The Wooden Plugs of the Striper Coast

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The Annual Fishing Expo in Asbury Park, NJ, draws crowds from all over the Northeast that come to buy custom wooden striped bass plugs – many of which are available only at this show. Joe Cermele
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The crowd pours onto the floor shortly after the doors open to get in line for a chance to buy a plug or two from their favorite builder. Joe Cermele
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Considering the time and care that goes into turn these lures, they can cost upwards of $40. Joe Cermele
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Paul Lindner of Cyclone Lures holds up one of his swimmers in the popular “school bus” color pattern. Joe Cermele
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DingBat plugs ready to find good homes in surf bags. Joe Cermele
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DingBat builder Bob Hessels with two of his most popular swimmers. Joe Cermele
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Veteran New Jersey plug-maker Tom Bottomley builds just a handful of his TB Swimmers every year to sell at Asbury. Joe Cermele
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Notice that the wallet of this shopper is packed to the max as he peruses Tom Bottomley’s last remaining plugs. Joe Cermele
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Pajama Plugs founder and builder Greg Cuozzo with one of this bottle poppers. Joe Cermele
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Cuozzo’s bunker pattern, shown here on a bottle popper, is one of his most sought-after colors. Joe Cermele
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Scott Lehman (left) and Dave Petry of Twisted Lures are relative newcomers to the plug-building game that are making a fast mark with their wooden swimmers. Joe Cermele
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Twisted’s take on the classic school bus pattern. Joe Cermele
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The last few PlugCaster darters hang ready for purchase. Joe Cermele
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PlugCaster Lures owner Rich Karpowicz with one of his over-sized pencil poppers designed with giant bass in mind. Joe Cermele
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Donald Guimelli of Afterhours Custom Plugs with a chartreuse pencil popper. Joe Cermele
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Builder Russ Paoline holds one of his noted marble swimmers. This classic from BigRock Lures is a coveted plug up and down the striper coast. Joe Cermele
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After the untimely passing of legendary plug-maker John “Habs” Haberek, the price of his plugs has gone sky-high. Joe Cermele
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An assortment of Ron Muccie’s Glitter Plugs. Joe Cermele
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A new color pattern on one of New York-based builder Ryan Smith’s jointed swimmers. Joe Cermele
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Styled after the original Creek Chub Pikie, Gary Soldati’s Big Water Lures have accounted for some truly huge stripers. Joe Cermele
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Soldati holding one of his squid trollers. Joe Cermele
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Loki Lures produces a near-perfect bunker imitation. Joe Cermele
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Loki Lures owner Greg Myhre with a smaller version of this killer custom. Joe Cermele
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Fish On! Lures builder Gene Amato displays some of his famous pencil poppers with daughter Kacey. Joe Cermele
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With a uniquely thin diameter for a swimmer, DT Lures is gaining attention in the surf scene. Joe Cermele
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All the way from California, Bodega Bay Lure Company started making custom wood for monster largemouth hunters and is now trying to break into the East Coast surf market. Joe Cermele