Reviving Old Fishing Lures

old rusty spinning tackle lures fishingWe all have some old lures in our tackle box that were either acquired second hand, were put away wet, or are just very old. These fishing lures are often bent, rusted, dull, and dirty. Some people might throw them away but it’s important to remember that fish really don’t care if a lure looks brand new, and you can often revive an old lure to be suitable for catching fish again.

Cleaning Off Rust

rusty lures mackerel removing rust fishing spoon red devil vinager toothbrush

The spoons on the right are before removing rust. Spoons on the left are after rust removal and adding fingernail polish for shine.

Since I fish quite a bit in salt water, rust is a constant problem. You might think you rinsed off your fishing lures properly before putting them away for the winter, but all to often when we break out the fishing gear in the spring we find some lures with rust. I use vinegar to clean the rust off old lures, but I’ve heard coke works as well. In the video below I show my method for cleaning rust off of some old red devil spoons. I got the spoons from a flea market and they were in pretty rough condition.

Something I forgot to mention in the video is that you need to dry the spoons off and apply a coat of hard as nails or something similar immediately or they will rust again very quickly.

Shine them up!

Often times removing rust will give a lure back much of it’s old shine, but sometimes it’s to far gone for that to work. When you can’t restore the original metal on a lure, I coat it in a few layers of glitter nail polish. This is a simple and cheap way to restore some of your dull looking lures. I find it works best on spoons, but spinners and hard plastics could benefit as well. Don’t forget to put a coat of clear coat hard as nails over it afterwords.

If the paint is chipped or fading, you can always repaint the lure. I use acrylic paint or coloured nail polish to repaint lures. You can get nail polish dirt cheap at a dollar store. If you have some old white out lying around it will work for white, I find it cracks though, although I doubt the fish care.

Adding missing parts

orange marabou hula popper old lures paint nail polish glitter panfish sunfish bluegill bass trout

A Hula Popper I got from a flea market. Re-painted the body and added some marabou to replace the missing skirt.

I got a box of old lure’s from a flea market one time. There were alot of hula poppers in the box there, but the plastic skirt had rotten off. It’s so easy to tie a new skirt onto the poppers. I tied on a skirt of marabou, but you can get the synthetic skirt material at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops, and I’m sure many other fishing stores as well.

This goes for dressed treble hooks on spinners as well. I know on many of the Mepp’s spinners, there’s squirrel tail on the treble hook. It’s quite easy to tie some squirrel tail to a treble hook, it can be a bit tricky to replace the actual hook on the spinner, but it can be done.

Replace Bad Hooks!

Hooks are by far the most important part of a lure, and should be replaced if worn. You don’t want to miss out on the fish of a life time just because you cheaped out on hooks. If a hook is built into the lure in such a way that replacing it isn’t possible (such as hooks embedded in plastics), you may be able to de-rust and sharpen the hooks. When the hook is able to be replaced it is much better to just by some new hooks and replace them.

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