It would have been a few years ago now when Chris, Greg and I had some discussions around painting our own lures. Why? Well between the three of us we buy a fair amount of tackle and over time favourite “Go-to” colours and patterns in lures develop leaving a whole stash unused, sometimes unopened from their original packaging. Another reason is that you can quite often find people or stores selling the not-so-popular colours relatively cheap. After a bit of research on the trusty internet I began experimenting with stripping and painting lures. After a lot of trial, error and success stripping the existing paint off, I later discovered that unpainted lures were also available for purchase from companies over the internet.
Unused lures My experience painting old or unused lures can be broken down into two parts, preparation and painting.
Preparation: The preparation is the hardest and most time consuming and I experienced quite a long trial and error process doing this. Initially I thought it would be as simple as sanding the paint off the existing lures before painting them in your own custom colours, but after a few attempts doing this I realised that the texture which was moulded into the lure like scale patterns and lines was being lost from the sanding which I think can be important in the lures appearance. I figure if we can see the moulding detail with our eyes then the fish can too. This led me to start experimenting with a multitude of different products to try and remove the paint without affecting the moulding details but knowing full well that many chemicals which can soften or strip paint will eat or severely affect the plastic lure. At the end of the day (or more like months) I came accross a few products which worked well but more importantly came to the conclusion that different chemicals affect different lures. With this in mind I only strip paint off the lures which I am confident will not be affected by the chemicals being used. Another method I would like to try is lightly sandblasting the paint off the lures. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a sandblast cabinet at the moment but I think this would be successful and have minimal affect on the plastic or moulding detail.
Painting: Again, trial and error played a significant role in how to and how not to paint lures. After moving from brush to pressure pack, I realised that an investment in a good airbrush was required. Painting the lures, for me, is the easiest part of the process and preparation of the lure is most important. If all the paint has not been removed and cleaned up, like any painting process the imperfections will show through in the final product. If you take your time to let each coat cure before adding a final clear coat, you will be surprised at the result.
Unpainted lures After some research I discovered that there are quite a few unpainted lures available for purchase from online stores. If you are looking to do this, keep in the back of your mind, ‘you get what you pay for’. I have purchased quite a few unpainted lures and have found that the really cheap lures don’t usually swim straight and despite getting a few coats of paint can fill up with water.
If you have the time and patience, this is not only a good way to save a bit of cash but allows you to change some of your unused lures into your favourite or custom colours.