2013-07-15 / Front Page

Competitive Nature Leads Local Fisherman To Hand Paint Lures

Custom-Made Tackle Helping Anglers With Highly Fished Areas
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


Matt Beckwith paints a pattern onto a square-bill crank bait lure inside the garage of his Spencer home. (Staff Photo) Matt Beckwith paints a pattern onto a square-bill crank bait lure inside the garage of his Spencer home. (Staff Photo) The colorful tackle box of Matt Beckwith is likely a little more customized than most fishermen casting a line in the Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division.

The Spencer resident spends his free time most evenings in his garage, steadily focusing on an airbrush and assembling two to three-foot diving square-billed crank bait lures to use on those weekend lake getaways.

“The reason I started painting crank baits is because I wanted to do something different. You can go to any sporting goods store and buy these same crank bait lures or square bill crank baits, but I wanted to do my own thing,” Beckwith explained. “So I bought the air brush kit online and started looking at pictures of different things. Most of the stuff I create in my head, but if I see something I like, I’ll recreate it. Even though it’s a recreation, it’s never going to be exactly the same... all the stuff I do, you’ll never find in the store.”


A variety of colors and patterns are depicted on the crank bait lures created by Spencer resident and competitive fisherman Matt Beckwith, who also sells the lures he primarily makes to fish with himself. (Staff Photo) A variety of colors and patterns are depicted on the crank bait lures created by Spencer resident and competitive fisherman Matt Beckwith, who also sells the lures he primarily makes to fish with himself. (Staff Photo) Growing up with his dad, Dave, also an avid fisherman from Florida, Beckwith said his competitive nature led him to competitive tournament fishing on the weekends. Beckwith’s crank baits are also on the lines of numerous fishermen from the area, many of which are friends who he’s traded for jigs and other tackle.

“It’s mainly a hobby, I don’t make money at it, I’ll sell some stuff locally but that’s about it,” he noted. “I have some guys who fish on the pro level who I have sent my lures to. It’s just through Twitter and Facebook.”

Beckwith explained purchasing the blank lures, eyeballs, hooks and paint among other assembly pieces began as a hobby, but he does have some local customers. The hobby is simply something fun he can come home to and do each night instead of occupying his time with television. The most rewarding aspect of the hobby, he said, is being able to catch a fish on the lures you make yourself.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. From what I understand as far as custom lure building, anything that is handmade is going to be different than anything else you see. I don’t want to say better quality, but it honestly, it probably is. The stuff that is mass produced isn’t painted, it’s a heat-shrink wrap,” Beckwith explained. “I also do some wood lures, like what they used way back in the day. It’s just quality, you’re getting something custom, hand-made. I can pretty well recreate any pattern and I make my own stencils. I can do 15 lures with the same pattern off of the same stencil, but none of them are going to be the same, you’re still going to see differences. I think in tournament fishing it makes a huge difference in fishing something the fish haven’t seen, especially in places like Lake Monroe that get so much traffic and fishing pressure. They have seen every spinner bait, so if you’re throwing something that is just a little bit different than what everybody else is throwing, it can make a difference and these do catch fish. Guys keep coming back for me to paint lures, so they must be doing well.”

For additional information or to contact Beckwith to request a lure, email him at mbeckwith620@gmail.com.

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