Craftsmen of fishing equipment tempt fish with their colorful creations
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Anglers always dream of tinkering in the basement and creating a magical lure that big bass, muskellunge or walleye can’t resist.
Northern Ohio has been a hotbed of decoymaking ever since Cleveland inventor Al Foss patented the Foss Pork Rind Minnow in 1915, and for good reason. There are a lot of proving grounds here where you can test them out. Lake Erie and the region’s many lakes, ponds, streams and rivers have given birth to an army of anglers and artisans specializing in fishing.
Tournament angler Kevin McQuoid has a walleye fishing station, Mac’s Twin Bay on Minnesota’s legendary Thousand Lakes. After winning an FLW Walleye Tour event last spring in Port Clinton, tempting trophy fish by dragging platforms with custom painted spinners, McQuoid let the cat out of the bag. The popular pro said there were so many custom blade painters along the shores of Ohio’s Lake Erie that he filled his tackle box with a wide variety of their artwork every time he got there. was visiting him.
Walleye can be finicky, he said, whether they swim in the Thousand Lakes or Lake Erie.
Darrell Woods from High Tech Custom Painted Baits in Sandusky is one of the best at creating spinning mills that attract walleye, said Bob Hanko of Cranberry Creek Marina in Huron. “There are certain blade colors he developed that are smoldering, and fishermen have to come and get them from us. Custom blades are good for business.”
A few make lures from scratch. Tom Mayher of Cleveland is famous for his Tom’s Walleye Lure, a unique weight forward spinner he launched decades ago. There were once dozens of people who made the in-line weighted spinning rigs for the Lake Erie walleye fishery. Mayher’s walleye rig is one of the few that has stood the test of time.
Crankbaits, or diving plugs, are the most difficult to create. Major decoy makers spend a lot of money programming computers to create expensive molds that produce plastic decoys. Small lure makers usually rely on balsa wood. It can be cut into the right shape, fitted with hooks and a plastic lip to make it dip, and painted to match the mood of its creator, or a colored fish seems to think it matches a meal that ‘he ate.
Make a mistake and a balsa lure will look like a dead shad floating in a mud puddle. If it’s done right, hang in there after throwing one of the best balsa baits.
âI make 10 styles of balsa caps, and the most popular are the ones with chrome or silver foil on the body,â said Richard Manley of Lakewood, owner. e-specialtybaits.com. “Balsa is the best material because it has different buoyancy than plastic. I offer flat sided lures because of their different action. We now ship them nationwide.”
Bass pro Greg Mangus is from Fremont, Ind., But his C-Flash Baits are popular among Ohio bass anglers. They will be shown on March 16 at the annual Spring Tackle Show at Rodmaker’s Shop in Strongsville, whose owner Ray Halter watched Mangus carry a bass trophy on one of his lures last year while fishing Lake Wingfoot, in east of Akron.
âIt was the biggest largemouth bass I have ever caught,â said Mangus. “Before I released him I estimated he weighed over 7 pounds. Ray said he was over 8 pounds.”
Mangus lures defy the budget of a bass fisherman. Small holds cost from $ 22 to $ 25. The average angler may find it overpriced, Mangus said, but over the past five years his lures have won over 50 big pots of bass and over 100 tournaments. They are expensive due to the tedious process required to turn a balsa block into a finished lure.
Greg Robertson uses balsa to create colorful floats for the anglers at RiversEdge Floats in Madison. Rainbow trout anglers prefer them, as do panfish and bass anglers.
âI started by making them myself,â said Robertson. “Now they’re in hardware stores in Cleveland, West New York. I’m building them with carbon fiber rod and balsa, and in enough colors to keep everyone happy.”
Northeastern Ohio has become a world-class destination for rainbow trout during the cold months. The flies used to catch large trout are continually changing and evolving, and many custom fly levels are now featured in fly tackle stores in the area. Don Richards and Eric Lindstrom sell fly gear at Backpacker Shop in Sheffield, and the two tie showy flies to the side. While Richards sticks to the Steelhead models, including the new tube flies, Lindstrom has broadened its horizons by creating large flies to catch muskellunge.
âIt’s cool to create a fly and have someone tie it up and catch a trophy trout or muskie with it,â Lindstrom said. “It makes us both pretty happy.”