Gonna put all my tube-bait-making misadventures in one thread from here on out. This should serve as a tutorial for a beginner. **follow all safety instructions listed on websites and plastisol container** Wanted tube baits without tentacles, and with longer tails than the ones sold in stores. EQUIPMENT LIST: Plastisol or old baits to melt down Tent pegs, 3/16 diameter are 49 cents each at Walmart Pyrex cup or coffee mug Microwave Oven mitt Scissors Boxcutter Small tub of water (Helps get tubes off pegs, and a quick dip prevents second degree burns if hot plastic dribbles on your fingers) (recommend just getting the stuff above, and try melting down some old worms first) Cooling rack (or some place to hang pegs as plastic cools) Glitter - bum some from someone who's already messing with this stuff Colors - also can be bummed....**if you don't by the non-bleeding colors, your laminates are gonna become solid colors....and if you store different colored tubes together they'll all just end up brown. Worm oil (pricey scented goop, adds taste and makes finished baits easier to store and handle) Dinner plate(s) paper, plastic, whatever for piling up tubes during a production run Bags for finished baits, or a 3700 sized plano or similar tray. Leadheads. Ball, darter, or tube jig style heads will work. An Ultra Minnow (Do-It molds) is the prettiest.... Heat Stabilizer. - This stuff really works. Remelting chunks leftover chunks from previous batches as well as new clear plastisol...the stuff in the dipping cup doesn't toughen up or scorch with repeated re-heats. Tent pegs Round off the pointy ends with a file. Steel 3/16 tent pegs cost 49 cents at Walmart. 1/4 (6mm) Aluminum pegs can be had for 52 cents apiece, if you buy 20 of 'em at a time on Amazon. You might find deals in the garden shops on stakes. MICROWAVE Bought a used microwave from a thrift store for $15. Working outdoors is probably best. Plastisol Try melting down some old baits first to figure out how stuff works. ***Used but modern baits work best. I tried melting some never-used vintage stuff that was still in the original packages. Some felt a little dried out (like Creme worms from the seventies), some was slimy (like 15 year old Culprit Tassel lizards). If the plastic feels weird, may not be worth the time you spend melting it down. And you can't learn dipping or molding techniques if the material doesn't flow and set up right.*** Bought a quart of plastisol, then another quart from Barlow's. Baitplastics has the best deal going on gallons, if bought through ebay. Under 40 bucks including shipping. Their extra tough is really hard, good for a tube bait that will withstand some gnawing by spotted bay bass. **Update: Tried their saltwater formula, which is stiff enough to kill the action if you're pouring grubs or curlytail worms or injecting tubes with tentacles. However, my baits don't really have any action, and the extra tough is probably best for making tubes to hold up to repeated gnawing by spotties. Cooking If you are going to re-melt old plastics, or a big blob of stuff left over from your last production run, cut into small pieces. Big chunks=uneven melting, scorching, discoloration and hardening of the plastic. Heat the plastic in a coffee cup for 30 seconds...take it out and stir. If it's still solid, go 20 seconds at a time until it starts to melt. And stir to prevent scorching and to get rid of bubbles. Pyrex cups are good. $2 at walmart for an anchor hocking brand measuring cup that is safe for microwaving. Tall tea cups from the Daiso store are deeper, better for dipping longer tubes. Once the plastic is melted, the clock is ticking. Work fast, make as many tubes as possible; this is where having lots of tent pegs helps. As the plastic cools, it gets less runny...which means thicker walls on your baits. Dip the tent peg (I do two at a time) as deep as you want the lure to be long. Lift up, let the extra plastic dribble off. Hang the pegs somewhere to cool, or dip 'em in water. There will be long strings of spiderwebby plastic hanging off the end of the tube. Deal with it. For the rat-tailed tubes, dip a short tube of your preferred color and leave it on the peg. Then melt up some clear plastic with glitter, and dip again, but deeper, putting a clear coat over the colored body and adding a clear tail. For a clear head so the 3D eye really pops...like in the Ribbed Rose at the top of the post.... Dip a colored tube. Let cool for a couple minutes, use the boxcutter to cut off the head of the tube. Then dip the whole thing in clear, just deep enough to cover the head. Let it cool a little...then dunk really deep to put a clear coat over the head, the colored body, and adding a rat tail. Keep the plastic hot so it goes on thin. Leadheads Here's a 1/4 oz ball head inside a 1/4 inch/6mm ID tube. Ball heads, darter heads, tube-bait leadheads, whatever. As long as you can jam it into the tube it probably doesn't matter much. The eye of the hook needs to stick out from the lead far enough to make it easy to tie it to your line. Here are some heads I had laying around. Any will work in a tube except the Diner Shiner on the right. Jam that inside a tube bait and the eye of the hook will be buried in the plastic...hard to tie on. Besides the 3D eye, can fish really even see the details in the Ultra Minnow heads that I use? Definitely not when a solid color tube body is used. The stick-on eyes are the most expensive part of the leadheads that I make...so I leave some without eyes to use in solid-colored tubes. . Color-matching jigheads? I'm just using bare lead. Even re-using dull gray heads, a new tube gives all the color and shine you need. And the stick-on eyes don't get dull and can be replaced when they fall off. Looks like Matt at wetbandits also is doing the same... Lure assembly: Boxcutter to slit where the hook will exit the tube. NOTE: you want the slot to extend a little bit in front of where the bend in the hook will be. If a short biting fish pulls on the tail, you want a little room so the hook doesn't tear the plastic. Jam the jighead in to the cut, and work it up into position. When the leadhead's in the nose of the tube, just rub your thumb over the bump where the eye of the hook is...it'll pop through. Here's a tube made on 6mm (1/4 inch) hexagonal tent peg. The flat spots flash when front-lit...and light/dark areas from behind are distorted, and change as the relative positions of the light source, fish, or lure change. ScorcherZ Species List (by numbers caught): Spotted Sand (Bay) Bass Largemouth Bass Sand Bass Kelp (Calico) Bass Mackerel California Halibut Yellowfin Croaker Bonefish Smallmouth Bass* Green Sunfish/Bluegill hybrids Smelt Sculpin Striped Bass* *caught by someone else CUSTOM ORDERS: Try Matt (wetbandits)..his stuff looks terrific. I'm too darn lazy to make these for sale. GALLERY These kids were picnicking with their families on the little beach at the golf course on Coronado. Dredged up a legal halibut right in front of 'em in a couple feet of water. Double points for catching something right in front of witnesses.