DIY Baits

News & Tips: DIY Baits

Catching fish is always fun, but fooling one with a bait you've created with your own hands heightens the thrill. The art of craftsmanship runs deep among fly fishermen, but there are lots of options for lure lovers. This blog highlights potential do-it-yourself (DIY) projects to consider.

DIYBaits DoItJigMold
If you're looking for an easy DIY lure project, try the Do-It molds.

If on the fence about the idea, customizing existing baits is a good way to see if lure-making is for you. Easy projects include powder painting metallic-finished spoons to create a two-toned bait, powder painting lead jigs, or using prism tape to add color and flash to hard baits and spoons.

One of the easiest DIY projects is pouring your own jigheads using a Do-It Mold. During my youth my neighbor had a few molds he'd let me borrow. I poured hundreds of 1/4- and 3/8-ounce jigs and it dramatically cut down my fishing costs. I was learning to fish swift river currents for smallmouth bass and walleye, and getting hung up was commonplace. But, each time I broke off a jig the casualty only cost pennies since I was pouring my own.

On the topic of jigs, learning to tie jigs using various materials is a good skill to know. I've caught crappie, bass, walleye, and northern pike on jigs I've spun-up on my tying vice. It's rewarding. A simple bucktail jig or a crappie jig made of marabou and chenille are good places to start. I learned these skills through fellow anglers and books. Today an internet search will provide all the information and instruction you need to get started. Good tools to acquire include a tying vice, a bobbin and scissors. Don't break the bank on gear until you determine how much you enjoy making your own jigs.

Another straightforward project is making walleye spinner rigs. Each rig will require line, a swivel, a spinner blade, five to eight beads, a clevis and one or two bait hooks. Other DIY options include making living-rubber bass jigs, spinnerbaits and inline spinners.

Keep the mood light when making your own lures. Striving for perfection has its place, but don't get hung up on things. Some of my favorite bucktails have a few hairs slipping out from underneath the thread at the collar. It's not the tidiest tie, but the fish don't seem to care and it gives the jig character — that's what I tell myself anyway.

One last tip, although most lure-making products are safe, be careful with paint, adhesives and when pouring jigs. Performing these tasks in a room with ample ventilation is mandatory. This is just one cautionary note, but always read and follow product instructions and wear protective clothing to reduce hazards and keep things safe.