Glenwood Springs (AP) — While many around the valley have mastered the art of fly-tying, Bucky Moser has taken fishing lure creation to another level.
Growing up in Carbondale, Moser, 42, spent most of his younger years fly fishing and tying files. He even served on the local board for Trout Unlimited for a time.
"I spent the better part of my younger and middle life tying flies and fishing trout," Moser said. "I developed a knack for finding good patterns and colors from tying the flies."
But like anything perfected in youth, Moser's tastes began to evolve.
His focus went away from trout fishing and morphed into a passion for bass fishing.
"I love fishing for largemouth bass," Moser said. "I like fishing smallmouth better, but there's really not a lot of places around here to fish for them."
And with his penchant for bass fishing, he began to expand on his lure design prowess.
He put aside the fly-tying and started making soft plastic lures and jigs, spinnerbaits, and eventually, crankbaits.
For the uninitiated, crankbaits are lures designed to mimic aquatic prey, such as fish, frogs and crawfish. The lures have a built-in action that, when reeled back in, gives the bait a lifelike appearance to the fish.
Moser's skill in crankbait design — which he's been building for almost three years — caught him by surprise.
"I never really considered myself as having artistic talent," he said. "I don't have a background in art, but I've been looking on the internet and gaining tips. I've also been helped by Steve Legersky of Artist Mercantile and Gallery. He tells me what paints and brushes to use."
The lure begins its life as a clear plastic piece, known as a "blank." Moser starts with primer, airbrushes the color on and then adds detail with a brush.
His designs run the gamut, from crawfish to fire tiger to shad and everything in between.
He then adds a coat of lacquer.
"The hardest thing is getting the lacquer part right," he admits.
Moser learned the ropes the way most nascent artists do, through practice.
"I have hundreds of lures sitting around, but they're horrible," he said of his first attempts. "I initially started out making spinnerbaits and plastics and I've made a few jigs, too. I figured that I'd make them so I didn't have to pay six or seven bucks on each lure."
His determination has paid off, not only in padding the tackle box, but in finding a relaxing hobby.
"It's a great hobby for me in the winter," Moser said. "I'm not really a winter person and I can retire into the painting room to work on lures and relax."
The crankbaits have proven effective, too.
"I've caught fish with them in Jerry Creek, Harvey Gap and I've also done well with them at Lake Powell, and Steinaker in Vernal, too." he said. "My father-in-law, Dick Robertson, and I caught lots of fish in Trenton, Mo., this past week as well."
Another Western Slope location favored by Moser is Elkhead Reservoir northeast of Craig.
"At Elkhead we do really well with the darker patterns," he said. "You can catch a lot of smallmouth and pike in that reservoir."
Moser has many other fishing destinations outside of Colorado that he'd like to test his lures at, too.
"My favorite place to fish is Lake Trenton, but I would love to fish Lake Okeechobee in Florida, Falcon Lake in Texas, and Lake Kentucky," he said.
Moser's standard lures are available at the Speckled Feather in New Castle — but if you have a special lure in mind, he may be able to help. Just provide a photo or detailed description and Moser can most likely make you a replica.
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.