How to Make Wooden Fishing Lures & Spinners

How to Make Wooden Fishing Lures & Spinners
Wood has long been a material of choice when it comes to making fishing lures. Crank baits especially have been shaped from wood including balsa and pine. Wooden lures are easily shaped into various imitations of bait fish with simple and easy-to-use tools. It is also possible to stretch the usefulness of wood to other lures, including in-line spinners. Taking the time to shape, finish and assemble wooden lures and spinners can be very rewarding.


Difficulty: Moderate

Wooden Crankbait Lures

Things You’ll Need:
  • Wood (balsa or pine)
  • Pencil
  • Carving knife
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  • Enamel paint
  • Brush
  • Eye screws
  • Split rings
  • Treble hooks
  • Drill and small diameter bit
  • Lure-making wire
  • Clevis and spinner blade
  • Pliers
  • Beads
Step 1
Outline the basic shape of a lure on a block of balsa or pine wood. Begin with a piece of wood that is larger than the desired lure and will allow for shaping and sanding to achieve the finished lure. Use a pencil to mark the outline on the wooden block.
Step 2
Remove excess wood with a carving knife or pocket knife until you achieve a rough lure shape. Sand the crank bait lure with medium and then fine grit sandpaper to finish the lure shape.
Step 3
Paint the wooden crank bait lure with enamel paint using a small paintbrush. Use paint colors and patterns that imitate natural bait fish in the waters you will be fishing. Allow successive coats of paint to dry before applying another.
Step 4
Insert a small eye screw into the nose, tail and belly of the lure. Use a pair of pliers if necessary to thread the eye screws into the lure.
Step 5
Attach a split ring to each eye screw. Thread a treble hook onto the belly and tail split rings. This leaves the split ring at the nose for attaching a fishing line.

Wooden Spinners

Step 1
Mark an elongated cigar shape or other shape, based on personal preference, on a piece of balsa or pine wood with a pencil. Drill a small diameter hole directly through the center of the spinner body from front to back.
Step 2
Carve out the basic wooden shape with a pocket or carving knife. Remove as much wood material as possible to reduce the amount of sanding.
Step 3
Sand the spinner body shape smooth with medium and fine grit sandpaper. Use care when sanding, as the spinner lure body will only be 1 to 2 inches long and can be easily sanded too much. Paint the spinner body with enamel paints to imitate a small minnow bait fish. Use multiple layers and patterns to create a unique effect. Allow the paint to thoroughly dry.
Step 4
Assemble a clevis and spinner blade and slide it onto an in-line spinner lure wire with a formed loop on the end. Slide the clevis and blade completely down to the loop. Place two or three beads in the color of your choice on the wire next to the clevis and blade assembly.
Step 5
Complete the in-line spinner by sliding the wooden spinner body onto the wire. Form a U shape in the wire below the wooden body with pliers. Slide a treble hook onto the wire down to the U shape and form a loop in the wire around the hook eye. Secure the loop with one turn of the free end of the wire around the main wire length.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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