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Pondering the value of homemade baits
Photo submitted by JACK ARIZCUREN Jack Arizcuren caught a limit of king salmon fishing off the Marin County coastline.

I’m beginning to question whether making my own baits is worth it. 

Since I was a kid, I’ve always tried to save a little money by modifying or repairing used baits. That eventually led to me wanting to make my own baits, especially baits that I used regularly. 

Like a lot of people do, I convinced myself that buying the right equipment would be worth it in the long run. Over the past few years, I’ve acquired quite the collection of molds, injectors, colorants and glitter. 

The problem I’m having is that I’m always looking for the next mold to buy. I’ve also been giving away a lot of the baits I make. I’ve yet to save any money making my own. I have been able to make colors that you can’t buy in stores, rarely buy baits from stores anymore, and can make as many of my favorite baits as I want. 

Recently, on a bait makers Facebook page, someone asked about the cost of making your own baits. It got me thinking if it was worth it. It depends, I guess — I’ve been overpaying for baits my whole life. 

The satisfaction I get from being able to make my own, share with friends, learn, and catching a fish off something I made in my own garage has been worth it.

Delta Report 

Bass fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing with topwater baits and flipping grass. There are lots of smaller schools of bass actively feeding on small baitfish which can be caught on reaction lures and small topwater baits.  

Catfishing remains good for anglers fishing cut bait. Look for bigger catfish to be relating to deep holes along the river.

New Melones Lake

Bass fishing continues to be good for smaller bass on soft plastics while worked along the bottom. Bigger bass are being caught in the early morning hours on topwater lures and at night on top as well. During the day, anglers are dragging Carolina-rigged plastic baits such as brush hogs and lizards. 

Kokanee fishing is hit or miss for a lot of anglers trolling. Those that are being caught are bigger than they have been in previous years. Recent reports are that anglers trolling between 90 and 100 feet deep are having the most success. 

Bluegills continue to provide steady action for those fishing around boat docks and the backs of coves. Fishing for Catfish is good for those fishing at night. Crappie fishing at night has also been good lately for anglers fishing with live minnows around a submersible light.


Lake Don Pedro 

Bass are being caught on Senko’s and topwater baits. Hula grubs and crank baits are also working well while fished between 5 and 10 feet deep. Trout and salmon fishing is very slow on the lake. Typically, the further that we get into to summer the better the bite becomes. 

There is a late shad spawn on the lake, causing the bass to follow the schools out into deeper water. Anglers who know where to find those schools, are doing well while fishing a darter head or drop shot between 20 and 40 feet deep. 

Lake New Hogan

Bass fishing remains good for those fishing Senko’s and topwater baits during the morning and evening hours. New Hogan is one of those lakes that get’s very little fishing pressure compares to the other local lakes. 

There is a small fee of no more than five dollars to launch a boat and fish for the day. It does get a lot of boat traffic during the weekends though. It’s well worth the visit if you can manage a day off during the week.

Lake Pardee

Kokanee fishing has really been tough for anglers trolling. Anglers that are having success are fishing a variety of depths between 45 and 120 feet deep.

 Bass fishing is hit or miss right now. The best bites are coming early and late in the day.

Tip of the Week

For those who are inspired to start making your own baits, I started out making my own molds out of Plaster of Paris and melting down old plastics in a microwave. 

There are plenty of instructional videos online on how to do it. 

Be careful though, hot plastic can cause third-degree burns and shouldn’t be inhaled. 

To contact Jarod Ballardo email