Introduction: Make Your Own Top Water Minnow Fishing Lures

Picture of Make Your Own Top Water Minnow Fishing Lures

Inspired by msolek's instructable and looking for a simple excuse to use my lathe, I decided to knock out some fishing lures. These are alternately know as"Stickbaits" and "Cigar baits".

Step 1: Selecting Your Wood

Picture of Selecting Your Wood

You'll want to select a fairly low density soft wood for your lures, Spanish Cedar is a classic choice, but any cedar or pine should work fine.  Start by ripping the wood into 3/4 inch square by 6 inch pieces.

Step 2: Turn the Wood

Picture of Turn the Wood

Use your lathe to turn the wood into a nice piscatorial spindle shape. If you don't have a lathe, I suggest you build one.

Step 3: Seal the Wood

Picture of Seal the Wood

Since we're going to get these wet, it is necessary to seal the wood. If you have a particularly pretty grain pattern you could use a clear finish. I choose Krylon spray paint, since it was at hand. The thumbtack was used as a handle for painting.

Hint: Stick the tack somewhere where the hardware will mask the hole.

Step 4: The Hardware

Picture of The Hardware

I purchased my hardware from Penn State Industries. I've had nothing but positive experiences with them.

The location of the hardware was eyeballed and the screw holes started with an awl, since the wood is soft, pre-drilling is unnecessary.

You'll notice I only used one hook, that's just a personal preferences, but lures with masses of treble hooks that tangle in the tackle box annoy me, yeah I'm talking about you, Helin Flatfish.

If you don't want to buy special hardware, I'd suggest just using screw eyes and maybe some ballast to achieve neutral bouyancy.

Step 5: Prettyfying

Picture of Prettyfying

Okay, so I'm the worlds worst painter. ;-)  But grab some of your wife's nailpolish (uummm Yeah, it's the wife's) and decorate your lure. I used silver and some glow in the dark OPI I got clearanced at Ulta.

Step 6: Catch a Big Fish

Umm, okay, where's the pic of a big fish?  Yeah, so I got skunked today, 3 hours of flailing the water with artificials and naturals and nadda, let's blame it on the cold front. On the other hand, they ran very true, the only tuning was to bend the lip up which made them dive deeper and wiggle tighter.

If I catch a big fish, I'll add a pic ;-)


black lightning (author)2015-07-18

Nice instructable but these are diving lures. If you want a top water don't put a lip on it and use a small wait to keep it stable

clay zaunbrecher (author)2014-11-28

great job. when I turned some a while back they worked great the only thing I did differently was I put three coats of paint. a white coat for a sealer and then I wrapped the lure in a potato or onion bag from the supermarket to give it a netting look. then silver and a very light coat of blue on the end.

hoghuntingdude384005582 (author)2012-07-17

I made my fishing lure out of a piece of cedar. all I needed was a pocket knife sander and piece of cedar and the hardware, paint, and nail polish. I dont know if it will work as good though

kjemielity (author)2012-01-15

nice baits! for those of us with no lathe, pre-turned tapered furniture legs work just fine.choose your wood carefully,tho...some varieties dont float as high

nathan43081 (author)2009-12-24

I was wondering if you have ever had issues with the hardware coming off when a fish hits the lure. It seems that using a soft wood might have problems here. This is a very nice instructable and I would like to try it myself, but am worried that when a decent sized trout hits the lure it won't hold up. Thanks.

92033 (author)nathan430812010-06-24

Use a full length piece of stainless steel wire through the length of your lure, with enough extra sticking out at top and bottom ends. Make wire loops with twists using needle nose pliers and no matter how big the fish biting wont come apart as the wire is one piece from end to end. You can already buy the stainless steel wires precut to various lengths, or buy a spool at your local hardware store and cut to sizes accordingly. You predrill a hole through the lure to insert the wire, make your twists and connections.

guitarmv (author)920332010-10-17

Yes, that.

Admittedly, I've only taken these out once, but I've been using wooden lures my entire life many using similar construction and never had one fail, even having pulled the hooks straight on snags..

guitarmv (author)2010-10-17

Nice work! I suggest drilling through the center, inserting an appropriate-width ss wire, and attaching your tackle to that wire (i.e. one end of a small swivel).

Wood explodes if the fish hits or fights it right, or can pull tackle (on rocks, logs etc).

Attach your tackle to the wire, and no matter what happens to the wood, you will (hopefully) still have a fish at the terminal of your endeavor.

An Villain (author)2010-04-10

you should have made the white one in the white with red head pattern.

An Villain (author)2010-04-10

i always wondered why a helin flatfish had 4 hooks instead of 2.

An Villain (author)2010-04-10


scavanger (author)2010-01-14

 Tool Using Animal

Great job on this post! I liked is so much I included it in a blog post I did, I thought you may like to know. 

I also wanted to remind everyone to click the stars above and rate this post!

Thanks again.

meddler (author)2009-12-26

I've made a bunch of spoon lures using...Spoons. I buy a bunch at a thrift store and cut the spoon part off and grind it down a bit then drill holes at both ends for treble hook and swivel. I have caught just as much fish as my friend with his store bought spoon lures.

Of course, you realize, you have to make an instructable now.  ;-)

Hmmm, stepped right in it didn't I?

Bardouv (author)2009-12-26

 Interesting and inspiring, yet I don't have a lathe, or a drill press. I suppose I could whittle, but that'll prob'ly take forever. 

paganwonder (author)Bardouv2009-12-27

As with all skills whittling requires practice to become proficient.  Keep practicing and before you know it you will be able to whittle a lure that is straight and true without really thinking about it.

Another option would be to check out noho91 on youtube- he makes really cool stuff without all the proper tools.

davee52uk (author)2009-12-25

Nice one. I think you could use balsa wood for the body and also paint it using an airbrush.

lucek (author)2009-12-24

I have a friend that makes and sells lures. he specializes in ones like lobsters and rubber ducks. makes them in a silicon mold.

Ben.land101 (author)2009-12-24

 First of all, nice Instructable. second of all, you could leave the bill off altogether and have more of a Zara Spook. (one of my favorites)

NachoMahma (author)2009-12-24

.  Very good iBle.

Atrophius (author)2009-12-23

Nice job. If you ever want to check out some other home made lures, I am a member over at  They are some additional tutorials on how to do more lures.

KnexFreek (author)2009-12-23

kewl! nice ible ! 5stars

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Bio: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.
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