Capt. Steve Chaconas shows you how to create your own soft plastic fishing lures.

BoatUS ANGLER: Do It Yourself Department

Create Your Own Soft Plastic Lures

by Capt. Steve Chaconas, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff

Photo of finished soft plastic baitsAnglers often look at their fishing lures as being a glass half-full. That is, ideally a lure isn’t quite right and with a tweak here and there, or adding or cutting a bit, a new and improved fishing lure is just out of reach. Some anglers are creative and can visualize an entirely new fishing lure.  After putting together a DIY on Hand Pouring soft plastic baits, I began to wonder, “What if?”. What if I could make a bait that was new and improved over existing baits? Lure Craft (lurecraft.com) not only has all of the liquid plastic, dyes, glitters, and pots and molds for just about every bait, but they can allow you to create your original lure!

Answering the phone at Lure Craft, owner Kim Straley knows more than just the company’s vast inventory of lure making supplies. She used to be a customer of Lure Craft, so she’s aware of the finer points of lure making from development through the finished product. Her bait company, Poor Boy’s Baits, creates and designs lures and unique colors.  Now she owns her former plastics and mold supplier, Lure Craft, and really enjoys bait making! Above all, she enjoys working with fishermen…and fishing!

On the water, I was using a hand poured lure as well as a Poor Boy’s Bait, their famous Erie Darter. I wondered to myself…“Self, what if I could somehow combine the features of both of them into one super lure?”  The bulky hand poured crawfish had big flapping claws that created a fish-attracting vibration and action. The Poor Boy’s Erie Darter has ribs to create more vibration, release small air bubbles and hold fish attractant. But these ribs also allow for better side-to-side movement, to create a more alive action. It is important to note that the uniqueness of soft plastic baits is in the plastic composition and the color or colors. Lure Craft carries microscopic air bubbles to add buoyancy and hardeners to affect the flexibility of the finished product. But it’s the color or combination of colors hand poured into open molds that really makes them unique. Once a plastic consistency is perfected, colors can be limitless!  Mixing and matching the hatch or introducing flakes of differing sizes and colors can enhance or greatly influence the appearance of any color combination or blend. Two-tone worms or tipping or coloring the entire appendage, claws in the case of my creation, create contrast, which is often found in nature.  Open mold hand pours allow for the most versatile form of soft plastic creations. With dozens of color options, including fluorescent hues, Lure Craft’s “color wheel” is endless.

Bottle of Lure Craft plasticBut how to do you go about creating a “new” bait?  A quick call to Lure Craft (1-800-925-9088) produced suggestions on how to assemble my new creation. Taking a bait I liked and a Poor Boy’s Bait (Erie Darter), a pair of scissors and some Pro’s Soft Bait Glue, creative cutting and gluing began!  After just a few tries and a handful of baits, I think I had my new creation!  I cut the claws and head of the bait I was using and inserted the flexible ribbed body of the Erie Darter to replace the bait body. A drop of glue and I had my bait. I mailed it to Kim and within a couple of weeks, her skilful mold-maker…her husband Shawn…sent a mold to me. It looked great! Mold creation costs vary with size, number of cavities and whether silicon or aluminum. Open mold silicon prices start at $85 and take 2-3 weeks to complete.

I couldn’t wait to get to my pouring pans. I grabbed some dye, glitter and started cooking. My first pour was a winner. I made the claws a bright blue and the craw body black with red flake. I had the two colors ready to pour and started with the claws. Once they were poured, I filled the body, starting close to the claws.  Continuing to pour filled the bottom in the ribbed section to fill them first and then back and forth to slightly overfill the mold, allowing it to shrink as the plastic cooled! The claws on my bait are large enough to use as a jig trailer alone by cutting the head of the bait at the ribbed section, or leave intact as flipping bait! The larger claws make the two-tone color contrast more visible! I poured a couple of other color patterns too!  I gave Kim the “thumbs up” on the mold and she liked it as well!  It will appear in Lure Craft’s catalog soon joining their thousands of other soft plastic molds!  Ask Kim for it! Most stock 2-cavity molds sell for about $10.

Two original soft platic baits     Soft platics baits after cutting

Mold for creating soft plastic baits   Soft plastic crawfish bait in the mold

Lure Craft has a very good instructional DVD demonstrating pouring soft plastics. The sky’s the limit! Whether making lures for personal use or for distribution, Kim Straley will share her vast experience. It’s fun to make baits to your exact specifications and to experiment not only with colors, but also with bait design!  It’s even more rewarding to catch fish on your creation.  I couldn’t wait to use mine! I rigged one Texas style and used the claw section for a jig trailer. Both worked! Now it’s your turn to create your own bait with your favorite colors and patterns!

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