DIY Lure Guide: How To Make A Fishing Lure The Right Way

by Julie | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
DIY Lure Guide: How To Make A Fishing Lure The Right Way

Fishing is not only a popular hobby and sport but a form of art. Just think about it: there’s the movement and the flow of casting and reeling. There’s the knowledge and concentration. Finally, there is the ability to create and imagine! Now, how might those two things fit in?

By making your own fishing lures! People have done it ever since man first learned to fish and how to make tools. It is a form of art to be able to carve a piece of wood, or create a plastic mold, or reshape a spoon to create something that would appeal to a fish’s taste.

Lure making is an art, a hobby, and a lifestyle that adds a whole new feeling when you catch fish on something that you made and painted. This is something you can easily do by hand at home, so why not give it a try?

We are here to tell you just how to get started with making your own lures, what kinds you can make, using what materials, and much more!

What Is A Fishing Lure?

First and foremost we should tackle what exactly a lure is. It is a fake kind of bait that is designed from materials like wood, hard and soft plastic, cork, and other basic materials most of which can float (but not all!).

This means that a fishing lure design can mimic minnows and other baitfish, crayfish, worms, grubs, insects, insect larvae, etc. There are many routes to take and leave you pretty wide open to be creative.

All fishing lures have hooks or are designed to have hooks through them like soft plastics are usually found separately from hooks because you can rig them in different ways. There is quite a variety of lures out there so let’s start to break that down.

Types Of Lures

Different types of Lures

There are many types, styles, and designs of lures so it is actually something where you can let your creativity roam free.

Surface lures are designed to float and move along the top of the water. They usually have the appearance of mice or frogs or even insects. They can be made from various plastic or rubbery material, as well as wood.

Sinking lures go below the surface which is normally attributed to some sort of weight in them, or the use of denser material. These kinds of lures are crafted to look like fish, crayfish, worms, etc.

Yet, things like spinnerbaits and spoons don’t particularly look like anything too natural. The flashing and throbbing that the spinner or spoon makes in the water attract the fish.

Then there are lures like divers and crankbaits that start out floating, but as soon as you begin to reel it in, the “lip” on it pushes water up and over so it dives down to a certain depth. Fishing lures are diverse, so if you want to try to craft some then you have plenty of options to choose from!

Now, that we have the basic idea of what a lure is and how it is used and designed, let’s move on to more of the meat and potatoes of actually making fishing lures.

How To Make Your Own Fishing Lures

There is something special about having or using a handmade lure. Sometimes it’s the memory of who made it for you, or it’s the one lure you know will never fail you to catch a fish or the one you’ve caught most of your biggest fish on. They always seem to have some kind of magic to draw in fish. Whether it’s because they are whacky and wild, or they were really just that good.

So, we are here to teach you the basics of how to create your next favorite lucky lure that maybe you’ll pass on to someone else.

DIY Wood Fishing Lures

Wooden lures are a classic that the old-timers would often create. There are a few manufacturers today that will still make wooden lures, but the vast majority use hard plastics.

If wood is a material that you would like to work with, then it is a great choice that will save you money. It’s easy to handle and obtain, and the different types and grains of the wood can give you different textures and densities which could change the way the lure floats and moves on the water. As well as determine how durable it is.

First, let’s give you a very brief summary of how you make fishing lures from wood, then we will go into detail on each of the steps. Basically, you will need a block of wood and to choose the design of lure you want to make. Then, you’ll trace the design onto the wood, which you will then cut and carve out of the block. Afterward, you can then install the hooks and paint the finished product.

Sounds simple enough, right? Let’s go over the details and instructions you need to know for each step:

  • Choosing your design:
  • Topwater lures are light and are meant to create a lot of movement to draw in predator fish. They are actually the easiest kind of lure to make because it is simple in shape and straightforward. You just need it to float. You can make a few different kinds like:
  • Poppers made with a depression in the front to mimic an open mouth. This feature causes it to make a popping sound when jerked across the water’s surface which is reminiscent of a kind of bait struggling on the surface.
  • Stickbaits are made lightweight in the rear, crafted like a torpedo-shaped floating lure. Jerking this lure across the surface tends to resemble an injured fish.
  • Propeller Baits are much like a stick bait in shape, but with the addition of a propeller on the front end (either single or muti-blade). The vibration and splashing made from the propeller while jerking it across the water attract fish.
  • Splutterbaits crafted with metal plates on the sides or mouth part of the lure adds motion and sway as it is reeled in.
  • Diving lures are the bait that features a lip that protrudes off of them and causes the lure to push water over it as it dives underwater. This type of lure takes minimal extra time, but quite a bit of caution. The duckbill-shaped lip makes it dive to the desired depth and requires this lure to be crafted with a stronger and heavier kind of wood. Here are a few styles:
  • Plugs have a rounded body and a lip that makes them sink. As a kind of crankbait, they can have an added internal rattle to draw in fish.
  • Thin Minnows are thin, small-lipped lures that replicate minnows. This size and style lip gives them a darting action when retrieved.
  • Curved Minnows have curved bodies with a flat area in the front that gives them a wobbling action in the water. They have no lip.
  • Deep Divers feature long lips that allow them to dive to deeper depths and can sink without being retrieved.
  • Create your template: you can search online for lure designs and templates which you can then trace onto the wood.
  • Size: to catch larger fish, you should make your lure between 3 to 6 inches in length.
  • Choosing the right kind of wood: pine, cedar, and balsa woods are softwoods that are light and easy to carve, which makes them great for floating lures. Ashwood, maple, and oak are hardwoods that are harder to carve, but they will stay at depth underwater. They don’t have as much action.
  • Buy wood that is .5 inches or bigger than your lure design.
  • Transfer your lure template onto the wood.
  • Use a band saw or scroll saw to cut out the pattern of the lure. You can use a carving knife, but a saw will be much quicker. Just remember safety first and wear protective eye gear!
  • With the shape cut out, you can begin refining it with a carving knife.
  • Sand it smooth with 80-grit sandpaper first. Then use finer 120-grit sandpaper for the final touches.
  • Drill in 3/16 inch holes for attaching the hooks and the lead.
  • Finally, you can start to paint! Use a clear sealer first and wait for it to dry, then put the base primer on it. Once that dries you can begin painting. You can utilize an airbrush or regular paintbrush. Do the basic coat of colors, and then add the fine details and patterns. Don’t forget the eye!
  • Lastly, add clear epoxy to waterproof your handmade fishing lure.

For further instruction and to answer any questions you may have you can check out this site here to know more. You can also watch this video if you prefer to learn by watching:

DIY Plastic Fishing Lures

Many plastic fishing lures are soft plastics that feature all styles of worms like straight worms, curly tails, paddle tails, and more. They can also include soft plastic creature designs and crawfish. They are a very popular choice for bass fishing.

Creating your own plastic lures is a bit of a different process from wooden lures. This second kind of lure-making may require you to get a special kit. There are different parts that you will need like mold cavities to actually form your fishing lure, and the plastic resin that will be poured in make the 3D lure shape from the mold. Let’s go over some instructions:

  1. You’ll need protective gear like gloves and goggles because safety always comes first! And to be somewhere that has good ventilation and an area where spills and burns won’t damage anything important.
  2. An old baking pan with a heat-resistant surface is an excellent choice to place your mold(s) on.
  3. Utilize a cooking spray to lubricate the molds so it is easier to remove the lures when finished.
  4. Fill a half-cup of the plastic resin in a microwaveable cup. Don’t do any more than half because the resin expands when heated and may not all fit into the mold if it is more than a half-cup.
  5. Microwave the resin in increments of 30 seconds until clear, stop immediately if there is smoke.
  6. Carefully remove the resin cup from the microwave with protection on your hands. Then add a few drops of your desired color.
  7. (Optional) you can include glitter and scents at this point. If so use non-metal glitter.
  8. Reheat the resin for another 30 seconds on high power.
  9. Now, you can pour your resin into the mold. Do so slowly as to prevent bubbles from forming.
  10. Let cool for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Pop the lures out by flipping over the mold and carefully pressing on the bottom.
  12. Leave the freshly formed fishing lures on newspaper or paper towels, laid flat, overnight.
  13. Finally, trim off any extra plastic to obtain the detailed form you want.

In some ways, this process is easier than carving wooden lures or other materials. However, it may be slightly more expensive due to the supplies and kits you need. For more information on the process please check out this website.

You can also watch this video so that you get an even better idea of how it’s made:

Make it lifelike!

What contributes most to catching fish? How life-like your fishing lure looks. Fish like big bass can be picky about the bait they eat and the lures they hit. If it is an obvious fake, and older fish won’t show any interest. So, you must trick them!

Predator fish utilize their eyes and the lateral line on their bodies to track down prey. So, bright-colored paint or other elements can draw their eyes to it. That alone isn’t enough sometimes, add life to the eyes of your lure, make them look real, add texture to the body, and most importantly movement.

Cover your bases with movement, you can make lures that “pop” and make noise on the surface, others that can sway and dart in motions mimicking minnows and injured fish.

This kind of attention to detail and careful craftsmanship is what really makes handmade lures stand above the rest.

How To Make A Spoon Fishing Lure

Spoon lures are a great option that is fast and easy, and it still mimics baits that many fish prey on. The flashing and throbbing action spoons offer is what makes it such a popular lure even today. An old classic design that has survived up until now.

You can make a spoon fishing lure literally out of an old spoon you have. You can make varying sizes with different spoons. It is a cheap alternative for just starting out lure-making. The only additions you would need to buy are the hook(s), split ring(s), and if you want to jazz it up with paint or bucktails, it’s at minimal extra cost.

Even if you don’t have an old spoon lying around that you can turn into a lure, you can easily find them at a thrift store, flea market, or even garage sales.

The only thing you have to do to turn this everyday food utensil into a fishing lure is cut off the handle and file down where it was connected so it is smooth and uniform. Then just drill a hole at each end, one for the split rings and one for the hook attachment. Finally, just decorate it however you want with paint, bucktail additions, texture with a Dremel tool, or more.

Here’s one of the many ways you can create a spoon fishing lure:

Verdict: Why Make Your Own Lures?

If you’re looking at cost alone, then in the long run you’re saving money by making your own fishing lures. Lures today can be surprisingly expensive, so instead of spending 15 dollars on one lure, you could purchase the tools and parts needed to make your own for less than that.

Why not give it a shot? You may even find that you like your own lures more than the ones you buy inside stores. You have all the capability to do so, by finding the information and steps on how to online, just like this article.

Help yourself out if you are a fisherman hooked on this hobby and draining your pockets. Maybe it is time to use your knowledge for creating some handmade lures. You’ll even set a new standard for yourself of what you think all lures should include or how well they are made.

After all, it is something you can do at home and you can find more people that are doing the same thing who can help you out and pass on some of their tips and tricks. It is a good learning opportunity and a way to experience another side of a hobby that you love so much.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is needed to make a fishing lure?

You don’t need much depending on the kind of lures you want to construct. If you want to create wooden lures then you need your choice of woods, a template of the lure, a carving knife or band saw for cutting out the lures shape, sandpaper, paintbrushes and paint, sealer, and epoxy to waterproof. All lures will need hooks and lead or split rings for attaching your line.

Soft plastics require different equipment. You need the plastic resin, the mold cavity, paint or coloring, glitter or scents (if you choose to add them), a microwave, baking sheet, or similar item, and a microwaveable cup. You can use a knife or scissors for cutting off the excess plastics on the finished lure product too.

What wood are fishing lures made of?

This depends on if you are making a floating lure or a diving lure. Softwoods like balsa, pine, and cedar are good options for floating lures. They are lightweight and easy to carve but may be less durable. Hardwoods like maple, oak, and walnut are better for diving lures. They are more difficult to carve and form, and have less movement action, but they can hold their depths underwater.

How do you make fake fishing lures?

Making fake fishing lures means that you do not use live bait whatsoever in its construction. You are using different substances like wood, plastic resin, spoons, or more. These are hand-created lures crafted through carving or cutting, and painting, or melting down resin to fit in molds of your desired lure shape.

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I was fishing before I could walk and it's been a family tradition for centuries. Fishing is my life, or at least as long as I can remember. In the Lake Champlain International Fathers Day Fishing Derby, not only have I won first place twice but also third place! Also, in addition to majoring in Wilderness Recreation Leadership, I also happen to be a licensed camping, hiking, and hunting guide for NY.