people can pick an electric guitar better than Dale Sellers. The colorful Alabama
native was in high demand as a Nashville recording session musician
in the 1970s and '80s; his signature licks have appeared on countless
hit records by artists as diverse as Ray Charles, George Jones, Neil
Young, B.B. King and Reba McEntire, to name a few. But the superpicker
has long harbored another passion besides music: luremaking. Now his
custom baits are gaining a nationwide following among bassers looking
for a winning edge.
"I've always loved bass fishing," Sellers says. "I began building my
own lures in Nashville between recording sessions."
While in the Music City, Sellers joined other session musicians who
loved to fish, to form the Music Row Stringbusters, a band that entertained
bass pros and the outdoor press at several BASS Masters Classics.
"In 1987, Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton hears Sellers' guitar work
on the soundtrack for the movie, Elvis, starring Kurt Russell,
and he hired the Nashville picker as lead guitarist for his legendary
stage revue. "I worked nights for Newton, which freed me up during the
day to get into luremaking more seriously," he says. Sellers' handmade
spinnerbaits quickly became a hit among tournament fishermen on
Lake Mead. "Several tournaments were won on them, and once the word
got out, local bait shops started calling me to supply them with lures.
Soon I had a good sideline business going."
The guitarist's luremaking enterprise escalated dramatically in '93,
when Wayne Newton and his band left Vegas to open a theater in Branson,
Mo. "When I got to the Ozarks and saw all that water and all those bass
boats, I thought I'd gone to heaven," Sellers recalls.
member Dale Sellars enjoyed three decades of success as a professional
musician in recording studios and on stage Photo: Don
spinnerbaits are Sellers' specialty. "I use all American-made components,
including Mustad Needle Point hooks, Worth swivels, stainless steel
wire and the best polished blades I can find. I'll finish the blades
however the customer desires. One of my favorite blade finishes is a
clear chartreuse powdercoat over a nickel blade. It has a greenish-gold
look in the water, like a live baitfish. I guarantee all my baits will
run perfectly straight right out of the package. One of my Missouri
customers has won two bass boats in regional tournaments on my spinnerbaits."
Sellers is as artistic with an airbrush as he is with a guitar. He custom-paints
other manufacturers' hard baits on special order to the exact
specifications of the customer. "If you want a certain color or finish
on a crankbait, jerkbait or topwater lure that you can't find anywhere
else, I'll paint it – one or a hundred," he says. "I've pained baits
for some of the top B.A.S.S. pros, although they won't talk about it
because they're all sponsored by major lure companies." On the day I
visited his shop in Pegram, Tenn., just outside Nashville, Sellers was
custom-painting for a Missouri pro several dozen Smithwick Suspending
Rogues in a purple back/chartreuse side/red hash mark pattern he calls
"Bleeding Buffy." "Serious tournament anglers know that a custom-painted
bait is something their competition isn't likely to be throwing," Sellers
points out. "Pros and guides who use them on highly pressured lakes
tell me they really make a difference."
For information on Dale Sellers' custom lures, phone (615)952-9582.
"That's when I really dove
into luremaking seriously. I began selling baits at all the area
tackle outlets, and making them on custom order for tournament
fishermen and guides on Table Rock, Bull Shoals and Lake
of the Ozarks."In 1997, Sellers left the Wayne Newton Show for
a stint with Branson oldies entertainer Bobby Vinton. "I worked
18 months for Vinton, but by that time my lure business had
expanded to the point where I had to decide which direction to
take. Having gone the music route for over three decades,
I hung up my guitar, moved back to Nashville, set up shop and
now devote all my time to luremaking.
desiring a winning edge over their competition , lure maker Dale
Sellers Custom-Paints other manufacturers hard baits, like these
Smithwick suspending rogues, any color the customer desires Photo: