I always remember a saying about bass, and bass fishing, and went something like this “if you are not getting snagged, then you won’t catch many bass”. Well, let me tell you, I have found the snags, not only the under water snags, but casting into trees and bushes that over hang the banks of good looking bass holding spots! I cannot tell you how many lures I have lose while in pursuit of bass.
I seem to be spending more time (and money) buying new lures than I do casting lures. Something had to be done, even just to stop the wife from commenting about the money I was spending on these lures.
Years ago, when I still lived in the UK, I did a lot of fly fishing and I used to tie all of my own flies. So I started to do some research into tackle/lure making. If I was able to tie hundreds of tiny flies, I should be able to make lures for bass easily enough. Little did I know what I was getting myself into….
….and I thought just hitting the lake to catch bass was addictive, now I have discovered tackle making!!!
One of my most successful techniques to catch bass during any and all seasons is the Spinnerbait. I have fished with spinnerbaits since day one of my bass fishing addiction and most of the time I manage to catch a bass or 2 on the spinnerbait even when fishing was tough. So I started looking into what I needed to get started with making spinnerbaits. It was a very simple process;
First, I posted a new topic in the UltimateBass.com forums about making spinnerbaits and received tons of great information and advice to get me started
I bought some second hand equipment (lead melting pot, molds and some other accessories) from an UltimateBass.com member and got to work. I had a few small issues with the lead pouring at first, but got more helpful advice from the UB members. Here’s a few of the pointers I received from the members of UltimateBass.com….
1. Safety!! This is the most important thing to learn before pouring molten lead for the first time. Molten lead is HOT!!! And can splash onto your skin without warning, so leather gloves, goggles, long sleeves and pants and are a must!! Lead fumes are deadly when inhaled, so a good respirator mask with the correct filter is also essential when working with molten lead. Once finished with the lead pouring, make sure the work area is well clean of lead dust to stop family members coming in contact with this dangerous material.
2. Pouring the lead!! My biggest issue at the beginning was that the lead did not fully fill the mold cavity during the pour and I would be left with a spinner head, hook and wire with no skirt collar…..not good. I learned that I needed to first “smoke” the cavity (using a candle flame to apply black soot to the inside of the cavity) for better release after the pour. It is also important to pre-heat the mold by placing it on top of the melting pot as this additional heat allows the molten lead to flow better into the cavity, being careful not to let the wooden handle part of the mold to come in contact with the hot pot. Using good pure lead also helps, try to stay clear of the lead weights found on car wheels for balancing, because they are mixed with other materials during their molding and are not pure lead.
3. Painting the lead!! From what I have been told and have seen, the best way to coat the lead is to use powder coating. So far, I have been unable to find any powder coating materials in Korea, so I have been using a technique I learnt from the UltimateBass.com Tips Forum. I use Nail Polish!! I apply a base coat of white nail polish to the clean lead and let it dry. Then I build up the coating with what ever color I need with usually around 2 or 3 more coats. Once dry, I add eyes to the head and coat over the entire head with 1 or 2 coats of clear nail polish. So far, this method has been great and stands up well to hitting rocks and structure. I think the softer finish to the nail polish allows it to bounce off rocks rather than chip.
4. Once I have finished all the above, it’s time to fit all the blades, swivels, beads and finally the skirt.
The greatest thing about building your own lures is “uniqueness”. Sure, in the long run it is a little cheaper to build lures yourself rather than buying from the store, but to me it’s all about making something that can’t be bought from tackle stores. It gives you the ability to fish a lure that you know the bass have never seen before as well as been able to better “match the hatch” at the waters you fish.
Additional to making spinnerbaits, I have now also started making other baits from lead, like football jig-heads, stand-up jigs, Arky style jigs and buzzbaits (a topwater favorite of mine).
Steve Bell, Bassinkorea.