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Customize and Make Your Own Lures

My wife and I spent the better part of a day at Cabela’s the week before Christmas, and trust me, I was never overtaken by boredom. Needless to say, I spent a good bit of my time wandering the seemingly endless aisles of fishing lures and fishing equipment. I probably don’t have to tell you that there is an infinite supply of lures available and new ones keep showing up on store shelves and in catalogs. I’ll be honest, I have a pretty good supply of my own fishing lures hanging on the wall and stashed in several large tackle boxes, but every now and then I find another lure that I really “need.”

With such an overwhelming amount of fishing lures available to today’s fishermen, why then would anybody want to make or alter their own lures? Well, it probably does save some money in the long run, but I have also found that on occasion I like to tweak some of my lures to provide the action I prefer. I have also found that making or altering fishing lures provides some great leisure “tinkering time” until you can get back out to your favorite fishing spot.

One of my favorite artificial lures is the spinnerbait — the lure shaped much like an open safety pin. The top of the lure usually sports a single or double revolving blade, and the bottom of the lure usually has some kind of lead jig with a hair, vinyl or some other flexible material attached. One of the problems I find with this lure is that the skirt will eventually wear out or come apart, but the good thing is they are easily replaced. The vinyl replacement skirts with some extra flashy elements are readily available and easy to reattach. I will also often change the blade to a larger Colorado blade; the reason being that the Colorado blade makes an obvious “thumping” feeling when retrieved. Often times if that “thumping vibration” stops during the retrieve you better set the hook — fish on. If you like, kits are available, and you can build your own customized spinnerbaits from the various components.

I’ve probably said this before, but if you took all my lures away and only left me with one type, I would choose a lead head jig with some kind of plastic or rubber shoved on the hook. I feel confident that I can catch almost any fish with this rig under the right circumstances. With the exception of trout, the jig probably accounts for 75 percent of the fish I catch in a single season — although I have also taken trout on a lead head jig.

Jigs too have become much more sophisticated in recent years with all kinds of specialized head designs and shapes, but I still prefer to make most of my own jigs. I do buy some specialty jig heads on occasion, but I find the simple round head jig will suffice in most cases. There are a variety of molds available for making an assortment of jig heads. The molds will run around $30 or $40 each. I have one that will produce seven different sizes of round head jigs; my brother has one that makes different sizes. Rather than buy two molds, each we simply trade off once in a while. I don’t buy lead since I’ve gathered it from a number of other sources including shooting ranges. Once you have the mold all you need are the hooks; I usually buy the gold hooks for the added flash. I tip the jigs with something from the huge variety of rubber grubs or worms that are out there, or occasionally I tie on some marabou or some kind of hair.

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy through the winter months, then you can always add fly-tying.

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