Northland custom lure operation evolves from a hobby to a business

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: September 02, 2020 10:52 PM

Northland native Justin Gower started painting fishing lures as a hobby, but about a year ago it turned into a business. Posting Facebook Live videos and elsewhere on social media helped grow his operation, and now the Minnesota man is looking to expand.

"You don't want too much pressure because then you can cause the paints to run too much," said Gower while air brushing one of his custom lures.

The sound of the air brush has become common place in Gower's Alborn, Minnesota home. It comes from his corner studio, lit up and stocked with custom lure supplies.

"There's multiple different types of products. I personally use an acrylic based airbrush paint, and you can paint with a normal paintbrush too. I use airbrush paints and everything, most of everything, I use is non-toxic," said Gower. 

About three years ago the avid angler was inspired to start creating his own fishing lures. The project began as a hobby but then grew into a small business, JGs Custom Lures.

"I had friends that wanted some and they're like 'here's a few bucks for your time'. Then they showed this stuff to their friends and they contacted me and it just kind of spiraled into it."

From then on, Gower was hooked.

His process starts with a blank lure, then he lays down and sets the base coat. Next is the stencil work, which he says brings the lure alive. Then a clear coat is added and after they're fully cured, in two to seven days depending on size, they're ready to fish with.

The completely custom operation offers many styles of crankbaits, jerkbaits, and trolling baits for different types of fishing, from walleye and perch to crappie and musky. He also provides options for ice fishing.

"I have these, they're called lipless. These are good for ice fishing, for vertical jigging, and they're great for casting shallow waters," said Gower.

Looking forward, Gower hopes to expand his operation into his garage in order to keep sharing his passion with anglers across the country. He's already sent some lures as far as Texas.

"Being able to produce something like this for myself, or anybody that has received lures that I painted for them, it's just awesome to be able to see that they're being able to catch these fish on these lures."


Alicia Tipcke

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