By Al McGuckin
By the time Team Toyota’s Terry “Big Show” Scroggins turned 18 he was a skilled painter in his family’s Palatka, Florida autobody business. Fast forward 35 years, and he’s not only won $2 Million dollars as a pro angler, but he’s also painting soft plastic lures in a way he’s pretty certain no one ever has before.
“I painted cars for a living for more that 16 years. I was good at my job. Made good money. But man, it was hard work. Painting cars was like a 9-hour aerobic workout in a paint booth that was 90-degrees and full of fumes. Trust me, pouring and painting soft plastic lures is way more fun,” smiles Scroggins.
His venture into pouring custom lures actually began a few months prior to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake, Oklahoma. Locals were known for throwing a no-longer-made salamander lure that couldn’t be bought, so Scroggins had a buddy make a mold to replicate it.
The secret homemade amphibian imitation didn’t win him the Classic, but it ultimately led to an addictive hobby he continues to refine and market more than a decade later. His latest lure modification involves pumping outrageously popular Spike-It lure dye through a small paint gun to create one-of-a-kind colors.
“Everybody who owns a baitcasting reel probably owns Spike-It dye, but by running it through a small paint gun you can control how dark or light the shade of dye is, and more importantly turn a solid-colored lure into one with a different tail or craw pincher color,” explains Scroggins.
Years ago, factory made soft plastics featuring a green pumpkin body with orange pinchers, or a black lizard with a blue tail, for example, were plentiful at retail. But featuring two different colors on one lure body requires a ‘gate’ in the injection mold manufacturing process, and that leads to more time and smaller profits.
“I figured out the easy fix is to buy a $30 spray gun and a small compressor from Harbor Freight, fill it with the Spike-It dye color of your choice, and you can paint your own custom accents to any soft plastic lure you want,” says Scroggins.
For example, he recently made a batch of solid sapphire blue colored “Punch Bugs” like he designed for Stanford Baits. But he sprayed their bodies with black dye to create a color-combo very few others will have.
“Let’s say we get to Kissimmee for the first MLF Bass Pro Tour event and a major cold front hits that leads to everybody punching matted vegetation. Well, I know that I’m punching those same mats with a color fish haven’t seen. Which gives me confidence to get bites in highly pressured situations. And we all know confidence can be the best lure in your tackle box,” says Scroggins.
The consummate tinkerer, Scroggins, appears to have indeed found a solution to creating hard-to-find multicolored soft plastics, while at the same time boosting his competitive confidence, and it’s way more fun than painting cars all day in 90-degree heat.