Handcrafted Wooden Topwater Lures by Side-Stepper Baits
Every handcrafted wooden topwater lure is unique. Each one reacts different. They have their own personal attitude. That is what makes handcrafted wooden topwater lures so popular with weekend and professional anglers. It’s the wiggle, hunting, splashing, gurgling, and drifting action of handcrafted wooden lures that drives bass wild. True handcrafted wooden topwater lures are not mass produced. No, it takes a skilled craftsman to carve finely tuned wooden baits out of a block of wood. For Larry Mayer, owner of Side-Stepper Bait Company, it’s about making that special handcrafted wooden topwater lure. In 2000, Mayer started Side-Stepper Bait Company, he was making baits in his basement and the garage; now, Mayer rents a couple office spaces in a local mall to build, paint, and store his lures.
Being an avid topwater fisherman, Mayer always wanted to improve the topwater lures he was fishing with. The only solution was for him to build his own, the only question was what material. In the end, Mayer found that white pine, redwood, and western cedar provided the results he was looking for in wooden topwater lures. Side-Stepper Baits come in a number of models including the Side-Stepper, Half-Stepper, Water Churner Jr., Disturber, Burbler, 2-24, Butt Dragger, Water Churner, and the just released Herk’s Go-To. A number of the Side-Stepper Baits are throw-backs to the old style topwater lures with side treble hooks on its side along with belly hooks. All the lures in the Side- Stepper Baits are built to react and perform a certain way in the water. The flagship bait is the Side-Stepper. The Side-Stepper works best when the angler makes repeated twitches with slack line that makes the lure take one “step” left to right, right to left in virtually a 180-degree arc. “This is my favorite for daytime use for huge bass when the water surface is smooth or nearly calm,” explained Mayer’s. The Side-Stepper comes in a variety of color patterns and sizes from 4 ˝- to 7-inches with diameters on the small ones the size of a penny or a nickel to more than a quarter on the muskie and saltwater models.
The number of Side-Stepper Baits made is limited. Mayer’s feels that it is better to have a
high quality product than to over produce and end up with a lure no one wants
to fish with. The baits cost $15 apiece
and everyone is hand tuned by Mayer himself.
Interestingly, a number of people who purchase the handcrafted wooden topwater lures are collectors who do not even plan on
fishing with them. Side-Stepper Baits
(Phone (618)997-1612) are not available in stores, only directly from
Mayer. For a color brochure, send $2,
refundable on the first order to Side-Stepper Bait Co., Attention Larry Mayer,
Few high quality handcrafted wooden topwater lures are being made today. Even less made with side trebles and belly trebles. Mayer’s is old school in his lure making and design. Each one a work of art, but made to catch fish.
Written by Brad Wiegmann. Brad is a professional fishing guide on