To some anglers, theyâ€™re â€śgut piles.â€ť To others, theyâ€™re â€śdead soldiers.â€ť
But to Madisonville teenager Caleb Meyer, theyâ€™re tomorrowâ€™s fishing lures.
Every fisherman can look at the floor of his boat following a dayâ€™s fishing, and see scattered soft-plastic lures that were unceremoniously ripped off the hook and discarded to be replaced by a fresher one, a different brand or a new color.
Most sweep those baits into a pile with their hands, scoop them up and place them atop the overflowing garbage cans at their local marina.
But not Meyer.
He collects them, stores them and eventually recycles them into brand-new baits.
With the help of his parents, the 13-year-old ordered a Golden Grub brand open mold in a design he liked, and ever since has been creating his own plastic worms from his and other anglersâ€™ discards.
â€śI just like making my own baits,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s fun catching fish on something you made yourself.â€ť
Meyer melts store-bought plastic when he wants specific colors, and heâ€™ll also sort used baits into like colors. Mixing random colors usually results in baits that are grayish-brown â€” not very appealing to anglers, but the fish still like them.
He uses the lures in neighborhood ponds as well as in the marshes around Cocodrie, where he fishes with his maternal grandfather.
A vast assortment of soft-plastic molds is available at do-itmolds.com.
Most retail for around $50.