DIY: fishing lures

by Linda Gabris | June 15, 2021
Various homemade fishing lures displayed on a piece of drift wood.

Making lures is a rewarding hobby and a smart way to save money, especially if you have to rig the whole family with tackle. With a few basic tools, an assortment of new or recycled split rings, swivels, hooks, wire, and a few scavenged household items, you’re ready to start building.

Bottle cap lure

  • Using a hammer and nail, punch or drill two holes across from each other in the rim of a bottle cap
  • Pop a split ring into each hole, then slip a hook onto one ring and a swivel onto the other


  • Thread lure wire through the holes instead of using split rings, and add beads, flippers, and blades before attaching a hook and swivel.
  • To make a “spinner,” bend the cap with pliers into a “bullet” shape (a couple of small sinkers can be enclosed in the cap for weight before bending).

Real spoon spoons

  • Using a hacksaw (or rotary tool) cut the handle off a spoon and sand or grind the cut end until smooth. Drill a hole (wear protective glasses) in the top and bottom of the spoon. Sand before attaching hardware
  • Spoons can be used as is or painted. Let the kids have fun painting their own and don’t fret if they aren’t picture-perfect.
  • Stick-on fish eyes bring life to the lures

Spoon handles

  • Drill a hole in the top and bottom ends of a cut-off spoon handle
  • Pop a split ring into each hole, slip a hook onto one ring and a swivel onto the other, and you’ve got a super lanky lure with good heft

Cork lures

  • Screw small eye-screws into each end of a cork and one in middle of its length, which will become the bottom of the lure
  • Attach slip rings to the three eyes. Slip a swivel on the front end and hooks on the tail end and bottom
  • Paint the cork and add eyes, if you wish

Cork bobbers

  • Drill a 3⁄16″ wide hole lengthwise through the centre of a cork. Push a wooden chopstick (the tapered shape works better than a plain dowel) through the hole until the tapered bottom sticks out about 2” from the cork
  • Saw the top off the stick so it protrudes about 3” from the other end of the cork
  • Using tin snips, cut the spring-end off a safety pin, leaving the closed circular end and ¼-inch “legs”. Create a ring by winding waxed thread tightly around the pin legs and chopstick to attach them
  • Paint the cork bright colours for visibility

Beaded poppers

  • Using your smallest bit, drill a hole lengthwise through a cork
  • Cut a 7” piece of lure wire and make a small loop in one end by twisting the wire to secure it
  • Thread a couple of beads onto the untied end, and run that open end through the cork
  • Thread a couple more beads on the other side of the cork, and secure them with another wire loop
  • Add a hook to one loop and a swivel or line to the other loop

Originally published in the 2020 Ontario OUT of DOORS Fishing Annual

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