Custom paint pays entry fees

CANONSBURG, Pa. — A wintertime hobby has turned into a successful fundraiser for a West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation high school team.

Nick Fulks, 16, started custom painting lures with an airbrush more than a year ago.

“I wanted to do something with fishing over the winter because up here in Pennsylvania, it is really cold and we can’t fish,” said Fulks, who is a member of the West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation high school team Canon-Mac Bass Pack.

“One day, I came up with a real cool color I call ‘ghost minnow’ on a jerkbait and I asked my dad to put it on eBay to see if it would sell. It sold for $12 and I only wanted $6 out of it.”

The high school sophomore realized he could turn his hobby into a business when he sold 15 of the 20 custom painted lures he posted on eBay. Since then, he has sold 300 painted jerkbaits and crankbaits, and last summer he started making his own jigs.

The money Fulks raises from his lure sales helps pay for tournament entry fees for Fulks and his fellow high school club member John Eckles.

Fulks recently sent some of his custom painted crankbaits to Ken Hackworth, West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation youth director, who was so impressed with Fulks’ work that he took the lures to work to show his fishing buddies.

“They just couldn’t get over the expertise this boy has,” said Hackworth. “I am spreading the news about the painted lures."

Hackworth has posted information on Fulks’ work on the West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation Facebook page and the message board of the chapter's website.

His work is even more impressive because Fulks is partially color blind.

“He can see a few colors, but not many,” said Ryan Fulks, Nick’s dad. “I have to label all of his paints accordingly so he knows what color he is painting.”

See Fulks' full collection here.