Making Your Lures Glow: How and Why

The main types of glow explained

Most people who have seen glowing products throughout their life are most likely seeing products using a zinc sulfide based phosphorescent pigment. This is a glow that is weak in its brightness and short lived in how long it stays “charged” for. Products featuring this type of glow are glowing decals, certain paints and spray cans that you will find in Home Depot etc. The “real deal” glowing products are “alkaline earth metal aluminates”. The “metal” part of the name “alkaline earth metal aluminates” may include Barium, Strontium, Magnesium, Titanium and Calcium. There are variations on this type of glow formula depending on water solubility and daytime visibility but the basis for the glow is the same. The glow produced is far and away much brighter and much longer lasting than the conventional zinc sulfide based products.

Benefits of Glowing Lures

I think it’s safe to say that fishermen want their lures to be seen but you don’t fish at night so why do you need a lure that glows? With greater depth there is a certain amount of light loss, especially if are fishing waters that are anything but gin clear. So this means that your super duper expensive lure that looks great in the sunshine doesn’t look quite the same at 20 feet under the water. I would argue that an ugly lure that can be seen from a distance by a fish passing by will do better than a pretty one that can barely be seen in the same situation. But what if you could make a lure that looks good and glows?! Better yet, with high-quality glow paints and powders you can customize an existing lure to make it glow without compromising the original look of the lure.

Glow Inc. water based V10 glow paint

Glow Inc. offers several different colors and glow brightness and glow endurance. As mentioned previously, glow powder that really glows strong and long is going to be granular and because it’s also heavier than most media used to deliver it, a concession needs to be made in order to keep it in suspension. Such is the case with water-based V10 glow paint from Glow Inc. This is less like a paint and more like a paste, tooth paste really. It doesn’t really go on all that smooth so you have to work at it and use a softer brush. Because its water based you can thin it out with water to achieve a smoother coating. Do multiple coats, too. The good news is that it glows… a lot and it’s barely noticeable on your lure in the daytime. Once you have a couple of coats on do a couple of coats of CS Seal Coat or CS UV Blast Seal Coat. That will help protect it and also smooth out the uneven finish which is often the case when painting with paste. There is also the option of using solvent based glow paint as opposed to the water based version. The only real advantage to using the solvent based kind is that you get better adhesion to raw metal and because its consistency is much like nail polish you may get a smoother coat. If you doing a base coat (which you definitely should) then they aren’t different in their performance…except the higher price and shipping costs of the solvent-based version.
Another offering from Glow Inc. is straight glow powder. These powders come in several different colors and strengths. So what do you do with just the powder? Here’s my suggestion for getting a more even surface finish, a more even glow powder grain distribution and a cost savings. There’s a pretty durable white spray you can get at Home Depot called “Appliance Epoxy”. This is convenient because it gives a strong base and one that is white which will help reflect and transmit the glow powder coating. Pour some glow powder into a small container and have it at the ready. Place your lure (let’s say in this case it’s a spoon) somewhere you can spray paint it and immediately after spraying the spoon cover it completely with the glow powder. Leave it until the paint has dried then shake off the excess/unattached glow powder back into your container. You can also reclaim the excess glow powder from the area around where you sprinkled the glow powder. This technique produces a more even glow, is efficient, is quick and can still be altered with solid colors or other design additions before the top coat is applied. You could also use CS Coatings white base coat rather than the spray but be sure to apply it thin as you don’t want the glow powder granules getting covered up as they sink into a thick coat of white. The final finish that has worked best for me is a two-part epoxy. Simply lay out your spoon and pour the epoxy on using a small brush to even it out. The end result is a very bright and even-glowing lure with a desirable shiny finish that is super strong and durable.
Glow Inc. has quite a bit of selection when it comes to glow paints and powders. To give you an idea of what kind of glow can be expected, the Ultra Green V10 will give you over 24 hours of glow. A freshly charged lure with this powder is so powerful that I’ve used a lure to find the light switch in a pitch dark room! After the V10 there are other powders in other colors that will glow for 9 hours, 3 hours and less –still plenty of time for a fishing trip. What about airbrushing it on? Glow powder can be mixed with a medium and airbrushed on but you will have to adjust your spray nozzle to accommodate for the grain size of the powder. If you’re into making soft plastics you can incorporate glow powder into your finished product as well. There are a lot of possibilities in the world of glow. Below are some resources to check out if you want to try your hand at lighting up your lures.
Glow Inc.: This site has powder, paint and information.
Glo Nation:  This site has powder, paint and information.

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