A small profile makes a big difference in Southwest Louisiana, where Clint Ward of Lake Charles makes a spinnerbait from scratch to satisfy the needs of both anglers and bass.
The highly touted C.W. Custom Lures spinnerbaits, however, almost didn’t see the light of day about 3½ years ago when Ward poured some of his first blocks of lead into a new mold he ordered along with everything else to get into artificial lure manufacturing.
He wasn’t aware back there in the barn where he still makes the spinnerbaits of the sensitivity of lead to extreme cold temperatures.
It wasn’t pretty.
“I didn’t know how lead behaved at certain temperatures,” the 41-year-old fire driver for the Lake Charles Fire Department said.
On that first try — on a cold night — nothing came out right. He was frustrated and unhappy.
“I wanted to send it all back,” Ward said with a chuckle in mid-August. “Since then, I’ve learned the warmer it is, the easier it is.”
Bass anglers in that region have appreciated the revelation. Bass, on the other hand, probably not so much.
Ward makes the “Calcasieu Candy” and “Burns Bruisers” — colloquial names given to his small-profile spinnerbaits based on a 1/8-ounce frame but with a ¼-ounce weight.
The spinnerbait can be chunked far under tree limbs but pulls through submerged grass easier than other models, bass anglers have told him.
It’s a one-man operation, although sometimes his two young daughters helps assemble pieces.
The Lake Charles outdoorsman caught his first bass at age 4 and hasn’t stopped going after the fish, often headquartering his fishing from his Toledo Bend camp.
He added speckled trout fishing to the list a long time ago, and he loves to hunt deer after pretty much getting away from hunting ducks and geese.
But about four years ago he realized he wasn’t confident in the spinnerbaits he was using.
“I never was satisfied with some of the baits I was using,” Ward said. “I wanted to make my own. I make everything myself, so it’s truly a handcrafted bait.”
He pours the head, takes it from the mold, fastens the hook, bends the wire frame, paints it, makes the skirt, and puts the blades and swivels on — a process that takes about two hours for each spinnerbait.
“They’re pretty much selling on their own,” said Ward, who estimates he makes about 100 each month. “I’m contemplating on putting them in Lake Charles Tackle.”
He has considered mass-producing with a local artificial lure manufacturer, but for now the angler is content with turning out what he does for his current clientele.
“A lot of these guys come back to me and buy them. I’ve had some buy 100,” Ward said. “I tell guys, when they catch a fish on them send me a picture.
“A lot of guys win tournaments on it. That’s very rewarding, knowing they won on my bait.”
His spinnerbait has a small body belying its actual weight. It is made with .033-gauge wire and a Mustad No. 3 short-shank hook.
He offers an endless assortment of blade combinations.
Many bass anglers like the single willowleaf blade: a No. 3, either gold-plated or nickel, he said. Some prefer brass or copper, the latter because it is less shiny.
“Guys in the marsh like it because it comes through the grass better,” Ward said. “Guys in the river(s) like a double-bladed combination.”
To order or find out more about C.W. Custom Lures, go to CW’s Custom Spinnerbaits on Facebook, email Kajunfiddle@gmail.com or call 337-274-1467.