Make Your Own Fishing Lures




Introduction: Make Your Own Fishing Lures

About: Just a guy from Upstate NY, making the best of things!

After purchasing a lightweight canoe that fits on top of my car and spending most of the the summers of 2010and 2011 fishing, I decided to expand my hobby by trying my hand at making some fishing lures. This is how I went about doing it!

This is a great idea to pass some time during long, cold winters (if you have them and don't ice-fish).

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Don't be alarmed, most of the specialty tools are cheap, and most people have tools they could substitute in.

Tools List:

Power drill
Various drill bits
Coping saw (for precision cutting)
Roofing knife
Knife for whittling (multitool)
Tape measure
Sharpies (fine and wide tips)
Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit)
Pliers or vice grips
Small paintbrush
Superglue of some kind (waterproof if possible)

Materials List:

Wood of your choice ( I used a 1"x1" piece of pine from home improvement establishment)
Large popsicle stick or shim of wood (from craft store)
Paint (I used craft paint-its gonna be clear coated)
Wood sealant (Use polycrylic!)
Wood putty (for filling in holes/mistakes)
Large nails
Googly eyes (from craft store)
Small eyelets(use the smallest you can find or order from lure parts supplier online)
Propellers (OPTIONAL)(from lure parts supplier online or make your own)
Split rings (for attaching hooks)
Treble Hooks

That "torpedo" is the half-finished product you can make using this instructable.

Step 2: Choose a Size!

Figure out how big you want your lure to be. Muskie action? Pike? Or maybe some largemouth bass? Big lures equal big fish....most of the time. I went for average size, about 3 Inches.

I don't have a lathe (yet!) so i had to do this the old fashioned way: whittling. I made it easier by cutting off the 4 corners of the rectangular block, lengthwise (see above pictures) to thin out the lure.

I decided to go for a cigar-shaped topwater lure, so I whittled the ends cone-shaped.

A lathe would be much faster, and you could make dozens of blanks, of various shapes and sizes.  I plan to do this very soon as winter is approaching!

Step 3: Polish It Up

Use the coarse sandpaper to smooth out the roughness of the whittling and finish with the fine sandpaper to make a good painting surface. Also helps the lure run straight and true in the water.

Step 4: Optional Step

I had the crazy idea of adding small wings in the back of the lure to help the lure not spin wildly during the retrieve (as my first iteration did). I haven't seen a lure with this feature so I figured it would make my creation even more unique!

I cut a small piece off the end of the popsicle stick and cut that piece in half.

I used the roofing knife to carve out grooves that allowed the pieces to fit snugly, then superglued them into place.

Step 5: Make It Life-like!

I drilled some small pilot holes where the eyes would be then drilled big holes so the craft eyes would fit snugly inside (try not to drill too deep!) There is a small tab on the eyes, I cut that off to make them fit in the round holes. After checking the fit, I superglued them in. Looks like bait already!

I put an eyelet in the nose for holding purposes.

Now to come up with a paint scheme!

Step 6: What Do Fish Like to Eat? Hmmmm...

Since I was making a topwater lure, I figured a frog would be a good pattern. Grabbing the lure by the eyelet with vicegrips, I started with a base coat of white (optional, depending on the paint you choose).

The back was to be a rich green color.

I put some goldenrod yellow under the mouth.

Then I added some spots to the back. Not too shabby!

Let your creative juices flow here, you may just discover the next hot bass-fishing color pattern! Or, you can even copy some well-known lure patterns.

Step 7: Waterproofing

Tie some spare fishing line to that front eyelet, about 2 feet of it. Stir the polycrylic well, and submerse the lure. Let the excess drip off for a few minutes and hang to dry over some newspaper to catch drips.

Two to three coats will more than suffice, just make sure to let it dry completely between coats.

Step 8: Now for the Pointy Bits...

When the clear coat has dried for a day, its time to add some hardware.

Add an eyelet to the back end, and one on the belly, near the middle, but closer to the front.

Attach a split ring between a treble hook and the eyelet on the rear and on the belly.

You are now ready to fish!

This lure can be fished walk-the-dog style, twitched, or burned in on a straight retrieve.

I added a propeller to the back after my first test for some added splashing effects.

Step 9: Extra Tricks/tips

I included a photo of some of my other creations.

Add scales using a fine point sharpie (on the dried paint, before the clear coat). Add some crazy stripes. Or appendages. Or feathers. Or a propeller or two for more splashing.

If the lure seems too light, you may have to add a modification for more weight. I used a piece of a large nail.

All you have to do is hollow out a cavity for the nail piece to fit in, cover with wood putty, sand smooth, and repaint/clear coat (see second picture). If you have some lead from a jighead, or one of those pieces of lead that fell off a car tire, you can hammer it into a thin rod you can use to get more weight into a smaller cavity.

The bottom lure in the first picture has a concave nose in the front to make it a popper. I actually caught bass with it this summer, seen in the third picture!

Don't be disappointed if your designs don't always catch fish. That's why they call it "fishing", not "catching"!

Let me know if you have any cool designs or paint schemes! Post photos of any monster fish you might have caught using your own lures.

Step 10: Update!

I purchased the lathe I mentioned in this instructable in December 2011.  I began turning lures of both my own design and copies of antique lures.  The best wood to use turned out to be basswood, but I also used white/red pine and red/white cedar.  I also copied a new type of lure that was just released mid-February called the D&S crank from Sebile.  Its the one with the wide gap hook sticking out the back.  I have tested most of the designs for bouyancy and swimming action to see if any modifications were necessary.  A bunch turned out to need weight added.  I have completed the mods but have yet to test them.  When the ice melts in the next two months, I will begin some extensive field testing and hopefully catch some fish under various conditions.



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    47 Discussions

    here are a few of my first ones i made.

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    i am just starting to make wooden lures. excellent job. the thing i do is put the eyes in after painting, so you don't have to cover it out when you paint. as soon as i figure out how to add my pictures i will show you some of mine.

    in the pics at the bottom you have a red and white popper, how did you make the mouth?

    Very cool, thanks for posting all the designs.

    I made this bass lure to look like a MIni Heddon Zara Spook. It turned about 3.5''. I made the bleeding gills with a pen since my painting skills are pretty bad.

    2 replies

    I made one just like yours! I modeled it after some old time lures.

    Cool. Didn't get to use it lat year, but hopefully I can get it in the water when spawn comes around.

    Heck yea I have used it for so many things. Super tough tool.

    I can't find eyelets small enough. Other than that I made a few of these and they turned out good. Check out my guid to fishing tutorial. I need votes

    1 reply

    Lurepartsonline .com has all the supplies for making lures.

    you made some great lures!

    I will definitely make the torpedo and some rapala-like minnow lures and i was just wondering what size treble hooks,propellers and split rings you used?

    Love the project, made the one in the end with the fish on it, but I am having trouble finding eyelets. Where did you get yours?

    1 reply

    Thank you for sharing your creativity. This is a great -ible, every step is clear and I'll have no problem following your instructions. I once read a lure making book that suggested Bass Wood. Now I've looked at lumber co and even Lows and Home Depot and no one carries Bass Wood. But, if you find it they claim its easy to carve and as light as Balsa. "Those books" I read also had some kind of metal, swivel, cable from the split rings to the nose of the lure. Maybe pull out of the screwed in eyelets are only a problem with Bass Wood. I don't know, there instructions were to daunting. Have you ever had a problem with your hook eyelets pulling out? Thanks again for a great instructable! Maybe I will be able to make one after all.

    1 reply

    I had the same issue. I found a hardware store that had a HUGE selection of different and exotic woods, and thats where i got my basswood and also some cedar(the wood that never rots). The "through" cable you saw is to keep eyelets from being ripped out, but since i don't fish for huge fish in the ocean, I am not worried about any eyelets being ripped out. Basswood is actually pretty tough, it just has a tight grain pattern and sands down really smooth.

    Ok I have a quick question. There arent many kinds of fish where I fish, as far as I know, strictly trout. If I made a smaller version of some of these, would trout hit them? (I will include a picture of little 7 year old me so you can get an idea of the fishes' size...)

    1 reply

    Trout of that size have small mouths, and they do eat small minnow fish. If you check out my other 'ible, you will see what I use to catch all my trout. Tiny wooden lures that would fit in a trout's mouth would be too fragile after you put the screw-eyes in. I would go with a long shank hook around the number 8 size, and tie some small hackle feathers around the upper shank with some black thread, and tip the hook with a trailer of a piece of nightcrawler.