Boating TipsFishing Lures

Repairing Soft Plastic Swimbaits

12493933_10204173479817270_3349049944104518763_oRepair Soft Plastic Lures

Anyone who’s been in a hot bass bite knows just how quickly a few big calicos or sand bass can destroy a swimbait. While burning through a bag of swimbaits is fun while you’re fishing, it’s not so fun when you burn through a wallet full of cash when replacing those baits after the trip. The good news is that soft plastic swimbaits are surprisingly easy to repair and while they might not look quite as good as new, they’ll work just fine on your next trip.

12593488_10204173480017275_8437800946862805332_oYou’re going to need some very basic tools including; a propane torch, something to light it with, a butter knife, and a small phillips head screw driver or large nail. A word of warning is that the butter knife is going to look pretty ugly when you’re done with it so don’t expect to slip it back in the silverware drawer without your wife noticing. I found this out too late and had to make up an elaborate lie about witnessing one of our dogs taking it and probably burying it in the yard to explain the missing knife.

12593903_10204173479737268_3754586739453988248_oWhen fishing standard swimbaits on a leadhead, the most common injury is that that they get cut like the one pictured above, or that after multiple bites that “pull the pants down” on the bait, they’ll keep sliding down the hook shank.

12633537_10204173479577264_6574903709209354981_oThe cut is repaired by heating the butter knife with the torch and then placing it into the cut then sliding it out while pushing the cut closed with your other hand. Once the knife is out, the heated sides of the cut should fuse together in a couple seconds. Once that’s done I’ll reheat the knife and lay the flat part of it against the side of the bait to seal the seam.

You’ll need to play around with how long to heat the knife to get it to seal right but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it.

For baits that are sliding down the leadhead shank I’ll shove the tip of the heated screwdriver or nail into the front of the bait and slowly retract it while pinching the sides of the bait to glue it together.

12615733_10204173479777269_919768555062112227_oWhile the finished bait might not look perfect, it’s structurally sound and ready to be put back into service.

Another common bait injury is to have a bass bite or tear a chunk out of one of the bigger weedless swimbaits. Since I didn’t have a bait that was missing a chunk, I cut a piece out of this bait. Below the bait is a similar sized chunk I cut off a bait that was chewed beyond repair.

12514016_10204173479937273_3344222087072848541_oBy following the same basic steps as I did when repairing a bait, I was able to fuse the replacement piece into the hole and then use the hot edge of the knife to shape it flush with the bait.

12640446_10204173479897272_1476403392501186071_oAnother option for baits that are damaged beyond repair is to use pieces of them to assemble a new bait.

12604673_10204173479617265_6614653369172948413_oWhile these baits were reparable, I cut them apart for the purpose of this example.


Despite the pieces not being cut completely evenly, I was able to fuse and shape them into a new bait.

921120_10204173480057276_1747041064888976036_oI know, it’s not the prettiest bait or the straightest, but when I grabbed both ends and pulled on the bait, it held up just fine. So instead of throwing away a bunch of expensive swimbaits just because they’ve gotten chewed up a little, why not have some fun creating Frankenstein baits?

Erik Landesfeind
Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California an...