Sunday, November 06, 2005

Make Your Own Dynamite Salt Water Plugs for 75 cents or Less

blue yellow treble hook plug Posted by Picasa

When I saw the price on a minnow-imitation lure I gasped. At those prices I’d have to take up needlepoint to be able to afford a hobby. But I practically have salt water in my blood having been raised on the Chesapeake Bay. I wasn’t about to give up the seemingly endless stream of days and nights on gently rolling seas fighting the adrenaline-pumping pull of Tautog, Striped Bass, Weakfish, slammer Blues, Spots, Croakers and the occasional eel or small shark. It didn’t take me long to exhaust a string of options leaving only one sensible answer: make my own salt water lures.

Now I’m about as handy as an elephant trying to crochet while wearing mittens. But the craft of lure making can be an amazingly simple one. Besides piquing my interest and developing some first rate manual skills, it really is a lot of fun and kept me out of trouble on many a cold, rainy weekend when they weren’t bitin’ anyway. Now an “old hand” at lure making, if I can produce fish-catching salt water lures, believe me, you can too.

Two of the easiest and most practical lures to make and use are spoons and top water plugs. Cheapskate that I can be, I’ve learned to make highly effective spoons and plugs that fish slam without hesitation out of materials available for free or at low cost. My arsenal of lures cost me less than the price of a big lunch. Here’s how:

Top Water Plugs
An old broom handle will make eight or nine good plugs 5 inches long.

Saw them off to length, then drill an eighth inch diameter hole through the center the length of the wooden blank. You’ll need a seven inch long piece of heavy wire to run through the length of the plug. A dismantled wire coat hanger snipped off to length makes through-wire for four or five plugs, depending on their length.

The wire is bent into a closed loop front and back to attach terminal tackle and the rear hook. Taper the plug’s front end to 45 degrees, use brass or non-corroding screw eyes to attach salt water treble hooks below and behind the body.

Add plastic doll eyes for a more realistic look. Eyes are available at craft supply shops. The solid, molded ones come in a variety of sizes and last forever.

Paint with acrylics. Follow the most common color schemes of commercial plugs or experiment with your own. A florescent orange body top water plug with bulging white / black eyes and a streamer of green hair around the rear treble hook nearly brought me to tears one trip. The fish just wouldn’t leave it alone!

Costs? Let’s see: a length of broom handle – free, wire coat hanger – free, doll’s eyes a nickel each, 8 ounce can of acrylic paint – one dollar seventy five cents, but one can will paint dozens of lures. Usually two colors are used. Terminal tackle about 30 cents per lure – tops. The whole thing totals out at less than 70 cents each lure when I’m spending "BIG".

Save a TON of money, have fun and catch more fish by making your own salt water lures. Lure making can soon change from a pastime into a profitable endeavor if you hit on a hot combination and start making them for your friends. If you have a child or grandchild who fishes, teaching them can add to the irresistible allure of the sport. A number of online and offline publications are available to deepen your lure-making knowledge and skills. Don’t cry if you lose a lure, you can easily fabricate its twin. Besides, by making your own lures, for the price of one commercial lure you can finance the fabrication of literally dozens of your own. Let me know how you make out. I’ve just finished a fresh batch I’m itching to try out.

See you later, I’ve gone fishin’


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