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Recycling Old Plastics Into Fish-Catching Baits

My own plastic factory

As a guide, I fish nearly 200 days a year. I go through hundreds of plastics. I used to keep a bag for old plastic baits to throw away.

One day I was dumping the bag and noticed a few things. First, I learned that most of my colors were in just in two general shades. Dark or green/brown. This makes sense on the Potomac. In the stained water, I use junebug, black with red, black /blue. In clear water, I use watermelon, to pumpkinseed and the hues in between.

Next I learned that most of my baits were 4-6 inches.

This was valuable information took a lot of decision making out of my fishing and my shopping for baits. I also noticed how much plastic I actually toss out every season. It wasn't until I was faced with a centipede shortage about 10 years ago that I even thought about making my own baits.

I had a tournament and the store was out of the color I was using....pumpkinseed with the end dipped in chartreuse dye. I fashioned a plaster of Paris mold and melted some old baits in the microwave in baby jars. I poured the hot liquid into the plaster molds and had enough baits to fish in this tournament. This worked very well! I began experimenting with colors and found a pattern that seemed to work well in all conditions and applications. I used these baits for Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, spilt shot, and drop shots. The only problem was the mold not holding up.

Now that I was experimenting with making my own baits, I started looking into products on the market. About 4 years ago, I found a company, Lure-Craft, that makes molds for just about every plastic bait you would ever need: worms, lizards, trailers, craws, grubs, etc. In fact, they make over 500 molds (the World's largest collection) and counting! Their molds are perfect and are VERY close to brand name products like Mann's, ZOOM, ZIPPER, Slug-go and others! They are made of a soft flexible material that will withstand the high heat of melted plastics. They can be reused over and over with no signs of wear, and can be poured as soon as you remove finished baits. Chances are that you have bought a plastic bait made by a company using LURE-CRAFT molds as they are also commercially used. These molds start around $8.

They also carry plastic, glitter and just about every every color dye you could imagine. They carry the pouring pans and hot plates. Special plastics that are super soft or can float are available (you can also re-melt your old plastics). If you get into this as I have, you will want to get the Lee Plastic Production pot to pour a seasons worth of baits.

Sure you will save money making your own baits, or even enjoy the hobby. But, the most important factor is that you will be able to make EXACTLY what you want in the right size and color in your own unique patterns. I pour a lot of baits, including ZIPPER style baits. Mine look like packaged baits, and work a bit better because they are the "perfect" color for my fishing on the Potomac River. I know many guys who pay more for "hand poured" baits. I like to make two pours with a bait to give me a contrast in color. The black/blue, green/pumpkinseed, orange/brown, chartreuse/pumpkin seed combos are very effective but not always available locally. I have as many as I need! I also soak all of my plastics in Jack's Juice after I take them out of the mold.

LURE-CRAFT has components for other tackle, like spinnerbaits skirts and blades, and everything for making a wide variety of lead jigs. They have the hooks, paints and molds.

Call for a free catalog. 1-800-925-9088

For more information, check out

Check out some of my special baits!

These baits were easy to make! Most of my baits are made from old plastics. I use the dyes to get the right colors. LURE-CRAFT sells liquid plastic to get even better consistency and color. Just heat up the plastic until it is liquid, pour into molds, remove and repeat...then go fishing!

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