How to Make Wooden Fishing Plugs

Learning how to make wooden fishing plugs is a fun and economical skill for any fisherman to have. Fishing plugs, also known as fishing lures, are bait shaped items that contain hooks. They can be much more effective and longer lasting than live bait. Wooden fishing plugs are the most traditional type of lure and their creation is considered a specialized art form.

How to Make a Wooden Fishing Plug

  1. Gather your tools. You're going to need workspace and proper tools to create your own wooden fishing plug. The exact tools you use depend entirely on personal preference. If you want to hand carve the entire plug, you may just need a good carving knife. If you want things to happen a bit quicker, you can use a hand-held rotary tool. You're also going to need some sandpaper, eye screws and fishing hooks.
  1. Get a block of wood. You need a small block of wood to start carving your fishing lure. The block size will depend on the size of the lure you want to make. Rectangle blocks work best for fish shaped plugs. Cedar, birch and balsa wood are all suitable choices.
  1. Outline your shape. Take a pencil and lightly sketch the shape of your plug onto the block of wood. This will help give you a better feel for the overall balance of the piece. It will also help prevent you from carving an area into the wrong shape.
  1. Carve your wood. Using your knife or rotary tool, start to slowly carve away the excess wood on your block. Continue carving the block until you reach the desired shape. You may want to stop using your rotary tool when a rough shape emerges, carefully carving away the rest of the wood by hand.
  1. Sand the plug. Once you carve the wood into the desired shape, you need to smooth the surface. Use some sanding paper to gently smooth the entire plug. This will help with the plug's movement in the water as well as prepare it for a water-resistant sealer.
  1. Prepare the eye screw holes. In order to attach hooks to your plug and attach your plug to your line, you're going to need to use some eye screw. These are also known as screw eyes. Use a small drill to make a hole at the front and back of the plug. Make one to three holes along the bottom of the plug.
  1. Seal the plug. You need to cover the wooden plug with a clear, waterproof sealer to help preserve the wood and make the plug move fluidly in the water. Be careful not to fill the eye screw holes with sealer. Let the sealer dry completely. After the sealer dries, you can paint the plug and seal it again if so desired.
  1. Attach the hardware. The exact size of eye screws you use depends on the size of your plug. However, about one inch eye screws work best. Check the type of hooks you are using to see if they should be hung from the eye screws first or if they have an open ring that can be used to attach the hook after the screw is in the plug. Attach the eye screws and hooks to the plug. Make sure to leave the eye screw at the front of the fish empty so you can attach your fishing line to it. 
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