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7 Tips To Making Your Own Wooden Fishing Lures
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7 Tips to Making Your Own Wooden Fishing Lures

I have not had much to do with making my own wooden lures even though I have been fishing for a lot of years and against my better judgement, decided to give it ago. As anglers and fishos, we all know what it is like, the cost of replacing lost lures. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into!! so I thought I would put something together to give any budding lure designers a helping hand.   

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own top water wooden fishing lures and did not know where to start?  If you have thought about it and like me thought, "it's just going to be to hard", well don't, because I have done some hard yards and have put together several inportant tips that will put you on the road to making your own Wooden Fishing lures that work perfectly the way you want them to, are professionally finished, cost less and give you that great sensation when you catch your first fish on a lure that you have made.

If you are like me and been arround a few years and have been fishing since you could walk, you will know what it is like over the years to loose that favourite lure that wasn't cheap to buy or to loose that new lure that you are trying for the first time and seeing it swim away in the side of the fishes mouth, Another missed Photo Op. or see it smashed after one hit!! 

There is just so many lures to choose from when you walk into the tackle shop today, I can stand there for hours admiring them all. I want them all!!! but it comes down to how deep are your pockets. Sometimes I wonder if I should invest in a Fishing Tackle Shop then I could get the Fishing Lures at cost!

But that thought is quickly put out of my mind because I would have to work more and that might mean I would loose valuable fishing time. So I think I'll give making my own wooden fishing lures ago it cannot be to difficult right? I mean what could be more satisfying, then to catch that perfect fish on a lure you built yourself. Not only that, I can build up my fishing tackle and my lure box and not hurt my wallet as much which means I can use the money I save to buy other fishing gear. That sounds like a plan because you can never have enough fishing gear.

So enthusiastically I started and a short time later decided I needed to give myself a server slap in the face!! What was I thinking? there were so many things I did not think about and when I finally got my first lure in the water I nearly broke down and wept. The thing would not swim properly and the paint was coming off after only a few casts. At this point I was ready to chuck it in and thought what a wast of time but after giving it more thought, (which I should have done in the first place), I decided to sit down and make up a plan which took into consideration the basic things that I had not thought about and problems I had not thought of!!

Anyone who has ever attempted to make wooden fishing lures will understand the months and sometimes years of trial and error that go into consistently getting it right. Along the way we all experience failures.

The lures that don't swim properly and/or have a poor action

Lures that spin when retrieved or trolled

Lures that won't dive or aren't properly balanced

Lures that won't dive deep enough

Lures that have the wrong angle of attack

Lures that don't swim straight and just can't be tuned to swim straight

Lures that don't have the intended combination of action and dive depth

Lures that don't perform properly once the terminal tackle is fitted

Lures that just aren't strong enough to cope with fierce fish or tough conditions

Lures that perform OK, but don't have the quality paint job of professional lures

On and on the list goes

So with these problems in mind I decided to put some steps in place that would if not eliminate then minimise the issues you will have making your own lures.

The best and most important thing you can do is research and remember 'If you dont quit, you will succeed.

Tip # 1 - Types

Go to the tackle store, get online it doesnt matter how but spend some time studying the different kinds of wooden lures that you can buy or make and what makes them work. Even if you never get started making your own lures, taking the time to do this will improve your lure fishing success, because you will get to know how to pick the best lure for any set of circumstances. For example, knowing the combination of body shape, bib size and angle, bib shape, tow point location, internal weighting and hook selection that's required to make a deep diving lure (for example) will save you hours of wasted time and frustration making lures that just won't do the job. Likewise, if you need a shallow diver, jerk bait, casting lure or bibless minnow. You need to know how and why they work so that you can custom make wooden lures to meet your exact needs.

Tip # 2 - Style

There are so many different types of wooden lures you can make. Minnows (floating, suspending or sinking), bibless lures, jointed minnows, topwater lures (fizzers, buzz baits, prop baits, chuggers and skipping poppers), stickbaits, jerkbaits, sliders,...etc, etc.  These different lure styles all require similar wood working skills, but there is a world of difference in the way they are designed and built. Pick a style of wooden lure initially, and persevere until you work out how to consistently make that style of lure over and over again. When you can consistently make a wooden lure that not only swims, but has exactly the action you require and consistently catches fish, then it's time to start making another style. 

 Most new lure makers seem to start with either bibbed (floating/diving) lures or topwater lures like chuggers and prop baits. Both of these styles are relatively easy to make, so they are good starting points. Bibbed minnows are a good place to start because they are one of the most versatile and consistent fish catchers around.

Tip # 3 - Design

If there is a quick way to get frustrated and eventually give up on wooden lure making, it is to start carving a piece of wood without a firm plan in mind. You need to be able to visualise what your finished lure will look like before you start, or the result will almost certainly be a useless lure and wasted time. Search around for some lure templates, or try to shape something similar to your favourite fish catching lure from the tackle shop. If you are new to lure making you will waste less time if you start by making a lure design that is proven to work. Once you have it perfected, you can start modifying your lure template, or creating your own designs without suffering too many failures.  Make templates, because doing so means that when you design your own wooden lure and it is catching fish, you can use the template to make more and more of the same lures over and over again, and they'll all be just as effective. All you will need to do is change the paint job and/or maybe target a different species.

Tip # 4 - Timber Selection

What timber to use? When you start out be careful because nothing will dampen your enthusiasm faster than making a beautiful lure, but using the wrong wood and finding it doesn't work properly, is too hard to shape, is unbalanced or paint doesn't stick to it. There are thousands of timbers that can be used to make wooden lures successfully. But there are just as many that don't work so well. Stick with timbers that are light in weight, even if you are going to make sinking lures. Soft enough to easily shape, and yet strong enough to take the punishment.

Balsa wood is great for many freshwater applications, but can be a little too soft for some saltwater ones. Cedars, basswood and pine are generally pretty reliable.

Tip # 5 - The Paint Job

 Firstly "dont stress", if the other attributes of the lure are working O.K. the fish will most likely strike at it anyway regardless of how the paint looks. You can get your homemade wooden lures to look every bit as good as any bought one, but it won't happen overnight. Probably more effort, time and tears go into working out a system for painting wooden lures than any other aspect of lure making. The good news is, while you're learning to turn your plain wooden lure bodies into works of art, the fish will be just as happy to eat the practice ones that you learn with. Don't be discouraged if it takes a long time to get the painting process as good as you want it to be. Just keep making and painting lures, and don't be worried about throwing some of your reject paintjobs in front of fish, because if the size and action are right the paintjob really isn't that important!

Tip # 6 - Source the Components

When you start making lures it is importand to find sources for all the materials you will need. Develop a list of all the components  and sources for all the materials you need. Compile a list of the company names, addresses, phone numbers and web addresses for everything you will need to get the lure finished.

Tip # 7 - The Right Tools

When starting out you dont have to spend heaps on tools but you will need some basic tools to get started. Having the right tools will save a lot of frustration. You can slowly build up your tools but it is a good idea to source what is required and where you can get them from at the right price. As with the components, develop a list of the tools you will need and again compile a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of where you can get them.

I hope these 7 tips have been helpfull and will assist all the budding new lure makers out there to to give it a go. There is a lot of help out there from the guys that have been doing it for many years and have a wealth of experience. So dont be  stubborn like I was and bash away at it. All the info to get you making your own lure professionally and landing that first fish on your own lure is out there. Remember Tight Lines and No Bananas.



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