Shane_O

WjS Custom Plugs? Should I take a chance for 35$?

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So, every once in a while I take a look through Ebay to see if there are any good deals on custom plugs. I recently found a bunch of hand made/painted plugs from “WjS Custom Plugs” made by a guy in Arkansas. They all look like high quality work but I’m hesitant to drop beachmaster/rm Smith money on something from a plug builder that I can find virtually no information or reviews on, especially when it looks like they’re only sold on eBay. I’ve got one in mind that I really want to try but again... that’s 35$ that could be spent on a tried and proven plug.

 

Has anybody tried these out before or know any info on the builder? I sent him a message on eBay for details and will update when I receive a response.

Edited by Shane_O
I messed up the seller’s location

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They are not through wire plugs.. They are using screw in eyes... It is a little high in price for a screw in eye that attaches the hooks.. I have seen screw in eye plugs for about $10 bucks apiece ... Good luck on the BAY...Sy

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6 mins ago, sytheteacher said:

They are not through wire plugs.. They are using screw in eyes... It is a little high in price for a screw in eye that attaches the hooks.. I have seen screw in eye plugs for about $10 bucks apiece ... Good luck on the BAY...Sy

Not even in the same league. Full seal plug is not you average 5 min screw eye plug.  Compare the build detail to your average $10 buck a apiece plug.  Very nice looking plugs. I don't have any experience with them, but I can see the builder put a lot of effort into them. Just look at the gill area.

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Hmm, the one I’m looking at is definitely through wired (belly swivel, twisted tail loop). However I do see other metal lips with no belly swivel and look like they could be screwed in. I’ll ask the seller about that too.

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the images I saw they look like they could be either way.

the 8 inch pikie @ 5+oz sounds like something close to mine in size/weight.\

they look killer though.

ya never know till ya try,you may indeed have found your next killer lure in a fave spot of yours.

HH

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So, the maker Wj Stine got back to me pretty quickly with detailed answers and seems like a stand up guy. When I asked about the build quality and finish on the 4 oz 8” Mullet pattern swimmer he responded:

 

Hi Shane thanks for the questions its sealed twice with wood hardener then a thinned epoxy then its gets a coat of colored epoxy then primed then some 3D scales then painted then i finish off with 4 coats of flex seal epoxy. As for the style it's more like a googoo style lure but about the same as a danny and the swimming action is surface to a few inches and as far as the testing i used these's down on the Texas gulf coast and here below the dam has a good wobble in the current and it also comes with a 7/0 dressed hook to match the lure i think i answered everything hey if there anything else just let me know Thanks Wj Stine”

 

Seems like he took the time to really seal the wood and protect that nice handywork well. At this time I had assumed it was through wired (belly grommet and swivel, twist in the tail loop). I decided to take a chance on his product and drop the 35$ on this bad boy.

 

Like Heavy Hooksetter said, you never know till you try”! I’ll provide a review once it arrives and I can further inspect it and test the action. Unfortunately it’ll be a while before it’s truly tested here in RI.

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 6:32 PM, sytheteacher said:

They are not through wire plugs.. They are using screw in eyes... It is a little high in price for a screw in eye that attaches the hooks.. I have seen screw in eye plugs for about $10 bucks apiece ... Good luck on the BAY...Sy

I asked about the through wiring and everything he makes is through wired with hardened stainless steel wire. The 8.5" plug above is through wired with 0.062" wire and uses a 2/0 Rosco belly swivel with a stainless grommet.

 

I can see how some of the plugs seem like they may not be through wired since they don't have belly swivels and the tail loop isn't shown in some photos so you can't tell if there's winding. But I've seen a similar style with the through wire used to make a belly eye and tail eye like that in some of the nice handmade stuff coming out of Japan that's heavily used in Japan and Australia for GTs and other aggressive sport fish. Actually, the overall style reminds me of a lot of the work done by companies like FCL Labo. Although I haven't seen that style used on Pikie style plugs before, it's still a sturdy design. Yes, without a belly swivel a large fish could gain more leverage on a plug if hooked on just the belly hook but I've seen well regarded GT and Tuna plugs built like this so it must be effective if done correctly.

 

Overall the plug builder (Wj Stine) has been incredibly responsive and helpful. He seems to be doing everything right when it comes to the quality of his builds, but I won't be able to speak honestly about the plugs' action and performance until I receive them, fish them, and abuse them a bit. I'll be passing one or two on to some guys who I know go out to block island frequently for cows and make a few tuna trips a year to see what they think as well.

 

I'm excited to try these out but like I said, can't really promote them until I've used them. I'll be providing updates with more info/input as I receive and fish them. Overall the plug builder seems like a great guy and customer service has been top notch (he even said he'd throw in a couple extra plugs to try out when I told him the type of fishing we do). Sometimes Ebay is just the easiest and most effective venue to sell your work when you're just one guy making plugs, which is why I keep surfing the site for things like this. Needless to say we'll be putting them through their paces and reporting back to the builder and to the forum with feedback. More to come.

 

-Shane O

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That sounds great but you might want to be careful about doing too much promotion if you find a good source. I still remember a time not too long ago when you could walk right up to the GRS booth at local shows and have your pick for $45, or could by unrigged Doc blanks for under $15.

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14 mins ago, Dave T. said:

That sounds great but you might want to be careful about doing too much promotion if you find a good source. I still remember a time not too long ago when you could walk right up to the GRS booth at local shows and have your pick for $45, or could by unrigged Doc blanks for under $15.

That's a good point Dave, If his work turns out to swim and catch as well as it looks I might be kicking myself in the arse a year or two from now. But if someone's putting in the work to make great new plugs that work well, it'd be a disservice to the plug builder and the angling community not to share it. This is also jumping the gun since I haven't seen the plugs close up in person yet... much less fished them.

 

Like I said, most of this isn't worth squat until we've looked at the plugs in person and thoroughly fished them. I don't care how pretty a plug is, if it doesn't have an action or presentation that is applicable to the species we fish for or the conditions that we fish in, it's not worth buying for anglers doing the type of fishing that we do. I just took a chance and am seeing where it goes. Definitely worth the 35$.

 

To be honest, the hard part will be putting an old faithful back in the plug bag and snapping one of these on when I know that there are fish to catch. I'll call it a research project haha, someone's got to do it if we're going to find new quality plug builders. If they don't work, at worst it'll be a nice decoration and I'll give the most thorough possible feedback to the builder so that he might be able to improve or adjust the design for the type of fishing we do here if he's interested in selling plugs to the East Coast market.

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38 mins ago, Kima said:

I'd save that thing for the fall, looks like a hell of a mullet imitation.

I'm going to see how it swims in a safe location as soon as I get it and then go from there. But I agree, that would be its time to shine.

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It’s all good, my warning was meant to be tongue in cheek. Good builders or products find their way to the masses from people taking a chance and putting them into service. Hope you found a winner!

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12 mins ago, Dave T. said:

It’s all good, my warning was meant to be tongue in cheek. Good builders or products find their way to the masses from people taking a chance and putting them into service. Hope you found a winner!

Gotchya, subtlety isn't my specialty haha. But I hope that his work performs well too. We'll see how it pans out.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

If you have to put this much thought into buying a plug then maybe you shouldnt buy it lol.And as far as the price it seems fair based on the time that I can tell he spent on it.It def took him 2-4 hours on each one if not more then that.Alot of builders lie about how long each plug takes them to build.

Edited by IslandSurf

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