As any angler knows, fishing can quickly become an expensive hobby. Between the cost of a boat, rods, and bait, many amateur fishers can always use a method to save some money. Thankfully, fishing lures can become an easy and entertaining DIY project, no matter what fish you’re looking to catch or what materials you have on hand.
With just a couple of common household items and a bit of time, you can make fishing lures to catch all types of fish. Just grab some hooks and scissors and let’s run through the different ways to make your own lures!
How to Make Homemade Fishing Lures
No matter what type of lure you’re making, be sure you have all the materials on hand before you begin. These may include brushes, wood, or even spoons depending on the exact lure style you decide to build. In any case, you should always have scissors, knives, and a few basic metalworking tools on hand to shape your lures.
You’ll need some basic fishing materials as well, like hooks and line to string your lure to the end of your rod. Remember to be careful when crafting your lures, especially as you work with sharp objects! A serious cut or injury can be the quickest way to end your next fishing trip before it begins.
Essential Tools to Construct Homemade Fishing Lures
- Material (wood, metal, plastic)
- Fishing hooks
- Paperclips and ornaments
- Knives, scissors, and metalworking tools
One of the simplest homemade fishing lures involves an item you’re probably carrying right now: a coin. The shiny nature of coins like nickels and quarters makes them attractive to fish, and their convenient size and availability mean they’re a simple and quick item to craft a homemade lure out of.
To make a coin lure, simply punch some holes at each end of the coin. Leave one end to attach to your fishing line. At the other end, attach some hooks and brightly colored string or feathers to entice more fish. Depending on your target fish, you may want to make some lures out of dimes or pennies, with others out of larger nickels, quarters, or 50-cent coins.
If you’re up for a slightly more advanced DIY project, wood lures are the best option. Nearly every angler has their favorite lure -- the one that, for whatever reason, just seems to catch more fish than the rest. That lure can be a great template for your new wood lures -- study the shape and weight, then sketch the outline onto a block and whittle it to match your favorite.
Using just a knife and small blocks of softwood, you can carve lures in the shape of small fish and ornament them with plenty of ornaments and feathers. Make sure, as with all lures, to leave attachment points for your fishing line and hooks along the body and tail of your lure. A snazzy, colorful paint job can’t hurt either.
If you love to drink wine when not fishing, you may have a lot of old corks lying around. If so, turning them into fishing lures is a great way to get more use out of them. Cork’s light and buoyant nature makes it a good lure, and it’s exceptionally easy to attach hooks and decorations to.
Start with an old cork to form the base of your lure. Insert hooks into the body of the cork at one end and along the body. Stick a paperclip into the other end of the cork and fold it back to form a “U” shape -- you can securely wind your fishing line through this hole. Because of a cork’s cylindrical shape, googly eyes and feathers may be particularly effective in convincing fish to bite.
Similar in design to a coin lure, spoon lures are great for repurposing old or unused silverware. To make these lures, you’ll need some stronger metalworking tools to cut the handles off of the spoons. Once you have just the end, punch holes in each end to secure your hooks and fishing line.
Spoons can be particularly intriguing to fish thanks to their curved shape. When dragged through the water, many spoons will flutter and sparkle, attracting fish to bite. You can augment this natural effect with feathers, eyes, or even a bit of colored polish to make the lure more attractive and increase your bites.
Jerkbait Stick Lures
Jerkbait stick lures can be considered a more rudimentary form of sculpted wood lures. They’re designed with a small, rod-like shape to resemble minnows in the water. To construct these, simply find a small stick of wood and drill a hole lengthwise through the middle of the rod. Insert a paperclip and loop it at both ends to attach your fishing line and hooks.
These lures don’t have much room for added ornamentation; their appeal to fish comes more from their shape and speed through the water. However, a coat of brightly colored lacquer or nail polish can greatly increase the lure’s visual aesthetic and catch the eyes of more fish as it streaks through the water.
Though it might not instantly come to mind when you think of fishing lures, paracord can be a great choice thanks to its bright colors and durability. It’s also cheap, and easy to buy in large quantities for making batches of lures at one time.
To craft a paracord lure, simply cut a piece of paracord and fray the end to create a sort of “tail.” This effect works even better if you tie two different colors of paracord together to mimic a real fish. Tie a hook running along the length of the paracord, and you have a bait that fish will love to devour.
Plastic lures require more time than the other options on this list but can achieve unique and effective results.
Creating plastic lures requires a plastic mold to form the body shape of your eventual lure. If you don’t have a mold, you can easily make one with just some clay and pottery plaster -- just place the shaped clay in a small container, fill it with pottery plaster, and after it dries you’ll have a mold.
Once you’ve got your mold, you can fill it with plastic to shape your very own lures. This method allows for a much higher degree of specialization and precision than other methods; professional anglers or avid hobbyists who go through lots of lures will get the most out of using a mold.
Tin Can Lures
Tin cans are a great source of scrap metal; you can easily repurpose the unused material as the base for a new fishing lure. This process will work with nearly any piece of metal from a can, though more brightly colored patches may do better at attracting fish underwater. Like with the spoon lure, just cut out a piece of the can in your desired shape.
Depending on your tools and the fish you want to catch, you can make that shape a circle, an oval, a teardrop, or even a skinny rod. Either way, you’ll want to make it wide enough to punch holes in either end for hooks and the connection to your fishing line. If possible, look for more durable cans for this project; thinner ones may not hold up in a fish’s mouth.
Bottle Cap Lures
Bottle caps can be used for lures in a couple of different ways. One of the most common ways is to treat them like a spoon. Punch holes in either end for hooks and your fishing like (or a connector), and simply leave the colorful caps to attract the fish on their own. This method is easy and preserves the distinctive size and color of the caps. They make a great memento!
On the other hand, you can also shape the bottle caps for a more “fish-like” silhouette and more aerodynamic performance through the water. This method works best when you fold the bottle cap around a large hook and press the edges together to form a more cylindrical shape. This type of lure can resemble a minnow and works well with extra ornaments like feathers.
Like fishing, shooting can be an expensive hobby. If you own guns and go to the shooting range regularly, collect your spent shells the next time you’re there -- you can repurpose them as homemade fishing lures.
These lures work great when you peel back the bottom of the spent shell into three different pieces, forming a triangle shape at the base of the cylinder. The circular end can be attached to your line with a small loop, and you can run hooks through the interior of the cylinder and out below the extended prongs of the shell.
Fishing lures come in all shapes and sizes, much like the fish they’re designed to catch. Though some options may be better suited to your materials or skills than others, there are practically endless ways to craft your own fishing lures. By making your own lures, you can save money and put a personal touch on your angling adventures.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful as you learn how to make fishing lures. Remember to take proper safety precautions when making your lures, and happy fishing!