Explaining that I make a living by teaching folks to make handmade lures can get an amusing response. Home made fishing lures? It sounds so last century! Like I’ve tunneled out of an Amish community and surfaced in the middle a tech conference!
“You make them out of what? …… WOOD? ….. But why? Plastic ones are so cheap! ”
Well, that’s half your answer right there! McDonalds hamburgers are cheap too, but I’ll drive past 10 of their “restaurants” to find a good, old fashioned burger. And then I’ll pay twice as much for it! Home made fishing lures are not about being cheap…… they’re about getting quality! Oh, and fish catching ability.
Interestingly, our fast food, cheap as chips, modern lifestyles have resulted in a thriving community of guys making home made fishing lures both for personal use and for profit. Wooden lures are as popular as ever! The masses might stop at McDonalds, but smarter folks will always want something better.
Why haven’t Home Made Fishing Lures disappeared faster than you can say “Kodak”?
Well, for starters, smart fishermen recognize what home made fishing lures provide (and factory lures can’t). The quality of build. The attention to detail. The unique look, feel, sound, action. There’s a magical “X” factor about them. They ooze quality – good ones are a delight to fish with.
It’s the same with many things in life….. Those who appreciate a great suit don’t buy off the shelf, they pay extra to have one made. Music lovers flood concert halls even though cheap downloads are available. Foodies spent a fortune at fancy restaurants when a sub could sustain them. People buy designer clothes, original art, expensive wines. It’s all about the experience. Not the price tag.
Kodak disappeared into a puff of smoke because the products they offered became old technology. For a long time digital cameras were inferior to film. But as image quality improved traditional film no longer had the edge over digital technology. Poof, Kodak was gone in an instant.
This hasn’t happened in lure making. Though it’s fair to say that only a handful of big manufacturers continue to make wooden lures.
Improvements in injection molding technology have made the mass production of lures cheaper, more efficient – and more profitable. Every year the paint jobs on commercial lures look more lifelike. Every year new models appear, new designs, new ideas. Lures have become more accessible to the masses. Every year the next new thing becomes the best thing since sliced bread….. until the next new thing.
But seriously, apart from cost, there is still little can be done with a plastic lure that can’t be done better in wood – with a couple of minor exceptions. Plastic just can’t replicate the factors that often make wooden lures so effective, like acoustic quality, random action and unique vibration.
Discerning Fish Are Over McDonalds Too!
Let’s go back to our burger analogy for a moment. If mass produced lures are the McDonalds of the fishing world, then home made fishing lures are the custom crafted, gourmet burgers.
What makes a franchised product like McDonalds successful is consistency. With over 35000 stores around the world, you’re rarely too far away from a Big Mac! And a Big Mac is a Big Mac, wherever you get one. But imagine you ate a Big Mac and had a really nasty experience that you wouldn’t want again. Would you ever order another one? Probably not!
The greatest strength of mass produced lures, is consistency. But it’s also their greatest downfall. Buy ten of the same injection molded lures and you can expect they will be almost identical in terms of appearance, sound, vibration, action and other performance characteristics. They’re cheap and there’s one in every tackle box. So is it any wonder that fish in pressured waters learn to reject popular lures? Once they’ve had a nasty experience with a particular lure they’ve learned not to touch that one again!
Too much consistency is not a good thing when it comes to lure fishing. No two baitfish swim the same way, and neither should our lures. We want erratic. We want random. We want each of our lures to be just a little bit individual. That’s what brings results. Luckily, the variability of our raw materials and the hand making process gives wooden lures exactly that!
The Home Made Fishing Lure Isn’t Dying, It’s Coming Of Age!
Have a quick look on Facebook or Google …… there are masses of folks out there making home made fishing lures. There is a thriving cottage industry that I believe is still maturing, not shrinking. The internet has allowed the exchange of lure making information and vibrant communities of like minded individuals have sprung up everywhere. Fisher folk can find and buy home made fishing lures from all around the world right from their lounge rooms. It’s a golden age!
But it’s not without challenges. And the story I related at the start of this post is a great example. In general, the fishing public doesn’t know that wooden lures are superior. They don’t understand the benefits. They are bombarded constantly by the advertising propaganda of the lure manufacturers with their big budgets. Not to mention the pro staffers paid to constantly spruik their sponsors wares.
Meanwhile, custom lure makers diligently churn out smaller quantities of high quality lures from garages and home workshops all around the world. Lures that catch fish consistently, even in heavily fished waters. Usually they’re doing this with no marketing budget and little opportunity to showcase their work.
As wooden lure makers, we owe it to the fishing public to bring what we offer to the table, and to be clear about the value we create. We shouldn’t try and compete on price with the imported, mass produced lures. In fact, doing so only devalues what we do. It’s our job to raise awareness of why we hand make lures and either teach or supply those who see the value.
Mass produced lures are for the masses. Exceptional, home made fishing lures are for exceptional fishermen.
Are You Interested In Learning Wooden Lure Making?