The Wooden Plugs of the Striper Coast

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
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
Considering the time and care that goes into turn these lures, they can cost upwards of $40.Joe Cermele
Paul Lindner of Cyclone Lures holds up one of his swimmers in the popular "school bus" color pattern.Joe Cermele
DingBat plugs ready to find good homes in surf bags.Joe Cermele
DingBat builder Bob Hessels with two of his most popular swimmers.Joe Cermele
Veteran New Jersey plug-maker Tom Bottomley builds just a handful of his TB Swimmers every year to sell at Asbury.Joe Cermele
Notice that the wallet of this shopper is packed to the max as he peruses Tom Bottomley's last remaining plugs.Joe Cermele
Pajama Plugs founder and builder Greg Cuozzo with one of this bottle poppers.Joe Cermele
Cuozzo's bunker pattern, shown here on a bottle popper, is one of his most sought-after colors.Joe Cermele
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
Twisted's take on the classic school bus pattern.Joe Cermele
The last few PlugCaster darters hang ready for purchase.Joe Cermele
PlugCaster Lures owner Rich Karpowicz with one of his over-sized pencil poppers designed with giant bass in mind.Joe Cermele
Donald Guimelli of Afterhours Custom Plugs with a chartreuse pencil popper.Joe Cermele
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
After the untimely passing of legendary plug-maker John "Habs" Haberek, the price of his plugs has gone sky-high.Joe Cermele
An assortment of Ron Muccie's Glitter Plugs.Joe Cermele
A new color pattern on one of New York-based builder Ryan Smith's jointed swimmers.Joe Cermele
Styled after the original Creek Chub Pikie, Gary Soldati's Big Water Lures have accounted for some truly huge stripers.Joe Cermele
Soldati holding one of his squid trollers.Joe Cermele
Loki Lures produces a near-perfect bunker imitation.Joe Cermele
Loki Lures owner Greg Myhre with a smaller version of this killer custom.Joe Cermele
Fish On! Lures builder Gene Amato displays some of his famous pencil poppers with daughter Kacey.Joe Cermele
With a uniquely thin diameter for a swimmer, DT Lures is gaining attention in the surf scene.Joe Cermele
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