StrykerLures

Making A Living Selling Lures?

31 posts in this topic

Everyone here makes some kind of lures, But to those who sell them, Do you and Can you make a living Selling them? I've only sold a few Bucktails on e-bay so far. But they don't sell as well as I hoped they would, I mostly make Musky lures and I'm starting to make Wood Musky lures. Do any of you guys sell enough to make a decent living off of it?

Edited by StrykerLures

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The first distinction that should be made is that crafting lures of any quality & making a living/money doing so are separate.

In answer to your question, you can if you are willing to sacrifice, make decisions and to be a risk taker. In order to reach that goal of lure crafting for a living, you need to fully understand is that it requires diligent, hard work & a very savvy business mind.

Edited by kellure

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i hope to be making a living at it someday soon! i know its definitely a full-time job with lots of traveling and promoting/marketing.

some more insight here would be great guys!

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I think it is good for extra income unless you go balls to the wall with it and make major investments. I went to a fishing expo a month ago , there is a lot of competition out there. You need to come up with a really great lure that stands out of the crowd and stand behind everything you make. i am going to start selling on e-bay and a local flea market. IF you want it the sky is the limit. Good luck!:D

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Lure making as a profession is business. You have to be a good businessman first and foremost. Sure, you have to make really good lures that catch fish, appeal to fishermen, and are a little different from all the other lures in the marketplace. Then your lures need to become well known and sought after. You have to know how to package and market them. Then you have to work really hard to produce/sell enough lures to cover your costs and make a profit - all while maintaining the quality that made you famous in the first place.

Quite a few custom builders sell lures and make a profit. Most of them aren't giving up their day jobs, however. Many builders love doing it as a hobby. But don't delude yourself that lure building as a business is the same thing. You have customers, schedules, orders, expenses, production problems etc that have to be addressed daily.

Like a lot of businesses, it can be a question of who you know, not just what you know. If I were 20 yrs old and wanted to get into the business, I'd get a job with Strike King, Norman, Rapala, Lucky Craft USA, or a similar company to learn what it's about and make contacts. If you still love it after 5 years, consider where you want to go in the industry.

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It takes a lot of time to get your name and product out there. What started out as a hobby has ended up to more than full time work. It is just one of those things that if you are persistent (like Kelly said), and your have a good product ( like Bob P said), and you make the right decisions, your business will grow but it takes time. I know of no one who just bursts on the scene, and the money starts rolling in. And you never know where your business will take you. I started out just painting. Then, I got into making lures which lead to a phone call from Bass Pro Shops. Now I am painting, making lures, and now designing lures for Bass Pro. If you want it bad enough, you can do it, but it ain't easy by no means.

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WELL SAID gentlemen, It takes guts,grit, sacrifice, savy,20 hour work days and most important people who love you enough to believe in you.

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hughesy: what is your avatar pic of? looks like quite the craw crank... any other pics?

and did basspro just call you up outta the blue cuz they had seen some of your work, or was there prior talks?

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hughesy: what is your avatar pic of? looks like quite the craw crank... any other pics?

and did basspro just call you up outta the blue cuz they had seen some of your work, or was there prior talks?

This is and old super R that I kind of semi carved with a file . The legs and claws are off of some castaic bait that I don't think they make anymore. They are soft plastic.

Bass pro had bought some of my other lures like the H&T series and the topwater boinger from me, and I had painted several thousand rogues for them. But as far as desinging lures for them, they just call and asked me if I would do it.

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making a living in lure making is extremely hard, of course it depends on where you live but for example here in Finland there are thousands of small lure manufacturers. basically what you need to do is to come up with something new and innovative or make top quality lures from all ready existing patterns, at least at first when you start you cant compete with quantity so you should aim to quality. there are good examples of lure brands that sell here like hot cakes witch are made extremely well and more importantly catch a lot of fish. also if there is new innovation coming to market it might be good idea of make your own design of that particular bait.. and finally it does not hurt to have a cult reputation for your lures for being almost magical at caching fishes.

Edited by solarfall

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I make some money at it but not much. Most of the money I make goes right back into the business working on new ideas. I have had lures manufactured for me overseas several times, made thousands myself, and also by others here in the USA. I have found it is very difficult to get a high quality product unless you make it yourself. The problem with making it yourself is there is only so many hours in the day. I had one lure made overseas that would break if you looked at it wrong and I threw out all of them, a very expensive mistake. I have had other lures that I invested thousands into only to find out they didn't sell very well.......it's a business and there is certainly risk.

So............how do you avoid risk? One way is to build all the lures yourself and build the business slowly. The problem with this approach is you never make much money at it, you can make some, but not enough to make it worth quiting the day job.

IMHO, the best way to make money at it is to be really good at developing new ideas and then finding someone who is very skilled to produce them for you. Again, you can make a little money building them yourself but to make good money you have to let others do the work for you.........there is not enough hours in the day to do everything yourself.

The other bad thing about lure building is all the chemicals you must use. There is the lead, the paints, the wood dust, all the plastics, and worst of all, the clearcoat. I don't care how good your ventilation system and mask is your are being exposed and long-term I don't think it's worth it.

Hack, hack, wheeez, wheez.

Jed.

Edited by RiverMan

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I help to build and design lures for a major company. Its all about marketing and catching the fisherman before the fish from a mass production standpoint. Of course this is completly different from a custom homeade lure point of view. I think there is plenty of people out there scanning ebay that are looking for a custom one of a kind lure...that no one else has. It will just take major time and commitment to keep turning the product and having consistant income flowing in.

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I help to build and design lures for a major company. Its all about marketing and catching the fisherman before the fish from a mass production standpoint. Of course this is completly different from a custom homeade lure point of view. I think there is plenty of people out there scanning ebay that are looking for a custom one of a kind lure...that no one else has. It will just take major time and commitment to keep turning the product and having consistant income flowing in.

FISHUNTER

May I ask who you work for?

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I help to build and design lures for a major company. Its all about marketing and catching the fisherman before the fish from a mass production standpoint. Of course this is completly different from a custom homeade lure point of view. I think there is plenty of people out there scanning ebay that are looking for a custom one of a kind lure...that no one else has. It will just take major time and commitment to keep turning the product and having consistant income flowing in.

The big companies are definitely looking to catch the fishermen but you are also correct when you say there is plenty of people out there scanning ebay for custom baits, whether it be a custom paint job or a one of a kind lure.

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The big companies are definitely looking to catch the fishermen but you are also correct when you say there is plenty of people out there scanning ebay for custom baits, whether it be a custom paint job or a one of a kind lure.

There is one thing that has not been mentioned. The big boys have scouts that watch for a good lure made by one of use. If Its not patented It could very well surface in there product line with some minor alterations. Am I nuts NO . I know this first hand.

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There is one thing that has not been mentioned. The big boys have scouts that watch for a good lure made by one of use. If Its not patented It could very well surface in there product line with some minor alterations. Am I nuts NO . I know this first hand.

That's dirty. They should be ashamed. Although they won't be

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That's dirty. They should be ashamed. Although they won't be

You've got lots of good comments so far. Remember it's a business - not a hobby. Be careful of creating just another job.

Several years ago I met a guy who had just bought out a tackle shop. He'd owned it for 2-3 months and he said as long as he could remember he wanted to own a tackle business.

Then later about 2-3 years I stopped by and he happened to be in the store and I asked, "How's business?"

He said, "Oh , OK I guess."

I said, "Well is the business doing OK financially?"

He said, "Yeah, I'm making about as much as I did when I quit my day job."

And I asked, "Well do you get to go fishing about as much as before you bought this place?"

He said, "Yeah about the same but now it's work. I gotta take people to sell them something."

Then I asked, "Well now what do you do for fun?"

He said, "PLAY GOLF!!! Before I bought this place, I never played golf. I can't wait to get out of this place. It's work!"

Good luck!

John

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Yeah I've always figured that if you have something thats not under copyright and some big company wants it, They'll take it. Its horrible that they're willing to do that <_<:angry:

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You've got lots of good comments so far. Remember it's a business - not a hobby. Be careful of creating just another job.

Several years ago I met a guy who had just bought out a tackle shop. He'd owned it for 2-3 months and he said as long as he could remember he wanted to own a tackle business.

Then later about 2-3 years I stopped by and he happened to be in the store and I asked, "How's business?"

He said, "Oh , OK I guess."

I said, "Well is the business doing OK financially?"

He said, "Yeah, I'm making about as much as I did when I quit my day job."

And I asked, "Well do you get to go fishing about as much as before you bought this place?"

He said, "Yeah about the same but now it's work. I gotta take people to sell them something."

Then I asked, "Well now what do you do for fun?"

He said, "PLAY GOLF!!! Before I bought this place, I never played golf. I can't wait to get out of this place. It's work!"

Good luck!

John

John's post above is extremely important in my opinion.

Be careful what you wish for...because you just might get it.

I have ruined a few hobbies in the past by getting too serious about them and/or by trying to make serious money while doing it. Photography is the first one that comes to mind. I used to live, eat, sleep, and breath photography. After I did it for money for a while, I began to hate it. The only pictures I take now are of baits and fishing trips.:blink::lol::lol::lol:

Jed's point is also one that should be given a lot of consideration. There is competition from "mass production builders" out there. You are simply NOT going to compete with machines that can more or less automatically crank out a bait every 4 or 5 minutes or so. If that is not enough, much of the mass production of baits is done overseas where the cost of labor is unbelievably cheap.

I do sell a few and like Jed, I use the funds to finance my bait-building addiction, nothing more. My 'market' is guys who want a truly custom, one-of-a-kind, hand-made fishing lure. I do not try to compete with the businesses who make a $12 musky lure. My primary goal is to have some fun with all of this and make a few friends along the way.

Can you "make a living?" Jed once told me, "You'd probably make more money delivering pizzas."

I think that is still true for a "basement builder."

Edited by fatfingers

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I agree with John and fatfingers. When it comes to something you love it's sometimes best to leave it at that. Nobody loves fishing any more than I do. I used to live, eat, sleep and breathe fishing. I was single, lived on the lake and was a private contractor who could take off for months between jobs if I wanted to. During the times I would take off I spent every waking moment on the lake. Once spent two nights and three days tied up to a stump trying to get a huge fish I'd lost to bite again. A few friends encouraged me to start guiding on the lake. Figured it would help pay for tackle and boat gas so I went ahead and started guiding. It was the worst mistake I've ever made. My love for fishing had turned into work. Now if you have as much passion for business as you do building baits then you might have a decent chance. That's something you'll have to decide. And whatever that decision is I wish you good luck.

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I have made lures since the early 1990's. Did it full time for a few years but with rising costs to everything and healthcare going through the roof I am working a fulltime job and also doing lures. Riverman and Fatfingers had some great points. When you get into it to a point that more and more stores order form you it sometimes gets overwhelming. Making them all yourself pretty much eats up every minute of every day. I have cut back on my production in the past two years some because I am trying to spend more time with my kids as they are growing up but the lure making still eats up a lot of my time. I love it though. I think if you are thinking of doing it fulltime you really need to understand it is going to take up almost all your free time and you really need to love making them. I think making lures is something I will do till I die. For me its still fun. Just wish I had more time to fish!!!

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I have made lures since the early 1990's. Did it full time for a few years but with rising costs to everything and healthcare going through the roof I am working a fulltime job and also doing lures. Riverman and Fatfingers had some great points. When you get into it to a point that more and more stores order form you it sometimes gets overwhelming. Making them all yourself pretty much eats up every minute of every day. I have cut back on my production in the past two years some because I am trying to spend more time with my kids as they are growing up but the lure making still eats up a lot of my time. I love it though. I think if you are thinking of doing it fulltime you really need to understand it is going to take up almost all your free time and you really need to love making them. I think making lures is something I will do till I die. For me its still fun. Just wish I had more time to fish!!!

Guys, if you don't know who this is, you should. Leo is one of the country's finest bait makers...ever. His baits have put some amazing fish in a lot of guys boats over many, many years.

Welcome aboard, Leo.

-Vince

Edited by fatfingers

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FATFINGERS, I must have some major computer problems because I somehow logged in the last time as a different user here. I dont know how the heck that happened but now its right??? Anyhow, thanks for the comments.

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FISHUNTER

May I ask who you work for?

Sure...I help design and create H20 Xpress Lures. A lot of our colors are your must have colors manufactured by just about every bait company. But we do a lot of our own colors also. We have disected fish to see what type of bait they are eating and then copied the bait color (salt water). Other times we go out and cast net and then pull out the ol camera and start snapping some detailed pics to send to our painters, and some or just slight changes to existing colors.

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