By Travis Birch
An enjoyable aspect of living off the grid goes beyond the freedom that comes with forging a life that we dictate for ourselves. We have found among other things, the ability to save money by creating our own recipes, building our own structures, and making everyday items that are usually purchased at the store, with our own two hands. Fishing tackle is right up there with this discovery.
My wife and boys agree with me that the best part of homemade fishing tackle isn’t saving money, or saving a trip to the store to pick up a new lure. The best part is seeing a bass hit on a cork lure that you made with your fingers, and knowing with utmost certainty that you nailed what you set out to achieve, building something from nothing.
If our family saved all the wine corks that have crossed our table over the years, we could float a fishing dock. So it we needed to find a proper way to recycle these things. Other arts and crafts project aside, we came across a magazine article that laid out the perfect plans for fishing tackle.
The first thing we did was make a great top water lure to help us catch some small mouth bass. I took a nice cork and using my razor knife I cut it in half long ways, creating what looks like the cross section of the cork. Then I carved out the body of a cicada with each half. Trimming the bulk of I with my knife, then sanding, sandpaper it smooth to give it a structured appearance.
Carefully I cut a slight thin groove along the flat bottom side. This will hold the hook. The goal is to have the eye of the hook at the front by the flat end. The barbed fishing hooks should be sticking out of the rear of the body, with the hook downward. Apply a thin coat of contact cement over the hook and the slit. Hold this tightly with your forefinger and thumb ensuring it stays closed, as you wind thread around the body in several places, giving the body a ribbed appearance and texture.
Towards the front, by the eye of the hook put feathers or some buck tail you have around from a past hunt, and glue these to either side. Paint the body white, non toxic paint to give it the natural look of an aged cicada. Wrap the hair along the front with red thread, silk thread to give it the look of a bloody stump at the front. This is something the bass at our lake love to gobble. Allow everything to dry, and stick this tasty looking morsel in your tackle box for your next excursion.
Next is a simple bobber. You can head out to the nearest big box store and lay out $3-5 dollars for a pretty bobber, or grab a cork, and using a thin razor, carefully slice downward, long ways about 1/3 of the way into the cork, a line down. Take a hook and stick the barb into the top of the cork, and maneuver the body of the hook into the body of the cork. Pull it in, and finish with the eye of the hook positioned at the bottom.
Simply run your line through the eye of the hook. Attach your weight, lure and hooks, and cast out. Keep the line taut, letting the line and tackle notify you when the next catfish or bluegill hits your line. Keep it simple, safe, fun and inexpensive.