Sunday, October 10, 2010

Traditional finnish coastal lures vs. Bondo express

For a change, a few words about lures...


Finnish coastal sea trout fishing has had one specialty compared to our neighbour countries. Erkki Virolainen was probably the first guy to start experimenting with a new type of lure in the 70's, specifically designed for fishing in shallow, rocky and windy areas. Erkki had a long experience in this sport and it seems that he knew very well what were the desired features for a good lure.

Here is what I think is important:
  • Long casts, lure must be quite heavy and aerodynamic.
  • Shores are shallow so lure should sink very very slowly when not being retrieved.
  • Swimming action must work in all speeds as big waves hit the shores and strong currents are present.
  • Sea trouts have a habit of knocking their prey unconscious before eating it, so lure should stay in a horizontal position when retrieve is stopped.
Erkki developed a so called "lightened spoon", something between the traditional spoons and scandinavian coastal lures of today. The body of the lure is made of a normal looking spoon body but there are no holes for the split rings. Stainless steel loops are welded to the metal body to make the body slim looking. The secret of this lure is the buoyant glued to the inner side of the lure, making the spoon "lightened". Of course it doesn't make it any lighter but it makes the lure sink much slower and in a controlled manner. When the movement stops, the lure turns it outer side down and starts sinking slowly, swingin gently from side to side, imitating dying baitfish. This makes it possible to cast this lure to shallow places and still be able to pause the retrieve as this is the most productive way to fish sea trout.

His lures are very highly valued in Finland and the older versions are valuable collectibles. They are 100% handmade and the craftmanship and color chart is absolutely fabulous, unlike anything else I have seen.
Erkki has now retired from making his lures but his apprentice is now running the business.

And now about my little project....

Bondo Express

For a couple of years, as a cheapskate I am, I have built my own lightened spoons. With a trial-and-error, I have managed to develop a system that suits my skills to build something even remotely similar.

At first I tried doing those lures with a metal body and a floating buoyant. Yes, I got some success but the amount of time required to finish one lure was way too much. This method also was very difficult when I wanted to create many somewhat similar lures. I had to figure out something else....

Then I came up with something like this: I made a model of a lure I wanted to build using aluminium sheet and plastic filler. Plastic filler is easy to sand in to desired shape.

Next step was to make a mould from chemical metal by dropping the well oiled model piece to chemical metal and letting it cure. Now the bottom piece of the mould was done. I oiled the bottom part and model and poured more chemical metal on top of the model. Bingo! I had a mould that could be used to produce lures much faster than before. 

Model piece and the mould halves.
The casting process is easy, first I need to bend a suitable wire that has loops in both ends to create loops for split rings. Then I cut suitable pieces of lead sheet to be inserted in the casting, this makes the lure heavier and balances the lure. Then I lubricate the mould carefully, apply some casting material in to the mould, polyester filler in this case. I put some lead in the filler, insert the wire, some more lead and squeeze the mould shut. Now I give the mould some heat gun and wait for a few minutes and voila, a new lure body is born.

Where is the Bondo Express from? Well the easiast material to cast these lures seems to be some Bondo-style filler.....
Shape of the lures.
A few finished lures.

That's it for the lures department for now, next time perhaps something about fly fishing...

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