EDITOR: At iBass360 we like to put the spotlight on small fishing gear manufacturers to help them get the word out about their companies. Kevin Carwile, talked to Lou Roberto of Philadelphia’s Lou’s Custom Painted Lures to get his insights on the fishing industry and how he carved out his niche in it.
iBass360: What got you started in lure making?
Lou: My love for art and airbrushing. I was looking for a way to use my creativity one day and I searched YouTube for tips on airbrushing techniques and I stumbled upon a few videos of people painting lures. I knew right away I was all in! I’ve spent my whole life fishing and doing graffiti art and so finishing custom lures just brought it all together. I really wanted to catch fish on lures
that I created and have many of my friends and other anglers do the same. Offering free custom painted lures was also a great way to meet new anglers and get their secret spots!
iBass360: What do you offer, what are your specialties and what sets your products apart?
Lou: I offer a custom painted baits- shallow, medium and deep diving Crank Baits, Jerk Baits, Poppers, Lipless- pretty much any hard bodied bait. What makes me different is that my goal is to work with the angler and have them be a part of the bait creation. I combine my fishing experiences and artist background with your input to create that perfect lure you’ve been looking for but had not been able to find. As far as my specialties, hmmmm maybe my secrets should stay secret.
What sets me apart from others is the relationship I build with the customer throughout the lure design & build process. I video record the painting sessions, create time-lapse
and take pics to document the process and I send them to the customer throughout the process to keep them involved and up to date on where their lures are. I feel this really lets them be a part of the creation from start to the finished piece. I want them to feel like they are part of the creation the whole time. It makes the lures that much more personal.
iBass360: How would you describe your passion for fishing?
Lou: Besides my family, who fish with me all the time, fishing is the only thing I think about! I try to get out fishing at least 3 times a week- if not every day. I use maps and apps to look for new spots close to where ever I am. I do extensive planning as to how I can get my lures- especially new creations- in that water. I'll even go before work- at 4:00 AM if I have to- or during my lunch break if there is nearby water. Whenever I can get back out on the boat or into the kayak throughout the week or during the weekend, I do it. I just love and live fishing!
iBass360: Who's your favorite angler? Have you done any work with B.A.S.S., FLW or MLF series anglers at any level?
Lou: That’s easy, my Dad is my favorite angler. He taught me from a very young age and fuel the passion that drives my fishing today. In terms of the pros, I have not done any work with any well known tournament anglers- just friends and acquaintances for whom I’ve made lures. I sure would love to get some exposure to some pros with whom I could team for mutual benefit.
iBass360: What is your favorite type of species to catch and PB?
Lou: I custom paint baits and pour soft plastics for bass fisherman. Bass are my favorite fish to catch. The 2.5” square bill is my favorite lure to fish and paint . I have been fishing for over 35 years and I am always in search of a trophy fish. My personal best largemouth was 7lbs caught in 2018 with my RiverCraw pattern. My personal best Smallmouth was about 3lbs caught on the same RiverCraw pattern in 2017 on the Delaware. I am still waiting for that monster Smallmouth!
iBass360: What is the average time from start to finish to make a custom lure?
Lou: It really depends on what the customer requests, but for the most part I can paint it and have it clear coated and rigged with hooks in about 2.5 hours start to finish. I will paint any hard body bait I can get my hands on, and customize anything for you as long as I can get the supplies or you send them to me.