My son caught his first King Fish off Matagorda and I thought you'd all like to see!
My son caught his first King Fish off Matagorda and I thought you'd all like to see!
Let me tell you how I tricked this fish using thousands of dollars of high-tech gear and hundreds of hours of computer time. This story started at the beginning of the year when I said that in 2021 I was only going to fish with lures that I made myself, nothing store bought. You see, that was really stupid because I had only been designing lures for about a week and I thought “I got this, no problem!” But really, I had problems.
You see, here’s the rub. When you only fish with lures you design it turns out you have to design a lot of lures. Like I said, it was a stupid decision. I got to work but then my ADD kicks in and I’m designing my replacement for the corky and I’m trying to make a giant Rat-L-Trap, and I’m trying to make a giant wakebait and I’m all over the place. Then, I have people calling me asking to design lures for the and asking me to 3D print molds so I do that and I was a hot mess, but I was in luck.
Texas got hit with some cold weather that probably knocked a good three to four weeks of fishing. Then it started raining and it didn’t stop for what seemed like a month so I didn’t feel too bad that I was losing a ton of fishing time. I did get some gar fishing in with my son which was great since I had never really done that before. But in the back of my head, I knew I needed to make this one specific lure for when I got to really go fishing again.
Last year, I came across this lure that absolutely slayed for me! It was the down south lire burner shad, specifically in chicken of the seas. I love this lure, it crushed it for me in spring and early summer which is right now when I’m finally getting the chance to go fishing again. So what makes this lure so special? I think it really comes down to the size. It’s listed at 2.75 inches but if you go from tip to the very end of the tail it’s a little over 3 inches. The profile really fits the bait that’s running around our marsh system this time of year. We have little shrimp and minnows, little mullets, this bait is having babies all over the place. So it mimics the shrimp, it mimics the little minnows so it’s a great lure.
So my overriding design factors is overall length of the bait. I want to keep it in that 2.75 to 3 inch range so I could have flipped this lure on to its back and glued it down to a board then do an open pour silicone, but that’s boring. That’s also kind of cheating and I respect these lire makers because they make great lures, I’m not going to just copy it. If I wanted to copy it, I would just go down to academy and pick up a bag for $4.99. I am only going to fish with lures that I make myself.
So the body is pretty straightforward, standard swim bait body. However, I did want to make one slight modification which is using these Z-Man trout eye heads and they blow up this little body. I wanted to use they have these giant prongs in them to hold the lure, so I wanted to make it a little fatter and make it a little taller in the body to fit the jig heads. I also wanted to do something a little different than a paddle tail. I’ve been experimenting around with different swim bait paddle tail and tail combos and I wanted to do something a little different. One morning, I’m having coffee and just messing around on Fusion 360 when something comes together and I thought it was pretty cool. I was calling it a guitar tail, the axe tail, until I posted it in a soft plastic bait making group and someone told me it was a fiddle fin.
So I prototype a quick one cavity mold shoot and take it out to the pond, throw it out and reel it in. I got some really good action and like what I see. The body is rock solid and the tail is going nuts, sweet full send multi-cavity mold incoming.
Now at this point, I’m only going fishing in the morning. It’s late afternoon and I go my mold so I don’t have a lot of time to shoot a lot of different colors. I decided to go with a green tone with a lot of glitter in there and a chartreuse tail. At the last second, I decided to try a new penny color. I really should have done a new penny color with the chartreuse tail. So at this point, the tide is lining up with my perfect time to fish. I love fishing in the evening time in the summer, you can get in the water at about 4-5 P.M and watch the sun go down. The tide is flowing from about 5-9 P.M which is the perfect time for me.
If you’ve watched any of my videos up to this point, you’ve seen me fish this spot before. I have a link at the end to give you a full breakdown but it’s one of my favorite spots. I don’t like to get up early. So I show up, park the car and hop in the water. Just about 20 minutes in to fishing I got a bite, but he got off. Now if you fish around the Texas gulf coast, you know exactly what that was- a state record flounder. Maybe not, but I’m pretty sure it was a flounder. It had a short bite, followed me and spit the hook which is a classic flounder move. But either way, I got a bite.
But this isn’t a bad lure so I start heading further and further towards the bay and walked for probably a good our cast fishing. No movement, but there’s bait all over the place. Mullet’s are flying out of the water and they weren’t just flying they were really on the move. I even saw a turtle which was awesome. Then out of nowhere, I got my first fish on the fiddle fin. It was a little guy, about 20 inches on the nose but I wasn’t keeping him anyways. After countless hours in front of my computer and tons of 3D printing, I finally got a Red on a bait that I designed and I cannot tell you how excited this makes me feel. It’s the coolest feeling in the world to catch a fish on bait you designed yourself.
It’s one thing if you take another mold, shoot a lure, and catch a fish on it- that’s awesome. But to catch one that came completely out of your own head, that you made yourself- there’s no better feeling. I now know how those fly town guys feel, it’s a great feeling.
Take care everybody- tight lines.
I miss rock fishing sometimes and my friend Jason, from All Out Blitz Fishing, sent me a message that he wanted me to make him some swim baits for rock fish, lean cod, cabezon, and halibut. He was even nice enough to send me some Dead On plastic salt water blend to make them with. It only took me a few months to get around to making these rock fishing lures, but this is what I came up with.
If you’ve ever used swim baits for rock fish or lead cod, you know they’re pretty basic baits that don’t need a lot of fancy stuff. They're super simple, rock fish and lean cod aren’t that picky. I wanted to make this one special for my friend Jason so I decided that instead of fin on the side, I would use the state of California.
I hopped into Fusion 360 and I modeled the body of the bait using my loft technique. Basically, you make a wire frame of the bait and use the loft command to create the body and the tail. I found a .svg of the state of California, then downloaded and imported it into Fusion 360. From there, I scaled and rotated it around and placed it where I wanted it on the body. I just extruded it out from the body, which is a pretty simple and straightforward process.
You can do this process with any .svg, text, or anything else you would want. I completed version one and printed out three molds because it takes just as much time to print out three as it does one and if it works, I have three molds ready to go. Then, I decide to hand pour the molds. Jason mentioned wanting a blue rock Cod, so I looked them up and saw that they have dark splotches against a relatively light blue background. Based on that, I came up with three colors- a purple-ish black, a very light blue and an iridescent white called interference blue. The interference blue is a kind of white that shades blue when you rotate it around, it’s one of my favorite colors. I’m terrible at hand pouring, but if you want to see a master hand pourer go see Chris over at Worlds Worst Fishing. He’s an artist at what he does while I’m just throwing stuff around.
Then, I just poured the color into the molds then added the top coat which was the interference blue. I was pretty happy but when I went to pop them out of the mold I noticed right away that I had a major problem. The tail section was very think and I didn’t think it would hold up to short bites from Rockfish, especially the smaller ones, even with the tough saltwater plastic. So I popped the frame back into Fusion 360 real quick and made a few slight adjustments. I adjusted the width and the depth of the back tail section and I also beefed up the back of the tail itself and put it at a slight angle. I also added a lot more room in the tail for the plastic to go. Twelve hours later, I have three great 3D printed molds and I go and pour them again.
I didn’t want to mess around with the hand pouring again since I’m terrible at it so I went with a straight pour this time adding the light blue, then a purple top coat. This time, these came out great and I think they’re going to be absolutely killer. As soon as Jason fishes them, I’ll put a link so you can see the results.
If you want to see in depth how these are put together, there is a tutorial. I also emailed this out to my mailing list who got the entire STL file if anyone is interested in printing it out themselves.
Take care and tight lines
What's up, guys! Do you think details on lures matter? I am talking, eyes, ribs, and little fins on the side. I'm undecided. I know they catch fishermen. I get asked frequently, “how do I add eyes? how do I add ribs? How do I add fins? how do I add scales.” To answer this, adding scales sucks. I decided to put together this video and blog how to. It's an offshoot of the live stream we did a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to condense it down to give you guys pinpoint and accurate information about fishing lure design. The way we do this infusion 360 is pretty much the same for eyes and fins. Let's start!
First, I'm going to use this body I had laying around from a twitch bait I have been working on. I believe this works with anybody's sculpts. As you can see, this is a loft I created on the live stream I did last week. We will create a sketch and choose this plane in the same direction as the face we're working on located in the middle of the lure. We're going to draw our eye. For this demo example, I'm just going to keep it simple.
I'm going to draw a circle that measures 10 millimeters to create a big eye. Click enter. Next, move it to where you want it to be and click finish sketch. Now I have this circle in the middle of my lure. It may not look helpful, but we're going to hit the extrude button. Select that circle. As you can see, the key is the start point; start there and click the object. Now, when I go to pull it out, it starts from right on that edge. If I want to make a poke-out eyeball, I can pull it out to create an indentation. If I had a stick-on eye that I tried to use, I could make a little indentation there quickly. We'll go with a stick-out eyeball today. Let's make it stick two millimeters—it an excellent protocol to write the number down. Afterward, I will hit enter. As soon as I do that, you see, I have this kind of funky eyeball on one side, and my circle has disappeared.
Let's clean up this eyeball. First, let's click that, and we're going to use the fill it command, or I can just hit the f key. I pulled it out two millimeters, so let's pop it back 1.9, and that'll round off that corner. you'll get an excellent roundish eye there. You may be saying, “dude, a lure with one eye on one side doesn't do me much good,” and you are right. Let's spin around to the left side of my lure. Fusion, by default, hides it. If you pull down the sketches tab, click, that eyeball icon will show up again. We can do the same thing. we're going to extrude that eye from this object on this side now. you'll see here my number is negative. That's because it switches on the different sides of this plane. Let's say negative 2 pops it out the same distance, hit the fillet to do 1.9 again, and boom, now we have the same eyeball on both sides of the lure. It's pretty straightforward.
We're going to the same thing for some fins here.Create a sketch on this plane. I am going to create some dorsal fins. Once you draw them, the process is the same. Extrude, select that start from the object and go out maybe one point. If you make a mistake, you can always go back down here by right-clicking the edit feature. If you ever see this error here, “could I be created requested size,” all you need to do is go through and keep going down. We can do a 0.8 same error or 0.5 same error. Keep in mind; the 0.1 is useless. 0.3 is a little bit better. Now that we are using 0.3 let's turn our sketch back on do the same thing. Come over to the left side. It's beneficial if you click the box. This way, know everything is completely aligned. Hit extrude from the object. This object will be negative 1.8. We're negative on this side, so I will be holding down to the shift key and hitting my middle mouse button to move 1.8. Fill it, and boom.
There we have it. We have some dorsal fins and some other stuff. I have eyes and a little in, but what if I want to add a fin going across the top? that's pretty easy as well, and again same basic concept. we're going to create a sketch on this plane. Now, remember, this plane is right along these lines here. We will be sketching on that plane. that plane is right on this green axis in the middle of my bait, which is in the middle of my lure. Basically, whatever I add and draw on this plane, it's going to be perfectly centered. Let's go back to my fit point spline and use the project command to project this line into my drawing. What this does is takes this line puts it into my current drawing. You can see how it's purple. That way, when I go to draw my spline, you'll see what will happen. You can zoom in close. When I hit that line, it'll click onto that, and that's how I know I am exactly on that line. Whatever I draw will line up to that line at the exact point. When I go to make my fin, it will be a lot easier to deal with. Let's zoom out a little bit. I'm not going to spend too much time on this because the exact shape is not essential. What is important is the technique. You can see I have a profile here because it's shaded on the inside. That's what I need to extrude. Once I finish the sketch, hit the extrude. It already has that chosen now on the key; we want to change our direction, we want to make it symmetric. You're going to be doubling this distance because you're going to do it symmetrically. One side will be the same as the other, so if I do two millimeters, my fin here ends up being four millimeters thick. The things you want to watch out for see are happening in the back here. You see how it's all funky because it's too thick. That's what you need to keep an eye out for.
I wouldn't probably have made one this long, but we can do this easily. Stay on the right; we're just going to click OK. We want to do a join and click OK. Then we look at it, and you can still see that we're when we get to the back here, we get two a little too skinny. What we can do is come over to my history and edit this sketch. You can drag until you find where you want to be. That's a little bit better, right? Let me finish sketching.
Now, it's still not great, but you get the idea. I would even make it probably 0.5, so it's just 1 millimeter. That's pretty small, but we have a little back here. There you go, there's a fin again. The easiest thing to do is select both sides, add a fillet of 0.2, and that's going to smooth those circuit surfaces out. Now we have fins attached to the body and fins sticking out for the body. Next up, we're going to move two rings. I'm going to take these fins. I don't typically do rings on baits with fins, but you can do them. It would be best if you put them in a slightly different order. I would not do any body fins. You can do a top fin or a sticky hatty fin if you want, but it's best if you keep everything off the body.
Let's back up, and we're going to remove these features here back to just my eyes. Now we're going to do the ribs. Again, the ribs are pretty straightforward. They're just a little bit time-consuming because you have to click on a bunch of stuff over and over again. We're going to create a sketch also on the same side plane and draw a line. Now this line is the alignment of your ribs so you can make them straight up and down. You can make them at angles. You can make them kind of any way you want to go. For this example, let's do some slightly slanted lines just for the fun of it. Now, the key here is my start point I clicked on. It needs to be above the lure's body at the highest point, and the bottom needs to be below the lowest point. Click that to make a line, click the check box, and now we're going to make a rectangular pattern. To create the rectangular design, click the line. Drag it out to where you want them, and let's change our number. This is kind of where the feel of it goes, and that's 36.
You can adjust the number to your liking. I just kind of eyeball it. Pull it out to where you want the last one to be and then change the numbers as we go; click OK. Click finish sketch, so now we need to use a trick that I learned only recently. Please create a new sketch again on the same plane we've been working on. Now, we're going to develop a project to the surface. This is where the magic happens. To project a surface, the first thing we want to do is select the faces. We're going to choose the front of this lure and select the curves. This is going to be all my lines, and the easiest way to determine these is to come to the right of the last line, click and drag to the left. You don't want to drag up here where you get these dots. You don't want to drag down here where you get this body. You just want to make sure you select all the lines, and it will pick them all up. For projection type, you want to do a long vector and project direction. We're going to choose this red axis. If it's done correctly, you'll see red lines going all the way around my lure. Those are our projections or our projected curves, if you will. Click OK and finish the sketch.
You can see my lines are still showing up, so I'm going to turn those off. Now, I have these yellow lines, which are my projections across the body of my bait. I am going to use these to make pipes. Click the pipe command. The first thing I want is a path. I'm going to choose that guy first, and by default, it wants to cut. it's going to cut into the bait, which is a cool effect and kind of anti-ribs. we're going to go back and edit that again. The other things you can change is whether it's a circle, a square, or a triangle. Triangles, in particular, can make cool ribs. we're going to say OK on that one real quick, and as you can see, it gives us this kind of cut. we'll go back and edit that. If I make it a join, it will create a rib-like this; pretty cool looking. I've done a lure with that, and I think it makes a little more noise when running through the water. Today we're going to keep it in a circle. We're going to make sure we have it on join, and then this section size is how big of a round it is. This is totally up to you in the lure you're making. we'll do bigger ones at 1.8. choose our section size, which again is the diameter of the pipe. Make sure it's on join and click OK. Now we have one rib, and you're like, dude, I need more than one rib. Again, we turn our sketch back on because fusion thought we were done with it and click the pipe command.
We're going to select the next curve now. This is where it gets tedious because there's no way that I've been able to find to choose all of these to run a pipe. The nice thing is fusion remembers after you get one in there, which you did last time so if I do a join, click OK; now, when I come to my next pipe, click on the curve. It's going to be the same. it won't remember the first one; it recognizes the second one and then all the ones moving forward. Then I have to click OK. Click pipe. Click the curve and hit the enter key. Click the pipe, click the curve, and hit the enter key. It isn't enjoyable. It should be able to figure this out itself. Create a little cut-out tail section. I can move this to cut, and you may get this error, “the sweep would create an illegal surface.” what you need to do is reduce your diameter or your section size until you get one that works. Once you choose the one you prefer, we cut it. Instead of a sticking-out rib, we have a little cut into the tail, which hopefully would give you a bit more action.
I hope you found that useful. here's that video I was talking about where the guy does the scales. Again, you can see how tedious it is. I'm not too fond of it. You can also find my other lure design videos here. Come back for more see you guys soon—tight lines.