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Your peak season? Number of baits per year?

12 posts in this topic

When do you do most of your painting? Winter? Summer? Year-round?

I musky fish for about 5 months and I bowhunt for whitetail deer for about 2 months per year so I have often found myself building during the long winter months here in Ohio.

Formerly I built wire baits for musky and pike. I just began building hardbaits for musky in June of this year so I'm scrambling to figure out how and where I can build and paint this winter. I'll need to build a safe room to spray the lures.

I'm obviously rather new at this but I'm looking forward to trying to sell some of my baits, which are called "flatshads" for two reasons...1. To try to recover some of my startup costs and fund further equipment and materials purchases and...2. Simply for the ego trip of watching if and how much others might pay for my baits (how's that for being bluntly honest? B))

So do you find that you also build more on a "seasonal basis"???

Also on average, how many hard baits do you build per year? Just curious to see what the "average" lure builder is like on this website.

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Kinda in between for me I can crank out about 100 per month if I push it, but that is every night in the shop till 1130pm . I have a real job that affords me the luxury of plenty of time off so that helps. I would try a different name for your baits as there already a Flat Shad, owned by Sonny McFarland

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Down here in north east Georgia it kind of goes like this for me.This trend has repeated itself for several years now.

On a local level remember most of my business is geared toward bass fishing but am begenning to paint a lot of salt water baits for redfishing and snook.

Custom Painting:Year round steady flow but really gets busy from october to Feb.

Estimated Numbers.2200 baits a year

Stretch 20's are the most popular in the winter month's

Jig's(skirted type) are heavy from november to late April


October/November Pretty Heavy

Feb/march/april All I can possibly make!

May thru Sept: Hardly any wirebaits and just steady painting.Mostly for regular clients and the tourny guys that come by the shop.

Anglers fishing the FLW on The Big "O" are already getting there wirebait and jigs orders in this month.Looks like the whole cycle is about to start over again LOL (this makes me happy)

As for a place to Paint :

When I stated out a long time ago I was using 10x10 storage building to do it all in.I airbrushed/powder coated/assembled and even stored my fishing tackle in this shop lol.When I wanted to Powder Coat and cure I would have to put all the airbrush stuff away and get out the powder stuff.Kind of like cooking a 5 course meal on a camp stove in a 4x4 camper lol.

It took about as much time to put away one type of equipment away and get out another type as it did to do the actual baits.But in the end it all worked out ok.

I remember one time Pat Fisher(FLW Pro)came by late one afternoon to pick up some things I had built and he had his girlfriend with him.It was cold as well diggers rear end as well.Pat wanted to look at few things while he was there .My little shop was so packed full of stuff there was no room.I had to swing the door open and the two of them had to stand outside in the doorway while we conducted some business.It was embarasing!

I was blessed with being able to build a shop a few years ago.I had grown so fond of my little 10x10 that I converted it and attached it to my new shop.I use it strickly for a paint room now and it works out great.I upgraded my exhaust system to include charcoal filters and keep a dehumidifier going from spring to the end of summer.

As far as recovering cost:

For me aquiring the proper equipment and raw material was as addictive as buying fishing tackle.I made the mistake of spending way to much money on materials and equipment.I mean when you talk about RSDS melting pot@250.00 each and airbrushes that eat a 100 dollar bill up to all the containers and siphon lids.Hell it seems like a grand will hardly get you started.Then there's component!By the time you place a decent Blade order at lakeland it's at least $500.00

Then the skirt order comes.A good skirt order at the current minimums that contains enough colors to do about 6 different patterns will run you $300.00 including bands/rattle bands/rattles

Worth swivels are high as a cats back as well.

When I sell direct to customer I can make about 3.50 cents on a wirebait.(after excise tax )@$5.99

I have three stores I sell to and in order to be competetive I have to wholesale the same bait at $3.89.Why?Because the woods are full of good custom lure builders that will sell for that amount.That cuts my profit down to about $1.99

Figure it this way:In order to build out 500 spinnerbaits you will more than likely have at least $1.50 in the build (not counting what your time is worth)

So your out of pocket is $750.00 for materials.

Now add your initial start up equipment cost.

If you are lucky you can profit $750.00 as well

If you are able to put the profit Back in for a while it is possible to recover start up cost but it would all depend on what you purchased initially and the volume you were able to sell.

As for Custom Painting:I rarely ever paint a lure for less then $12.00

If I have 6 or more to do for a client I will cut the price.needless to say the custom painting is where the profit is!!!!!!!! I am very fortunate to have a very loyal bunch of clients that return for more each year.

If you can do some painting along with the other stuff it will allow you to get ahead quicker.

There are those that will discourage and tell you that this is a loosing proposition but I beg to differ.You have made the first important dicision in trying to recognize the market for your area and the season for the market.I think regardless of the market (products) I feel it is very important to be ahead of the season.What I mean is try and prepare for the season.I have sat a couple of different seasons out just because I was not ready to take on the potential business if I got lucky enough to get any.

Case and Point:Wire bait season for the southeast is generally feb thru april. after these months guys just dont buy many or use many (Historicaly)

This past spring I was fortunate enough to get the design on a hidden wieght spinnerbait finalized.The molds were finalized and manufactured.At this time there was a hidden wieght bait gaining alot of popularity.I felt then and feel now that mine was better but if I had started putting this bait out,I would have missed half the season. So I opted to set the season out.

I have started production on this bait and will now be ready to get them on the shelf of several large tackle stores by december 2006 just in time for the spinnerbait craze.This will be my first actually trade marked lure! I am very excited about this one, but would probably have had much less success with it had I hurried it up early this year. I still may not hve the success I am hoping for but it's a gamble I was willing to take.

It turns out that the popular one I mentioned earlier has lost appeal to the tackle stores because the guy just sends them in bulk with no packaging or proper packing.These dealers will no longer buy this product from him.

Finally all of this is still a hobby for me even though it sounds like a major business.I am very blessed to be able to make a few dollars at it from time to time.It will always be a hobby for me!

Sorry to rattle on and on here fatfingers :rolleyes:

If you need any assistance putting together a simple plan and means of figuring profit and start up recovery shoot me a pm.


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This has been a horrible year for me business wise, maybe because of the heat, I don't know.

The advice given here so far is very very good...remember there ae no guarantees. I kind of bought what I needed as time went on..mostly just turning over the money I'd make into equipment and paints.

I'd think I died and went to heaven if I moved 100 baits a month.... WTG Blackjack :)

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if you can setup a spray room or area. ventilation is a must. the guys are right the heat and humidity really plays a factor on baitmaking. we do between 3 and 5 thousand baits a year but several thousand re-paints and customs. winter is great for working, you can concetrate on baits becayse musky season is closed here.. the guys on this site are very talented and knowledgeble

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For me aquiring the proper equipment and raw material was as addictive as buying fishing tackle.

Thanks for the thoughtful replies, guys, and special thanks to Blades and Baits for taking the time to provide a detailed insight into his personal experiences.

The quote above reflects the same problem I've encountered in other endeavors and this thread reflects some of the different views of builders in this hobby/business/diversion.

The one thing I learned from past ventures is that I no longer enjoy a hobby to its full potential after crossing the line into the realm of "business." The demands of "customers" naturally create deadlines and pressures to perform. Money changes everything.

Thus, I'm entrenched in my commitment to sell only enough to support my addiction to the hobby. I'm not a complete novice in that I've built musky wirebaits for over a decade so I'm comfortable with the thought of working with only one facet of the hobby (hardbaits for now). I'm am also aware as the result of previous experiences that there is no end to the equipment and gadgets that one can desire and acquire. As my lifelong hunting and fishing partner always says, "It won't be enough until you say 'that's enough'."

Another reason that I hung this thread...

I'm a serious fisherman and a passionate "hobbyist." I strive to enjoy the things that I enjoy to their full potential. My wife uses the word "obsessive"," but what does she know? Additionally, I've been in business for over thirty years and now own three different I'm naturally curious as to how the builders who are stone-serious about selling their stuff approach the inherent problems of volume, quality, changing and fickled market tastes and trends, materials acquisition, etc. Its also interesting and amusing (and I use the word amusing with respect and without sarcasm) to see the comments on this board about what the "pros" look for in a bait and what the builders have to say about the desires of "pros." It sort of like the Wizard of Oz, after you look behind the curtain, you see that to some degree there is no magical mystical lure...and to some degree there most certainly is. Those that fish for a living have my respect; those that build lures for those that fish for a living do too. Yet, at the same time, I feel as though those that do not fish for a living and those that do not build seriously for a profit have a certain advantage, meaning they can enjoy fishing and building as a hobby, not a business. Thats just my opinion, I could be wrong. :rolleyes::D

At my age, I'm no longer impressed by hype, glitz, and BS. Clearly some of the "amateurs" on this board are extremely talented, every bit as talented as the salty old "pros." But those that do this as a business have probably gone through a lot of the "phases" of building and done so at warp speed. We can all learn special lessons from them perhaps.

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i believe in the fresh ideas on this board. there is no magic answer in numbers. it become a JOB. guys creating a bait for special needs and personal satisfaction is whats it is about. i have been at the game for years and fresh ideas amaze me. grandpa always said.

theres moer then one way to skin a cat.

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Woodie is a veteran, I am a novice. However, I have most certainly crossed into the realm of "business" and away from hobby. Like you FF I want to keep it as a hobby because I have a great day job. What happens tho is that guys write you and want another bait, another custom color. Shops write wanting to add your baits to their line up. Many of these guys are good customers and some are friends. Ultimately, I have trouble telling people "no", so for now I do the best I can. I refuse to let my baits fall in quality regardless of how long it takes to build them, repaint them, etc. Quality takes time, but in the end is far more rewarding. I won't send out a bait unless I expect the person to be very happy with it.

You mentioned "obsession", from my experience only those that become "obsessed" truely build great stuff and do great things. Think about great athletes like Schwarznegger, Bruce Lee, these guys were said to be total "freaks" in the gym. Results from any endeavor can generally be measured by the amount of effort. The worst part of getting into the business for me is the loss of time doing "research". I enjoy trying new ideas and searching for new concepts. Once you figure a bait out and go through the process from beginning to end, much of the mystery is gone. If you are not careful it can very easily turn into drudgery. It's the theory, testing, and retesting that ends in something that swims better than you expected that brings joy.

Jed V.

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right on jed. i am fortunate to have some skilled people testing product.this narrows the curve on some stuff.. i truly enjoy the biz, but as stated before i am truly amazed at the creativity from the guys on this board. some are regular mcgyvers, can make a bait out of anything. many people dont see the relenless efforts to have a bait designed and developed into the marketplace. the guys on this board know what we are saying. later guys bedtime

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I am certainly not a salty dog and barely consider myself an ametuer bait builder. It is a wonderful hobby that not only allows your creative juices to flow, your imagination to run wild, but also gets you out of the house to test and play with your one-of-a-kind baits. The only reason I enjoy this so much is due to this board. I was struggling for two years until I stumbled across this site. I have not fished with anything but my own baits for the majority of the summer and my fish catch count is flat or better than before. I am cutting blanks at least once a week for the winter and finish about one bait every two weeks to use. Expect many family members will receive some of these baits for Christmas.


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