I want to make my own tackle. Where do I start?
Building your own fishing tackle is easy and fun, and there's nothing more exciting than catching a fish on a lure you've made yourself.
First, you'll need to decide what type of tackle you're making. Do you want to make soft baits? Or pour and tie your own jigs? Or maybe you've always wanted to paint your own lure bodies? All are easy, but each requires different tools and materials.
Jigs can be used in almost any fishing conditions, so they're a great way to start building your own tackle. Making your own jigs is also easy, and there's an endless variety of molds and materials available, so you can make a creation that is totally unique to you.
Pouring soft baits is fun and doesn't require much equipment to get started. Molds and liquid plastic colors are available to match just about any type of bait, or you can always come up with your own unique creation. By making your own soft baits, you get exactly the style, color, and action you want out of your lure.
Painting lure bodies is a great way to start building lures. Make a mistake? Simply paint over it! Lure bodies are available in every size and style, and lure paints and materials are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
Do I need any special equipment to pour lead jigs and sinkers?
You probably already have many of the tools you'll need to make your jigs and sinkers. Specialized tools are available and popular, but you can also do a lot with the tools you already have.
If you're going to pour lead, the first thing you'll need is a lead melting pot. Learn about the different types in the Choosing the Right Lead Melting Pot video.
Along with a melting pot, here are the other items you'll need:
- Hooks and/or inserts for your mold, as appropriate
- Snips or gate cutters (for trimming flashing and excess lead)
- Metal file (for smoothing jig surfaces after pouring)
- Safety glasses/goggles
- Heat-resistant gloves
It's also important that you find a source for clean, pure lead. Wheel weights and other secondhand lead (including old sinkers) may contain impurities like tin or antimony that can damage melting pots and lead to incomplete/bad pours. Pure lead is available from many online sources, including us.
What do I need to pour my own worms?
For a good overview of the materials you'll need to pour your own worms, start with the Pouring Worms and Other Soft Baits for Fishing - What You Need video. Here's what you'll need to get started:
- Liquid plastic
- Liquid color
- Glitter (optional)
- Microwave or electric burner for heating plastic
- Pyrex cups (if microwaving your plastic)
- Cooking pan (if using a burner)
- Digital thermometer that reads up to 350° Fahrenheit
- Liquid plastic injector
- Clamps (for holding molds closed)
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Safety glasses/goggles
The Finding the Right Worm Mold video will help you find the right type of mold for your first pour. Please note, the tools and materials you use for pouring worms should never be used for cooking food.
Is making my own tackle expensive?
Not at all! Like many hobbies, you can spend a boatload of money (forgive the pun) on the best tools and materials, but they're not absolutely necessary. We can help you get everything you need to start pouring worms, building jigs, or painting lure bodies, usually for less than $150. If you're on a budget, give us a call or send us an email at email@example.com. We're happy to help you get started.
Is making tackle safe?
Making tackle is safe as long as a few basic rules are followed. First, good ventilation is key. Molten lead and heated liquid plastic both release fumes that can be hazardous. We recommend using a vent/hood whenever possible. A respirator can also be worn to further minimize risk.
Protective clothing should also be used when building your own tackle. Lead melts at 621.5° Fahrenheit (327° Celsius), and most liquid plastics must be heated to 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) to activate. Long sleeves, pants, gloves, and protective eyewear should all be worn when working with these materials.
Good ventilation and a respirator are important when painting lures. Vinyl paints give off fumes that can be hazardous if inhaled. Most airbrush paints are water-based and therefore less hazardous, but we still recommend wearing a respirator when painting to reduce the risk of inhaling small particles of paint.
Where can I learn the basics of lure making?
There are lots of great resources out there to help you learn the basics of making your own lures, whether it's pouring lead, tying jigs, pouring worms, or painting your own lure bodies. Here are links to the YouTube channels or websites of a few of our favorite lure builders:
- Smalljaw/Dan Daskus - Bass/crappie jigs
- SDG Custom Lurecraft/Adam Felder - Bass/crappie jigs, pouring worms, painting lure bodies
- Baker Builds/Zach Baker - Painting lure bodies
- StartFishingToday®/Eric Blomquist - Saltwater jigs
- Jig Is Up Lurecraft/Blaine Olin - Bass jigs, pouring worms
- In to the Woods/Jacob Wood - Bass jigs, pouring worms
- Texas Cajun Outdoors/Dustin Minton - Crappie jigs
*Barlow's Tackle may have a business relationship with some/all of the above lure builders.
I have an idea for a lure I want to make, but I don't know where to start. Can you help?
You bet! We love helping lure builders realize their visions. Give us a call during normal business hours or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us about the lure you want to make, and we'll help you get started.
I can't find my favorite lure anymore. I think it's discontinued. Can you help me make something similar?
Absolutely! Lots of lure builders get into the hobby because they can no longer find the tackle they want. If you have a picture of the lure you want to replicate, email it to email@example.com. Otherwise, send us any information you have on it, and we'll do whatever we can to help.
I just want to upgrade some of the lures I already own. Where do I start?
Upgrading lures is a great way to start building your own tackle! One of the easiest upgrades is changing out the hooks and split rings on your crankbaits. Most store-bought crankbaits are rigged with good to average hooks. Changing these out for premium hooks will improve your hook sets and greatly increase your catch rate. And all you need to make the change is a decent pair of split ring pliers and your preferred hooks/split rings.
Spinnerbaits and buzz baits are also easy to upgrade. That same pair of split ring pliers can be used to replace the old blades on your baits with premium blades that have far more flash. You can also customize your baits by replacing the standard Colorado and Willow blades with larger, deep cup, or painted blades to really set your bait apart.
Spinnerbaits, buzz baits, and jigs can also benefit from new skirts. Replacement skirts are available in endless colors and patterns, many of which you'd never find on baits at your local tackle store.