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RiverMan

Why our lures are worth more

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A coworker found this well written piece by Ron McClellan and sent it on to me. I copied part of it that I liked the most for those interested to read below. I posted the link at the bottom of the page.

To summmarize, the article talks about why hand-made lures are still needed in todays market and why we should be paid more for them. This is some great reading, take a minute to go over it, you will be glad you did.

Jed

Written by Ron McClennan,

When Jim Heddon was sitting under a tree, knife in hand, wittlin out that first minnow, he was working in what was at the time "the present" He was a "Contemporary lure carver". Ever since that time, there has been a steady stream of "Contemporary Carvers" all working in the "present", at least until the passage of nothing more than time has turned them into so-called "Antiques".

I've also been accused of trying to get too much money for my lures. THAT is ridiculous! A hand carved, hand-made, hand painted, hand assembled lure takes time to make, simple as that. Folks have been spoiled by the pricing of the factory made stuff assembled in foriegn countries by an exploited labor force. In the early days, before mass production and Foriegn Labor-exploitation were widely utilized, a nice handmade lure could cost a man a days pay. While todays corporations have reduced the cost of producing an effective fishing lure to less than an hours pay through the use on mechanization and ethically questionable labor practices, A fine handmade lure has stayed roughly the same. If anything, they cost less than they did, adjusted for monetary considerations. And, meaning no offense to the lure carvers of the past, The best handmades ever carved are being done TODAY. While some may say that with the availability of three dollar lures, there isn't any need for modern carvers, I beg to differ. We are needed BECAUSE of this mechanization! If you go to K-mart you can pick up a coffee table for well under a hundred bucks. To step up, you can go to a Furniture showroom like Ethan Allan Galleries and get a coffee table for six hundred dollars, You can step up FURTHER and get a Handmade table by a noted Craftsman for five thousand dollars, after being on his waiting list for two years! And they all do the same function, sit in front of your sofa so you can sit magazines and coffee on them. It all comes down to individual values and personal preferences. And I haven't even mentioned true antique tables! Another thing many people have missed is continuity. Think about it: In the year 2045, do you really think collectors aren't gonna be activly seeking out handmade lures from the "late 90's era"? Some of us contemporaries will be forgotten, others won't. This is no more predictable than the weather at this date and time one year from now. One thing is for sure, with communications being what they are, there is going to be PLENTY of DOCUMENTATION about todays makers, and documentation is one of the ingredients for collectibility.

Here is the link:

http://henryslureworld.com/cont.html

Here is the link: http://henryslureworld.com/cont.htmled

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I grew up watching my father who is a wood carver second to none. I took wood working classes at a community work shop at the age of five. That last statement makes me laugh, in this day of liability problems, give a five year old kid a knife, are you nuts. I love working with white cedar, the smell, grain, the finish you can draw out of it. Had someone come over to my garage the other day. Put a 14" body predrilled for wire through, perfectly shaped and finished sanded lip slot cut to perfection blank into his hand. I told him point blank, this is my favourite point of lure making. To me it's almost a sin to cover the beauty of the wood up. Told him this is already art. The rest adds the lusture but the true work is done. No shame in charging good money for a well made product. Heck if I charged as much per hour as my real job my baits would be in the $200 dollar range. Always get the same question and generally have the same reply. "how long does it take you to make a bait", to that I reply if I thought about it that way I wouldn't be interested in doing it.

Brett

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Thanks for posting this. I can't agree more with it. Almost all of my lures sold will not be fished. How sad is that? Most say look at this thing, I can't get it wet, but I have a place on my wall or shelf for it. Keep making lures and get as much $$$ as you can for them. I think the hardest thing to do is put a price on something you make. If they want it, then they will give you the $$. All the lures that I posted are sold and will not see water but one or two.

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This is a similar issue to my work I've been a violin maker/restorer (mostly restorer) all my working life I used to have heated debates with collegues about how to price them I pretty much charged the same rate to make a new instrument plus materials as I would to restore or repair something old.This seemed to annoy as others who thought I ought(like them) to add a kind of premium based on my skill, violins are still made the same way by hand carving technique as they have for hundreds of years.Fine words but no good if no one buys, I enjoy making my own lures and using them making any shape in wood is easy for me (they don't always work)but if I charged what they really cost I'm sure I would never sell any it may be different here in the UK but there only one or two who make new hand made lures for a slightly increased price and they struggle to sell for a good profit and mostly have real jobs full time.

I prefer to give a good friends one of my home mades but only if I know he'll use it regularly and not worry about losing it on a snag.

It's a bit difficult for me to judge the scene for you over there since there does seem to be an expensive bracket in the market for gorgeously made stuff that just does'nt exist over here(for that I'm jealous) but pricing and value for money related to the cost of production and other entirely arbitrary values and vague notions of worth look impossibly difficult to justify sometimes......a bit like violins actualy based more on what you can get than any kind of yardstick that everyone recognises.

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Jed,

Thanks for posting this.......And I agree with all thats been said here!!

I've had a few locals laugh at my prices,and quickly say they can buy fishing lures at Walmart for 3.00.....I simply point to the door,and tell them to have at it!!

With the internet,it has made selling lures a bit easier...you can reach so many more people who know how to appreciate a well made hand crafted creation!!..Nathan

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Setting a price point for your products has got to be on eof the hardest things. Too high - no one buys, too low you don't make enough and too low - people wonder about the quality.

Like Brett, if I charged what it actually took in time to make, I'd just be making another one of those "you've got to be kidding, he wants how much for that bait" type lure makers.

I, like most of you, have full time jobs that pays the bills and feeds the family. I make baits because I like too. I make baits because it gives me a variety at a reasonable price. I make baits because mine cacth fish. If no one wants to buy my baits, no worries, but again, like most of you, we do have a market because people do want baits made by a guy who only makes a few (relatively) each year.

I've said it many times the thrill now for me is other people catching fish on my lures. You'd have to think that all of the contemporary lure makers throughout history started the same way - other people catching afish on ONE of their lures. Some just expanded to the point where they made it a full time business.

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Jed' date='

Thanks for posting this.......And I agree with all thats been said here!!

[b']I've had a few locals laugh at my prices,and quickly say they can buy fishing lures at Walmart for 3.00[/b].....I simply point to the door,and tell them to have at it!!

With the internet,it has made selling lures a bit easier...you can reach so many more people who know how to appreciate a well made hand crafted creation!!..Nathan

These same types would take a Geo over a Mercedes and take a $50 Mountain Bike over a $1000 one because "they're the same!". Good ridance to them and keep up the good work, all of you.

As for me, I'm just a Salt Water Hacker who likes to make my own, who enjoys seeing the works of true artists.

You all like those $158 Issues?

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Where would fishing be today without the influence of the hand-made bait and the carver? Virtually all the advancements and innovations we enjoy today were originally concieved, created or refined by a individual pursuing the better bait. We have better materials, finishes, hooks and scientifically designed baits that offer optimal performance, however, 100+ years since the fist artificial bait was created, we are still dealing with a chunk of wood, hooks, some paint and a place to attach a line, the concept is a well seasoned one! The real value in your hand-made lures, is that the bait you are tinkering with today could bring about a new design, finish or refinement that can be enjoyed by millions in the future!

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Martin,

Put your stuff on the Web my friend, they will sell!

KcDano.....very well said.

Jed

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$159 sounds outrageous at first, but think about it as a one of, handcrafted piece of functional artwork. Those lures are well carved, and nicely finished. The beauty and funtion of most well made, handcarved and tuned lures make them worth this much- It just seeems appreciative buyers are far between.

It takes days to build and finish a piece of art like that. Compare to hand turned pottery, hand painted and glazed. Most known artists would not hesitate to put a price like that on a piece of thier work. The science involved with getting a piece of pottery to 'work' is a lot less than is needed to make a lure run true and catch fish.

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Your probably right Jed about the internet it reduces the whole world down somewhat.

I do lack the ambition to get into it to that degree at the moment and regard it as an added bit of fun to lure fishing rather than a source of income.Also whilst I am prepared to be big headed about my wood carving skills I perversely like to make shapes it would not be possible to reproduce on a lathe, some of the other elements of lure making I'm not so hot on, painting I do by hand and it's variable and I use a 2-Ton Devcon finish that sometimes comes straight off and sometimes sticks like s*it to a blanket and I've not entirley understood why yet.I know some flouro and metalic paints don't bond well with it.

As Big Splash says to make a lure to the degree of fine tuning that he describes is bound to make it a bit special and therefore expensive and like art work at the moment my lures are more disposable than that.

If your interested Jed I wrote and article with pictures ! for the Lure Angling Society magazine we have here where I describe a lure I reckon I invented how's that for cheek ! have a look and see if you've ever seen anything like it.

go to www.lureanglers.co.uk then click magazine and in the articles section click "Patent Pending" If you can forgive me for such a pretentious title.

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Martin,

Great article and a great looking bait! Hey thanks for sharing the story. I would like to make one of those myself but they do look a bit on the "labor intensive side". What you could do tho is make a prototype and then have Shawn (ArtBrush) make a silicone mold for you which could be poured with an expandable foam. Then you could make as many as you like identical to the one before it..something to think about. I'm curious, does this bait glide at all? I wouldn't guess that it does much gliding given the small size and tear-drop shape.

As far as the problems with Devcon you mentioned I have experienced none of them.

Some here have suggested problems with finishes (Devcon, Enviro, etc.) sticking result from:

1. Not allowing the paint to properly cure

2. Not sealing the wood properly...if water gets in, the wood expands, and the finish comes off.

Thanks again Martin.

Jed

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Your right Jed it doesn't glide at all being so resistent because of it's shape it's possible to with light taps to keep it sort of dancing in one spot without moving forward very far,tap it too hard and it revolves right round and can tangle the trace,it also has a nice slow zig zig on a gentle retrieve slightly different from a crank bait.Us Brits do a lot of casting from the bank compared to you guys and this lure is very aerodynamic and casts a mile and with a slow retrieve it can seem to take a long time to retrieve compared to most things.

That's the best thing I like about home mades or as out2lunge called them "basement baits"they sometimes have unique actions,and can give you an edge.

I'm pretty sure I mix Devcon right Lunge maybe I do need to pay attention to the base coat more though,another thing I learned about the stuff is that it doesn't like a sharp edge anywhere and naturally runs away causing a thing covering and the spot where the peeling can start from as well as pikes teeth crunching on it.

A friend and I had a great time musky fishing last July on LOTW fishing the North West Angle out of Bay Store Camp with Frank Walsh I even managed a few on my home mades best 43 inches,I met and had few chats with Dick Pearson what a gent !.....wish I could come again soon but it's an expensive trip to do from here very often.

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