tackle box full of flies

5 Amazing Things Happen When You DIY Fishing Lures

Fishermen and baitmakers love fishing lures.

We love tinkering and modifying lures.

We love trying new lures and collecting vintage lures.

And of course, we love catching fish with lures! 

With that said, building your own lures unlocks a whole new world for anglers who love to get an edge out on the water. Today, I’m going to dive into how handmade baits can revolutionize your fishing by revealing 5 amazing things that happen when you DIY fishing lures.

1. You get better quality baits

The first amazing thing that happens when you DIY fishing lures is you get better quality baits in your tackle box. For most anglers, fishing is only fun when you have confidence in the baits you are throwing.

You spend $7 on a great new lure, cast it out a few times, and suddenly … one of the eyes falls off. Or the paint chips off. Or the hook gets dull, losing its razor sharp point. How can you have confidence in the baits you’re using if they are falling apart?

I experienced this problem first hand, during a fishing trip last year on the river. I was faithfully dragging a brand new jig over river rocks, searching for smallmouths. After a few hours, the paint on that jig was chipped and cracked!

store bought jig with chipped paint

In contrast, when I started making my own jigs, my very first observation was how much better the paint lasted on the jig head. To test the paint durability, I would actually drop a jig from a height of six feet straight onto concrete

But the fall didn’t even leave a mark on the paint job. Neither did the second fall. Or the third. In fact, in the dozens of times I have fished with handmade jigs since, dragging on rocks or hitting against wooden laydowns, I have yet to chip the paint on a single jig. This is one particular reason why I love DIY fishing lures – they are great quality baits.

But the upgrades didn’t stop with the jig’s paint job. I upgraded other build components at the same time, and the results were amazing.

That rubber skirt collar that slides off after a few hours? Gone! I cinched on the skirt with wire (and it’s going nowhere).

That thick bronze hook that rusts in my tackle box after getting wet? No more! I swapped it out for a sticky sharp, black nickel hook and haven’t looked back.

This personal anecdote may refer to jigs, but the same concepts apply to any of the other 7 types of fishing lures. The fact is, all fishing lures wear out at some point. However, the moral of this story is that handmade fishing lures will continue to fish (and fish well) long after their mass produced counterparts have worn out.

2. You get exactly what you want in a fishing lure

This leads us to the second amazing thing that happens when you DIY fishing lures – you get to choose exactly how your bait is made! From the quality construction to the colors to the profile, you get 100% control over your baits.

jig hook and finished jig

For instance, one of the major reasons I created the Tiny Terror Jig is because I wanted to fish with a 1/16 ounce bass jig, super-finesse style. Do you know how difficult it is to find a 1/16 ounce bass jig? It’s next to impossible!

So … I built my own. And truth be told, it was so small I didn’t think I would keep making it. Then I was caught by surprise; on a cold spring day, I caught several fish with this jig.

A few months later, this tiny jig hooked and landed my personal best smallmouth bass! Needless to say, there’s now a permanent place in my tackle box for a 1/16 ounce Tiny Terror Jig.

PB Smallmouth

For you, having this freedom of choice might mean putting a totally unique color on your crankbait, or a Gamakatsu hook on your favorite jig. You might hand tie a fly, or tie bucktail on all your treble hooks. 

Want the wackiest of clown colors on your jerkbait? Go for it!

Ever wondered how bruised firetiger colors would look on a worm? Give it a try!

What it boils down to is that you get to make the choices. You get to make the perfect bait for you.

With DIY fishing lures, the world is your oyster.

3. You put never-before-seen baits in front of fish

The third amazing thing that happens when you DIY fishing lures is that now you are putting totally unique, never-before-seen baits in front of fish. This is particularly important to anglers as fishing pressure increases in our local fisheries.

Green hard bait

What is fishing pressure?

We live in an era where fish habitats are constantly bombarded with fishing lures. They see Senko’s, Rage Craws, and square-billed crankbaits on a regular basis. What happens is fish get conditioned to seeing these and the bite on those baits slows down, at least to some extent.

This is called fishing pressure.

One of the challenges anglers face is catching fish in the midst of fishing pressure, especially as more and more anglers join our ranks. This is a challenge that many large lure companies market towards when they create new products.

However, when you create a handmade bait, you can make it with a totally unique profile or color. This means fish don’t have the conditioning to stay away from your lure, like they do for the most popular lures anglers in your region are using. 

Are anglers in your area throwing lots of green pumpkin worms? Try mixing it up with a bruised green pumpkin color for your worms. Take a color or profile that catches fish in your area and give it your own personal twist. This in itself will help make your bait stand out and give you an edge over other anglers. 

4. You save money on fishing lures (in the long run)

Another amazing benefit of DIY fishing lures is they are incredibly inexpensive to make. Now, in many cases there is an initial investment into the equipment to make the lures. After that investment, however, you can make lures for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a retail store.

Handmade jig and store bought jig

For instance, to make bass jigs you would need to invest in a lead pot and a lead mold. After that investment, you would purchase whatever paint, skirt material, hooks, and collars you want.  When you factor in the cost of just those materials (after the initial investment), you would roughly be making jigs for less than $1 apiece. In contrast, the cheapest bass jigs you can buy are typically around $2.50! 

This is great for someone who loves to fish a lot and has a few favorite lures they regularly use. The difference in cost means you will have more money in your pocket to spend on fishing tackle!

5. You enjoy a fishing activity year round

The fifth amazing thing that happens when you DIY fishing lures is you enjoy a fishing activity year round, regardless of rain, snow, or extreme cold. 

I love fishing, even in winter. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of great fishing in my area in the dead of winter. How am I supposed to scratch the fishing itch if I can’t go catch fish?

My answer: make more baits for the rest of the year.

snowy winter on a lake

Lure making is a fantastic hobby you can enjoy no matter the season. Snow or shine, you can make baits long after fish become lethargic and the weather becomes uncomfortably cool.

As you might well guess, jigs are my particular favorite to make in winter. I generously stock my tackle box for the other three seasons, A.K.A. the seasons when fish are more active.

For a rundown of other baits you might enjoy making when fishing slows down in your region, take a look at our take on the 7 types of fishing lures you can make.

Conclusion: 5 Amazing Things Happen When You DIY Fishing Lures

To recap, I’ve revealed to you 5 amazing things you will experience when you DIY fishing lures.

You will have better quality baits in your tackle box.

Your baits will be exactly what you want them to be.

You will put totally unique lures in front of fish (which leads to catching more fish!).

You will save money in the long run (believe it or not!).

Lastly, you will have a fun, fishing-related hobby for the rainiest or coldest of days.

Interested in learning how to make your own jigs? Check out my guide on making your own bass jigs to get started!

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