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    6 Old Geezers Fishing Lake Texoma

Do It Yourself - Slabs and Top Water Lures




I know that there are a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there who would like to make their
own lures. On this page I am going to tell you how I do it, and even where to get the materials.
complete with company names, addresses, phone numbers, stock numbers, and current prices.

This is a good winter time project, when you have nothing else to do, the lawns don't need
mowing, too cold to go fishing, and fishing sucks anyway. When I start making lures again this
winter, I will take pictures and add to this page. First of all, I have to get out in the garage
and clean it up, don't want to show you the mess it is in now, it was too hot to keep it clean
during the summer. I am sure that yours is clean and everything in its place where it belongs.
When I really get feeling bad about the condition of my garage I go visit George in his shop,
I leave there feeling good about mine. Then I make the mistake of going over to Floyds, nobody
who is in their right mind would keep a shop that clean. I will get pictures of these too, to
show you what I am talking about.

I got into making my own lures because I wanted to find something that "worked", not just
look pretty to me. Fishermen buy lures, not fish. And that is the reason there are so many
different lures on the market, you buy them because you think, hey, this looks nice, I'll try
it. And where do most of them end up after you have tried them a couple of times, on the bottom
of your tackle box, getting all tangled up with other "have to have this one, lures".

SLABS

MATERIAL LIST


Check you local tire shops for wheel weights or scrap metal yards for lead.

You can get everything else you need from:

Barlows
Box 830369
Richardson, TX 75080
Service lines Customer Service, Store, Warehouse 972-231-5982
For placing orders only 1-800-707-0208
Email info@barlowstackle.com


The following prices are from their 2000 catalog:

THE FOLLOWING REQUIRED FOR POURING SLABS:

Casting Spoon Mold
                Stock Number 473178 Model CC-2-L (mold produces both 1 1/2 oz and 2 oz sizes) - $23.49
Wire Forms for 2 ounce slabs
                Stock Number 451166 Cavity Size 2 oz. Wire Form CC-200 Package of 100 - $4.95
Cast Iron Melting Pot (for melting lead)
                Stock Number 453018 - $14.26 each
Dipper for pouring lead into mold from above melting pot
                Stock Number 453021 - $9.95 each
Economy Production Pot (for melting lead, not necessary, but sure makes it a lot easier if you
are planing on making a lot of slabs).
                Stock Number 453015 - $43.47
Gate Cutters (for trimming the pour spout from a lead molding)
                Stock Number 451104 - $8.97

THE FOLLOWING REQUIRED FOR SPRAY PAINTING SLABS:

Vinyl Lure Paint In 13 Ounce Spray Cans
                Stock Number 406092 White - Color 08 - $10.95 each
                Stock Number 406092 Yellow Chartreuse - Color 501 Fl. - $10.95 each
                Stock Number 406092 Clear Gloss - Color 14 - $10.95 each

THE FOLLOWING REQUIRED FOR HOOKING AND PACKAGING SLABS:

VMC 9651N Hooks Round Bend, Nickel Finish, Extra Sharp, Extra Short Shank, Extra Heavy Duty
                Stock Number 427330 Size 2 Box of 50 - $9.36
Nickel Plated Spring Steel Split Rings
                Stock Number 410355 Size 5 package of 100 - $2.28
Economy Split Ring Pliers (for attaching on the split rings and hooks, a must)
                Stock Number 410503 $3.39 each
Standard 2 Mil Zip Lock Bags (not necessary, but keeps slabs from getting beat up in your tackle box)
                Stock Number 730221 Size 3 X 4 - $3.29 per hundred

POURING THE SLABS



Here is a shot of me pouring up the slabs using the economy production pot.
I pour up 200 at a setting, so that works out good for me.



Note how I set up the wire forms in the background. I use a
piece of magnetic tape on a piece of wood to layout the forms,
better than sorting them out as I pour.

Caution, use extreme care with hot lead, do not get any moisture in lead.
Water dropped into hot lead will explode.

Ok, now that you have all of your supplies, we can get started. The first step is melting the
used lead. Melt lead (wheel weights, old lures, lead purchased from scrap metal yards) in
the cast iron melting pot. While I am melting the lead, I preheat the spoon mold by laying it
near the flame, being careful not to burn the wooden handles on the spoon mold. Once the lead has
melted, take the dipper and remove the slag from the surface of the melted lead. Once the
slag is removed you are ready to start pouring the slabs. If you have a lot of lead to
melt down and want to get it "clean" before you start pouring the slabs, make yourself
some two pound ingots by stealing your wife's cupcake muffin (if she is like my wife, she has
one, but has not used it for years and will never miss it) and pouring the lead into it.

The spoon mold has to be hot to make a good void free slab, so before you start placing the wire
form
in the mold, make a few blanks without using the wire forms. Once the mold gets hot, you will
not get voids in the slab and you are ready to start placing the wire forms in the mold. After
you pour the lead into the mold, let it cool a few seconds before opening the mold. Open the
mold and with care (it's hot), remove the slab and set it aside. Continue pouring the rest of
the slabs you want. When finished pouring, clean up the mess, by then the slabs should be cool
enough to handle. Using the gate cutter, remove the pour spout section of the slab and file
down any rough areas left on the slab. (side cutters = gate cutters if you have them)

I use the economy production pot for pouring the slabs. I first melt down the lead in the
cast iron melting pot, then transfer the melted lead into the economy production pot, and pour
the slabs using it. This is a lot faster if you plan on really getting into making a
lot of slabs. Also, drill out the pour hole in the pot using a #46 (.081) drill bit.
This will give eliminate the voids caused by a "slow" pour.

PAINTING THE SLABS

There are two ways you can go here, either spray paint, or dip. I use the dip method myself. Either
way, the main thing you have to remember for a quality lure, is the paint you use. You can use
paint purchased at your local paint store, but it will chip off. It took me four years to find the
correct paint that will not chip off. It is more expensive, but is well worth the extra money.

SPRAY CAN METHOD

If you are going to spray paint, place your lures on a flat surface, laying them side by side,
narrow end on one next to large end on the one next to it. Butt them up to each other. Spray
on two light coats of white (color 08),, letting the paint dry between coats. It dries fast. I lay them
on clean paper to prevent dust particles from getting on them. After the first side has dried
completely, turn them over and do the same to the other side. After the second side has dried,
take the yellow chartreuse (color 501) and paint the second side, also giving it two light coats. You are
now ready for the clear gloss (color 14),. Spray on two or more coats of the clear gloss (color 14), depending
on how high of a gloss finish you want. Turn the slabs over and paint the clear gloss (color 14), on the
second side. Caution, do not put the last coats of the clear gloss (color 14) on in damp weather, or it
will dry hazy. If this should happen, just let them lay there until the weather clears up and
put on an additional coat. The more coats of clear you put on, the higher the gloss.

DIP METHOD

This is the method I use as it will put on a thicker coat of paint, and result in a better
finish on the lure (I don't think the fish can tell the difference though). I purchase the
paint from the following:


Component Systems, Inc.
5003 Packer Drive
Wausau, WI 54401
715-845-3009

The following prices are from their 2001 catalog:

Vinyl Lure And Jig Paint Colors
White - Color 01
Clear - Color 10
                Pint cans - $14.00, Quart Cans - $26.00, Gallon Cans - $64.00
                Freight: All shipments are F.O.B. Wausau, Wisconsin are sent UPS or truck as requested. Standard
                UPS hazardous charges apply to gallon cans - $15.00 per box, 2 gallons max per box.
                Minimum order is $30.00
Yellow Chartreuse - Color 02
                16 oz. spray can $6.80 each

This method involves a little more work getting prepared. First, I took a 3/4" x 3/4" X 5'
piece of wood and using 1 1/2" dry wall screws, placed the dry wall screws, 2 screws, 1" apart,
skipped 2" and then 2 more 1" apart, repeating this for the full length of the wood. I then
mounted this about 1 foot above my work bench. I then took some wire forms and cut
about 1" from each end then twisted the two ends @ 90 degrees. These are for hanging the
slabs on while dipping. Place a slab on hook and put hook on screw, place one at the wall end
of the screw and one at the head end of the screw. You will end up with 4 slabs, a 2 inch space
4 slabs, a 2 inch space, for the full length of the wood (get the picture?). I have my wife
save (and wash) our empty plastic peanut butter jars for putting the paint into for dipping. I
find these better (and safer if you should drop one) than glass jars.

Ok, now that you have the hanger up on the wall and have gorged yourself with peanut butter
sandwiches for a couple of months, you are ready to start painting (dipping) the slabs. I use
two jars for the white and four jars for the clear. You could get by with one of each color.
The reason I use more is, after dipping the slabs (4 at a time), I leave the jar below the slabs
until the paint quits dripping. I give the slabs 1 coat of paint, let the last ones painted dry
about 15 minutes after dipping (the white paint is fast drying).


You are now ready to paint the Yellow Chartreuse side. Take the painted slabs off of the
wires, cut off the excess paint drippings that have dried, and lay them on a piece of wood, butting
them up narrow side against wide side. Take the Yellow Chartreuse spray can and
give them a couple of light coats, being careful not to spay them too wet where the paint will run down
between them. Two (or three) light coats is better than one heavy one. This is fast drying paint
so it will not take long to do this anyway. Spay the first coat, turn the board around, and then
spray the second coat, this will give you a better job. Oh yes, put some clean paper on the
wood first, almost forgot that.



You are now ready for the clear coats. After the above spray paint has dried, which does not
take long, rehang the slabs on the hangers. Start dipping the slabs, 4 at a time, with the clear .
Let the paint dry between coats. I use two coats myself, but if you want a higher gloss, put on an
additional coat or two, letting them dry between coats. When you are satisfied with the finished
slab, leave them hang there for a couple of days before handling so you will not get finger prints
on them. One last note here. If you should happen to put on the last coat of clear when the
weather is raining, it will dry hazy. If you should happen to do this, just wait until it has quit
raining and the humidity is down to put on an additional coat, then it will dry high gloss.

PUTING THE HOOKS ON


Don't think I really need to go into this, but what the heck, I don't have anything better to do right
now (don't want to clean up the garage yet), so I will give you my opinion on what I use, and why.

First of all. There are a lot of hooks on the market, and I have experimented with several different
brands of hooks. After trying several brands, and wire types, I ended up selecting the VMC9651N Hooks.
They may cost a little more than others, but why go the the bother of making a lure that will attract fish
if you don't have a hook on that will catch them? You might as well stay home and watch TV.
Or maybe you could take your wife to the mall? Myself, I go fishing while she goes to the mall,
and we both enjoy our day.

OK, now for the split rings. . Don't be fooled by price here. The stainless steel split rings
are more expensive than the nickel plated spring steel split rings, but the stainless steel split rings
do not have the "spring" of nickel plated spring steel split rings and will stretch out of shape causing
lost lures and fish. I have made that mistake and found out the hard way. I thought because
it cost more it was better, not true in this case.

Split ring pliers are a must when you are hooking up several
lures. And for what they cost, why not make it easy on yourself.

Zip lock bags are also a must for storing the finished lures. They will keep the
lures from bouncing around and getting beat up in your tackle box, and if you have plastic lures
in your box, well, you know what plastic lures can do to other lures, really messes them up.

TOP WATER LURES (GEEZER POPS)


Shaping the lures


This is how I shape the back end of the lure. I made a jig to hold the dowel rod,
and as I turn the rod, the sander does all the work. This will allow you to make all
of your lures to the same configuration. I am using a 11/16 dia. hardwood dowel for
my top water lures. The jig is not much to look at, but what the heck, it works for
me. After shaping, I cut the lures to 3 3/8 inches in length. They are now ready
for the next operation, shaping the front part of the lure, and recessing the front
to give it the "popping" action.


The next thing to be done is shaping the forward part of the lure at about 45 degrees.


To get the recess in the front of the lure, I use a router with a round head rotary file
made by Forney Industries, Inc, their catalog number 60070. This recess is what gives
the "geezer pop" (as we call them) the popping noise.

Painting the lures


Now you are ready to start painting. I first drill the back end of the lure, then put
in an plug screw eye to hang the lure on while the paint is drying (this plug screw eye
will be used for attaching the rear hook to the lure after the painting is complete).
I put on two coats of white lure paint to start with. I dip the lures in the paint.
I then hang the lures to dry. (The plug screw eyes are purchased from Barlow's,
stock number 410429, package of 100 - $2.46.) I use the same lure paint for these
top water plugs as I use for the slabs.



After the white has dried, I paint the recessed area on the front of the lure red.
I just use a hobby paint for this and double coat this area also.



The next step is dipping the lure in the clear color (again, the same as I use for
the slabs). Before the clear has set up, I sprinkle on some fire opal glitter (from
Component Systems, Inc. color 50,). I don't think this really makes any difference
as far as the fish are concerned, just makes the lures look nicer. I then put on an
additional coat or two of the clear, this gives the lure a deep looking paint job, and
also it adds a little more weight to the lure for casting.

I have used eyes and different color paint on the top part of the lure, but think about
it, the fish only see the lure from the underneath side of a top water lure when they go
after it, so why go to the extra work?



Putting the hooks on.

I use two different size of hooks on the lures. Both are purchased from Barlow's Tackle.
They are VMC 9651N, stock numbers 427329 (size 4) and 427328 (size 6). I use the size 4 on
the rear of the lure and size 6 in the middle of the lure. The hooks are attached to the
lure using the same plug screw eyes as used for hanging the lures while painting. I also
use the plug screw eye on the front of the lure for tying the lure to the line. Remember to
drill a pilot hole prior to screwing in the plug screw eyes or else they may twist off
when you try to screw them into the hardwood.

Zip lock bags are also a must for storing the finished lures. They will keep the
lures from bouncing around and getting beat up in your tackle box, and if you have plastic lures
in your box, well, you know what plastic lures can do to other lures, really messes them up.

Now you are ready to go out and try your lures, have fun. Top water fishing is, to us,
the most exciting way to catch fish. To see the fish strike at it, knock it out of the water,
and hopefully, strike again, and, nail it.

If you decide to try your hand at making some of these, I suggest you make extras.
When your friends see you catching fish on these, they will say "where's mine?", and
your supply will go fast (I talk from experience here). Just be forwarned, there is
a lot of work and time in making these lures, but well worth the time it takes when you
start catching fish on a lure you have made from scratch.

Slabbing Tips
We have been asked, "what is the best way to use slabs?" That depends on the depth of
water you are fishing in, and the way fish are hitting at the time. Listed below are some
suggestions you might want to try.

First of all, and we canít stress this too much, keep your hooks sharp. We even
sharpen new hooks, and check our hooks all the time we are fishing for a dull point.
Carry a hook sharpener with you whenever you go fishing.

Be courteous, the golden rule applies on the water. Do unto others, as you would
have them do unto you. (Or something like that). (You will see people on the water that
believes just the opposite, like, do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you).
Don't get mad; just move away from them, you are out to have fun.

When you spot fish, donít run in on them (the fish or boats) and wake other boats in
the area. Leave casting distance between you and other boats nearby. Donít leave your
motor running, which will chase off the fish. Donít cut other people off from their fish
if they are casting out. If you canít get to the fish, watch which way they are going and
try to get in front of them and the other boats and wait for them to come to you. You will
catch more fish that way, as you can catch them as they are coming to you, and going away
from you, before you have to move again. Remember, ease up the where the fish are, or else
you will scatter them, and spoil your own fishing.

If you have a locator, find the fish using it. If not, watch for fish surfacing on top
(on a calm day you will be able to see their splashes quite a way of). If the sea gulls
are in, watch for them feeding on the shad the fish are chasing, and fish below the gulls
(donít look up with your mouth open). The most productive way of catching the stripers is
to find them on your locator, and a long way from other boats where you have them to yourself,
but that would be a rare occasion, as the other boats will see you sooner or later.

If there are boats in the area that are downrigging, try to avoid them, as their constant
running back and forth will usually chase the schooling fish off, unless it is a large school.
We have downriggers, but do not use them often, only when we know that is the only way to
catch fish at certain times of the year. They do produce fish, but not a fun way to catch
them, just a last resort if you are out for fresh fish for dinner. It's like pulling in
dead weight, no sport to it as far as we are concerned. (But that's only our opinion)

When you see them on your locator, in deep water, jig the slab up and down at the
depth the fish are in. If they do not hit, try dropping your slab below them then "burn"
your slab in. This will, on occasion, catch the fish if they are not hitting by jigging the
slab up and down. Quick tip here on using level wind reels and knowing how deep you are
fishing. Before you go fishing, take your rod with the slab (or any lure) on. Place the
lure on the floor; watch your level wind go across the reel. Determine how much line goes
out with each travel across the reel. Average for a full reel is about 7 feet. If you
are "marking" fish around 35 feet deep, you can watch your reel and let it go across the
reel about 5 to 6 times, this will get you a little below the fish, and as you jig, you
will be coming up through the fish. This is a quick way to get your slab down to the depth
the fish are working, and where the best action will be. If there are fish on top, and
you are in front of them, cast you lure to the school and let it drop, then reel, drop, reel,
drop, until you get a strike or close to your boat, then let it drop and burn it in. Same
thing holds true when they are going away from you. This gives you a longer time to fish
a school that is on the move and will produce more fish.

If you are in shallow (15í-20í) water, try casting you slab out into, or beyond the fish.
Then work the bottom by reeling in and dropping back to the bottom as you retrieve your line.
The bigger fish are below the fish feeding on top, picking up stunned shad as they fall.
The only problem with this is, you will lose some slabs on the bottom if you happen to be
in a rocky or stumpy area, and can not get your slab loose. Another thought here, while on
the subject of losing slabs. Check you line often for cuts by running your thumbnail down
the last couple feet of line. Stripers have sharp fins and they can nick you line causing
you to lose your lures (and fish), whether it be a slab or an expensive top water plug.

As the slab is dropping, keep a little tension on the line, as the fish will hit the
slab on the drop, and you need to feel them hit, and when they hit, set the hook.

Use a medium action rod, not a stiff rod, to feel the hit. I am going to add a personal
note here. I used to (and I really don't like saying this) really out fish George. One day
while we were slabbing, he was watching me, and asked to "borrow" the rod I was fishing with.
I handed it to him; (I had two identical rod and reel set ups, so I just grabbed the other
one). Do you know, he kept that rod for 6 weeks before he returned it to me. He found out
that the rod I was using was more sensitive then the rods he had, and searched for a new rod
for himself. He ended up buying 3 rods from Bass Pro, and gave both John and myself each 1.
We have all switched to these new rods, George has a dozen of them now, I have 8, and John
has 8. We all catch fish about equal now; (I lost my edge on them). We all have these rods
set up for slabbing, top water, and bait fishing. If you don't believe me about the importance
of having a rod you can "feel" the fish just slightly touch your lure, just ask Geore or
John. It has really improved our total catch each time we go out fishing.

Here is another little tip that might sound just a bit crazy, but it does work. If you
are marking a few fish, take an old rod and beat the water. This will draw the fish under
you if they are in the area. You may have seen others doing this and wondered what the heck
they were doing, believe me, this does work.

And again, keep those hooks sharp

Best of fishing to you and enjoy your day on the lake, and if you have the chance,
take a youngster, teach them the sport. There is nothing like seeing a youngster
catching fish, it will bring back memories of your first fish.



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