Posted by: Tom Keer
December 1, 2011

Tom Keer

A New Version of Sporting Art: Cliff Casey

We fishermen tinker and tweak to get things right.  When we get going on a mission to modify gear to our specific needs, everything is under review. Boats, trailers, rods, and rigging. . . nothing gets overlooked.  We’ll dye feathers to better match the hatch and pull out markers to color stickbaits and plugs.  One man, Cliff Casey, takes these modifications to a whole new level.

Casey, a life-long fisherman and hunter, grew up in Illinois.  He began drawing and painting at an early age and his path landed him at the Colorado Institute of Art, and he graduated with a degree in Advertising Design.  Recently he’s turned his attention to custom-painted fishing lures. Prior to mass production, all lures were painted by hand.  What’s different here is that these lures are hand-painted by an artist!  Casey used water-based Creatix colors that he first applies with an airbrush.  After the base coat is dry he pulls out the acrylic paints and a series of brushes to apply the necessary detail.  For durability Casey adds a top coat of Devcon 30-minute Epoxy.  Lures are placed on a spinning wheel to ensure a smooth finish.  Most lures take a week or so to complete, and depending on the amount of work required, he charges $12-15 per lure – not bad when you consider the amount of work involved.

The net result (pun intended) is that many tournament anglers contact Casey to get an extra edge to help them win the big prize.  Other anglers reach out to him for different reasons.  They are down to their last favorite plug and the manufacturer isn’t making any more.  Casey easily solves those problems by beginning with a similar shaped lure and then painting to match.  I think his personal motto might be “there are no problems, only solutions.”

If you’re looking for an extra edge this year or you’re in need of replacement lures, check him out at www.cliffordcaseysart.com.  You’ll be glad you did.

Tom Keer is a freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He regularly writes for over a dozen magazines, and is the contributing editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America and a columnist for The Upland Almanac. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New  England Coast” was published by Wilderness Adventures Press in 2010. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com

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