The Rev. Clyde Davis, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales, finishes painting one of his handmade wooden fishing lures. Davis will teach an Eastern New Mexico University class on how to carve lures. (Freedom Newspapers: Mickey Winfield)
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
A Clovis man has perfected a craft that will help land largemouth bass, as well as curious glances when worn around the neck.
The Rev. Clyde Davis of First Presbyterian Church in Portales is teaching an Eastern New Mexico University outreach noncredit class this spring that will show students how to make a fishing lure that can also be worn as jewelry.
“It’s a simple wood-carving class,” Davis said. “It’s a project that they should be able to complete in one day.”
The five-hour class will be at noon April 14, and students must register by April 11. The cost is $25 plus a $5 fee for all supplies, but students are asked to bring their own fixed-blade knife.
“They can try this and they can see whether they enjoy it, and if they don’t they still take home a project that they’ve completed,” Davis said.
According to Davis, the most successful handmade lures resemble jitterbugs. Others can mock crawfish or small frogs and most are motion lures.
“A motion lure basically attracts because you put it on a spinning swivel, and as it goes through the water it spins and it makes a motion and the fish is attracted to the motion,” Davis said. “It looks like a bug or a frog or a crawfish going through the water.”
It’s also apparently hard to predict what fish will bite.
“Fish respond to color, motion and whatever mood they’re in,” Davis said. “Some days they’ll bite on corn and other days they won’t bite on filet mignon.”
The lures often turn out to be conversation pieces.
“Most of them usually end up being worn around people’s necks,” Davis said. “Because when they spend five or six hours carving it and then another hour and a half painting it, then they don’t want to watch it go down the mouth of some bass. But they are good, working fishing lures.”
Davis also said the handmade variety work about as good as any others found in a store.
“I’ve never worn one out. Sometimes they need to be re-painted,” Davis said. “Oil painted lures tend to stand up (better) in the water.”
Kevin Smith of Clovis’ Smith’s RV and Marine occasionally fishes competitively, and said several bass fishers design their lures.
“I fish a lot of bass circuits and there’s a lot of guys who use a bunch of homemade stuff all over the country,” Smith said.
Despite the work it takes to create them — or maybe because of it — it’s a hobby Davis hopes never dies.
“It’s a tradition,” Davis said. “It’s like quilting or playing the acoustic guitar. It’s something that we no longer need to do, but that some people — me included — feel has an extremely valuable historical attachment.”