In the world of angling, there’s an undeniable allure in crafting your own fishing gear, and one area where this DIY approach shines is in the creation of soft plastic lures. These pliable baits, known for their lifelike movements and versatility, are favored by anglers targeting a wide range of fish species.
Whether you’re an experienced lure maker or a novice looking to embark on a creative fishing journey, learning how to make soft plastic lures allows you to tailor your baits to specific fishing conditions and preferences.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the fascinating process of crafting these lures from start to finish, unlocking the potential for custom creations that might just be the key to landing your next trophy catch. If you decide to buy soft plastic lures, we have a separate article for it here: Best Soft Plastic Baits for Bass Fishing.
Materials You’ll Need
Soft Plastic Material
To embark on the journey of making your own soft plastic lures, the first essential item on your list is soft plastic material, typically known as plastisol. Plastisol is the lifeblood of soft plastic lure crafting, and it’s the most commonly used substance for this purpose. Available in various formulations, plastisol can be found in different colors and specific formulas designed for particular fishing scenarios. Whether you’re aiming for vibrant, eye-catching hues or subtle, natural tones, selecting the right plastisol is the foundation of your lure-making endeavor.
A mold is your canvas when it comes to shaping your soft plastic lures. These molds come in a wide range of designs and sizes, each meticulously crafted to replicate the appearance and movement of specific aquatic prey. Whether you’re looking to create lifelike baitfish, convincing crawfish, or alluring worms, there’s a mold out there to match your vision. Choosing a mold that aligns with the type of lure you want to craft is crucial for achieving the desired results in your homemade lures.
Pyrex or Heat-Resistant Container
To transform solid plastisol into a molten form ready for molding, you’ll require a suitable container. Opt for a Pyrex or heat-resistant container that can withstand the high temperatures required for melting plastisol. This container will serve as your vessel for heating the soft plastic material and ensuring it reaches the ideal consistency for pouring into the mold. A heat-resistant container is an essential tool in this creative process, allowing you to work safely and effectively as you embark on your soft plastic lure-making adventure.
Once you have your soft plastic material in your heat-resistant container, the next step is to thoroughly mix it to ensure a consistent and smooth texture. For this task, a dedicated stirring utensil is indispensable. You can opt for a wooden stick or a metal spoon, both of which are adept at stirring plastisol effectively. Your goal is to achieve a homogenous blend, especially if you plan to add colorants or glitters to your soft plastic mixture later on. Stirring ensures that the color and additives are evenly distributed, resulting in lures with uniform appearance and performance.
To transform solid plastisol into its liquid state, you’ll need a reliable heat source. Common options include a hot plate or a microwave, depending on your personal preference and the amount of plastisol you’re working with. The heat source is essential for melting the soft plastic material, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate temperature and melting time. Proper heating ensures that the plastisol reaches the desired consistency for molding. Be cautious during this step, as working with hot materials requires attention to safety.
Plastic Injector or Dropper
Once your plastisol is molten and ready, the next item you’ll need is a means to transfer it into your mold. For precise and controlled filling of mold cavities, plastic injectors are a popular choice. They allow you to measure and distribute the molten plastic accurately, ensuring each lure comes out as intended. However, droppers can also be effective, particularly for smaller-scale lure production. The choice between an injector and a dropper depends on your preferences and the level of precision you require in your soft plastic lure crafting.
Colorants and Glitters (Optional)
While crafting soft plastic lures, you have the creative freedom to customize your baits with colorants and glitters. These additives are optional but offer an exciting opportunity to make your lures truly unique. Colorants can transform the appearance of your lures, allowing you to mimic natural prey or experiment with vibrant hues. Glitters add sparkle and shine, potentially attracting more attention from curious fish. If you choose to use colorants and glitters, remember to mix them thoroughly into the molten plastisol before pouring it into the mold. This ensures that your additives are evenly distributed, resulting in visually appealing and enticing soft plastic lures.
Steps to Make Your Own Soft Plastic Lures
Before diving into the creative process of crafting soft plastic lures, prioritize your safety. Hot plastic material can cause burns and accidents if not handled carefully. Always wear appropriate safety gear, including heat-resistant gloves and safety glasses, to protect yourself from potential hazards. These precautions ensure that your lure-making experience remains safe and enjoyable.
Prepare the Mold
Ensuring that your mold is clean and ready for use is a crucial initial step. Clean any residual materials or debris from previous casting sessions, as this can affect the quality of your lures. To facilitate the easy release of your finished lures, you can apply a mold release agent to the interior surfaces of the mold. This thin coating helps prevent the soft plastic from sticking to the mold, ensuring that your lures come out smoothly and intact.
Prepare the Soft Plastic Material
With safety measures in place and your mold prepared, the next step is to measure the required amount of soft plastic material, known as plastisol. The amount you need depends on the size and type of lure you intend to create. Precise measurement ensures that you have the right quantity to fill your mold without excess waste. Place the measured plastisol into your chosen heat-resistant container, setting the stage for the transformation from solid to molten plastic, the foundation of your soft plastic lures.
Melt the Plastic
Once your soft plastic material (plastisol) is in the heat-resistant container, it’s time to initiate the transformation from solid to liquid. Utilize your chosen heat source, whether it’s a hot plate or microwave, to heat the plastisol. It’s crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended temperature and melting time. This ensures that the plastisol reaches its optimal consistency for molding. During this process, regularly stir the material to guarantee even heating and a uniform texture.
Add Color and Glitter (Optional)
If you desire to infuse your soft plastic lures with a touch of personalization and attraction, this is the moment to introduce colorants and glitters to the melted plastisol. Adding these optional elements can give your lures distinctive patterns and effects. Ensure that you mix the colorants and glitters thoroughly into the molten plastisol to distribute them evenly. This meticulous blending guarantees that your soft plastic lures emerge with the desired colors and sparkle that may entice fish.
Inject the Mold
With your molten plastisol ready and customized to your liking, it’s time to transfer it into the waiting mold. This step requires a plastic injector or dropper, with injectors offering precision for controlled filling. Aim to fill the mold cavities to their brim but avoid overfilling, as excess plastic can be trimmed away later. By using an injector or dropper, you ensure that the melted plastic flows precisely into the intricate details of the mold, resulting in lures that faithfully replicate the intended design.
Cool and Cure
Once your mold is filled with molten plastisol, exercise patience as you allow the filled mold to cool and cure. The cooling duration can fluctuate based on factors such as the lure’s size and thickness. To guarantee the best results, adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the curing time. During this phase, the soft plastic material solidifies, taking on the shape and characteristics of your chosen mold. It’s a critical phase that determines the final form of your soft plastic lures, so ensure that you allow ample time for the cooling and curing process to complete.
By following these meticulous steps, you’ve embarked on a creative journey that allows you to fashion custom soft plastic lures tailored precisely to your fishing preferences and the species you’re targeting. Whether it’s the vibrant colors that mimic natural prey or the lifelike shapes that beckon curious fish, your soft plastic lures are a reflection of your angling vision. Now that you know how to make your own soft plastic lure, you can also check our tips for fishing with soft plastics.
As you continue this craft, don’t hesitate to experiment with various color combinations, shapes, and sizes, fine-tuning your creations to suit the specific fishing environments you encounter. This creative exploration enables you to uncover the secrets of what truly entices the fish you pursue.
So, gear up, get crafting, and let your soft plastic lure creations become a powerful extension of your angling expertise. Whether you’re pursuing trophy catches or simply enjoying the art of lure making, the journey of crafting your personalized soft plastic lures is an enriching one that adds a unique dimension to your angling pursuits.