Well that's been my experience anyway.

You're certainly right about the feeling you get when you catch a fish on a lure designed and built by yourself. It adds a whole new dimension to your fishing (not that I've done much of that lately unfortunately)but you'll find that out for yourself soon enough!

Best of luck with your lure making projects and by all means send me some pictures - I'll post a 'homemade lures gallery' page or something like that.


edward williams said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

You get a big patontheback from me! Thumbs Up

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