Chance Dunlap in his work shop
I have loved fishing lures for as long as I can remember, and as a kid had a seine net suspended in my bedroom corner covered with my collection. I would pack them up when we went fishing and return them upon our return. I got Karl White’s great lure collecting book for Christmas when I was ten or so. I was so inspired by that book I was compelled to create a fishing lure of my own design. I whittled some pine boards and sandwiched a chunk of chamois leather between them, which I had cut into the shape of a lizard. I robbed some hardware from a Heddon Chugger Spook and had my own creation. I attempted to fish it at the first opportunity, but it was a failure functionally. The poorly balanced aspect aside, the lure remains a prime reward from my youth and reflects my early ingenuity and interest in making things. I am very glad to still have it in my collectionI started making lures seriously in 2013. I was in graduate school studying Art and focused on sculpture. On a whim I made my first lure one day, and hooked myself on the practice. I made quite a few lures fairly quickly and really explored many forms and actions. I really enjoy carving deep red cedar heartwood, but my experience with welding lends itself well to my development of metal lure designs and hardware. At first I used hardware from vintage lures, but began making much of my own. Today when I start carving a fishing lure I mentally fit hardware to the body as I work. Some shapes are suited for developing hand-cut and shaped hardware pieces while others lend themselves to very simple screw eye hardware types. I have made ducks, frogs, mice, minnows and baitfish of many types, and even quite abstract forms that do not represent anything exactly. My experience as an artist, making paintings and sculptures, has really influenced my confidence and the aesthetic choices I make in my lure making tremendously.
Making lures for myself has provided me great insights into the inventiveness and genius of our past ancestors. I do not attempt to recreate vintage fishing lures nor do I compare mine to them. I hope my lures will be interpreted as contemporary works that reflect issues with craft traditions and fine art concepts. I am thankful to those collectors who have picked some of my work, and I just plain enjoy making them. That’s the best part.