Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fishing Handmade Lures, Part II

Fishing Hand Made Lures, Part II:

Home Made Lures That Work

The biggest step in fishing with your own lures is convincing others that they catch fish. This is particularly true if your fishing companions include (1) the best fisherman in the world (your father); (2) the most skeptical young angler on earth (your daughter); (3) a man who only fishes once a year and really, really wants to catch fish (one of your best friends); (4) a girl who doesn’t really want to go fishing (your niece); and (5) the only witness to the time you put a dremel through your thumb trying to drill a pilot hole in a fishing lure (your wife). Not the most forgiving of crowds.

So if you’re going to try and convince others to fish with your lures, you better darn well bribe them ahead of time. A trip to Park Point in Duluth, Minnesota worked wonders in putting everyone in the proper mood for fishing with my home made lures.

Two completely divergent opinions about sitting on the beach WITHOUT a fishing rod in your hand.

WAY too happy for people NOT fishing.

Having gotten the beach thing finally out of the way, it was time to hit the Northern Wisconsin waters for a second go around. The first (as chronicled yesterday) was a great success, with the Orange Crackleback Neodingbat (as I call it) hammering the northern pikes. As an aside, I discovered first hand the reason that you find so many tack-eyed lures like Paw Paw, Best-o-Luck, and Horrocks-Ibbotson without paint on the eyes. A day of hard fishing and all the paint on the Neodingbat’s eyes were gone.

Getting prepared for a day on the lake.

This day we were after bass—smallmouth bass, to be exact. The first person I attempted to convert was my eight-year old daughter, who is already a highly skeptical person. When I put the Diving Grasshopper, as I call my creation, on her rod she looked at me like I had tied on a dead rat. “What in the world would eat THAT,” were her exact words. Touché, little one. Touché.

The Traditional Todd’s Turtle (left) and the Diving Cricket (right)

The Diving Cricket was carved out of red cedar, so it is a buoyant little bugger. About 2 ½ inches long, it has hook holders on both sides and long shank single hooks. Why, you might ask? Because they look cool. The lure would probably be more effective if it had the hook holder on the bottom, but then it wouldn’t look like a grasshopper, would it? Sometimes form wins out over function. With a mouthpiece made from a folded-over Colorado spinner blade, this little bug dives about three feet deep and wobbles with a wide wiggle. I thought the bass would go crazy for it.

I was wrong. It’s not that the lure didn’t work, it just wasn’t the best choice of lures for this early in bass season in Northern Wisconsin. The daughter began grumbling early when our fishing companion—who was NOT fishing a Dr. Todd special—began to take bass. As dad was fishing the Turtle (with little success I might add), it seemed like she would lose faith in her father’s creation.

Daughter taking a break from fishing the Diving Cricket.

Fortunately, providence struck at just the right time. Drifting over a sunken island, where the water goes from 12 to 6 feet, the daughter hooked into one of those legendary Northern Wisconsin smallies on the Diving Cricket. Once again, she made her dad proud, fighting the fish to the boat herself. Dad boated the fish, took out the hooks, and then handed it back to the girl for an obligatory photo.

Daughter holding a three pound smallmouth.

The fish could not have hit at a better time. The weather began to turn—it was one of those weird moments where the sun still shone brightly while heavy, dark clouds rolled in.

The weather started getting rough; the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.

So we rolled off the lake, having successfully proven that fish could be caught on another home made lure. And with at least one more convert to the idea that you can make fishing lures yourself that really catch fish.

It was not the end, however, of our fishing experiment.

Coming this Saturday: Walleye Fishing with Home Made Lures.

-- Dr. Tod

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