Hard Bait Finish Tricks

Shane Meche
Hard Bait Finish Tricks

Like a lot of anglers, tweaking and modifying lures in an effort to make them perform better is something I enjoy doing. Lately I have started using an airbrush and acrylic paints to put new color schemes on worn-out hard baits such as topwaters and Series 51 MirrOlures. The real trick to any good modification, though, is a strong, clear topcoat.

Lures with factory finishes that tend to wear easily such as chromes, can have their lives significantly extended by adding a hard top coat. While there are different solutions, I have had much success with an inexpensive clear epoxy. Whether you are painting your own patterns or just protecting the finish of a new lure, Devcon 2-Ton Epoxy will give it a durable and glasslike finish. Here is how it works:

Supplies needed:

Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy 30 minute working time is available at Walmart and many hardware stores in the paint section. At $1.97, give or take a dime or two, it's cheap and effective for this application.

Hobby Paint Brushes Get the cheap nylon brushes as you will only get one use out of them. You can get a pack of 30-50 for about $3.00. The ones with short stiff bristles work best.

X-Acto #2 Precision Knife Available at Walmart or any hobby shop for around $3.98. This will be used without the blade to hold the lure for painting and drying.

Small plastic Solo cups yes they do have a purpose besides Jello Shots!

Round wooden toothpicks Used to keep epoxy out of rings and screw holes.

Step 1: Remove all hardware (split rings, hooks, screws, etc.) from the lure. When repainting lures with small screws such as Mirrolure 51's, I remove the hardware and insert round toothpicks into the holes to keep the epoxy from entering. I like to cut the toothpicks to approximately " in length so they don't get in the way while painting.

Step 2: Use the X-Acto knife handle to grip one of the rings on the lure. Insert the hook ring into the head of the handle and tighten it down. In most cases, the rear ring is the best anchor point since it will give a more uniform rotation. At this point you can easily handle the lure for painting, new eyes, hardware, etc. When completed, its time for a final finish coat.

The Devcon 2 Ton Epoxy comes in a dual tube syringe that allows mixing portions in equal measure. Push the plunger evenly to dispense equal amounts of the hardner and resin onto a disposable cardboard or plastic container. (I like to use small Solo plastic cups) Mix it thoroughly (mixing paddle included with package) for approx 30 seconds. Try to mix slowly so as not to induce air bubbles into the mixture. Allow to sit for another 30 seconds or so before painting on the lure giving it one final stir before using.

Use one of the hobby brushes to put a thin coat of epoxy on the lure. Take care around hook eyes and other features not to put too much down and keep those rings clear of the finish. Don't worry about brush strokes and uneven application, as the material settles it will smooth out to a nice finish. Devcon does go on rather thick, so take care not to put too much on.

As you are applying the epoxy finish to the lure, keep rotating and turning it so that the material won't sag and the finish will remain even. Since it does not take too long for the epoxy to reach a cure point where it will no longer sag, rotating the lure by hand is acceptable. A slow turn lure dryer (4 to 6 RPM) would be needed if you were attempting to finish a number of lures at once.

Once the finish cures to a point where it will no longer sag, place it in a spot in open air not touching any surfaces for at least 12 hours. Do not touch the finish until it is fully cured as you will leave a dull fingerprint on the lure. Once dried, reinstall hardware and hooks. Now you have given your lure a new life with a nice clear and strong finish that will last much longer than most factory finishes.

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you get an air bubble in the finish, flash it quickly with a heatgun or cigarette lighter while the finish is still in liquid form and it will come out. Do not overheat.
  • To thin out the epoxy a bit, use a drop or two of denatured alcohol in the initial mix. Use just a tiny amount as this will significantly extend the cure time.
  • A second coat can be added after drying if necessary or to cover over any blemishes that may have occurred or increase durability.

Best of luck and see you out on the water!

Shane Meche
The BigFishWish Company
[email protected]