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weighting crankbaits


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#1 scoop10

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 10:07 PM

Great tutorial on casting crankbait weights.

But I have some questions related on when, how to use.

Recently, I've come up with a successful small crankbait design that runs true and has a nice wobble, made with cedar. The bait definitely floats up fast, although I am putting the final expoxy finish on it now, so we will see whether that slows it some.

I've fished for bass for years, and understand the value of suspending baits, but wondering if crankbait makers generally frown on baits that rise fast. Is there an optimum rise that people are looking for, so that weighting a wooden bait is considered necessary?

As far as weighting the baits, how do you establish how much lead to use? Is it all trial and error? Also, do most crankbait makers use just one weight on the belly, and is it inserted by drilling a hole in the belly of the bait, then attached with the eyescrew and painted and expoxied over? Does that take a longer eyescrew?

I know that the Z-4s also have some weight in the throat. Curious how that weight is attached.

I know that's lots of questions, but this is an area that I really know little about.

#2 cullin8s

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 10:23 PM

It depends on the use of the crankbait on the rise, i personally like everything but my really deep divers and my susp. jerkbaits to rise really fast because i fish really heavy cover and the fast rise helps me to not get hung up as often.

#3 Skeeter

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 02:41 AM

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Weight the bait to where the water line comes up over half of the baits height.

2. The speed at which a lure rises is personal preference. The main thing is that the bait is not so light that the lip does not go under the water while it is sitting still, and the bait will not spiral as it rises.

3. Throat weighting was started by a professional fisherman. I presume that you mean that the weight is either directly under the lip or behind it. The DT series by Rapala are weighted behind the lip slot. I have also seen baits that were weighted directly under the slot. Personally I don't care for this new way of weighting. Chest weighting is done differently and is an old tried and true metheod. The idea is to get the bait pointed downward while it is sitting still so that it digs at a steeper angle and reaches maximum depth faster. To do this right takes time and knowledge of the characteristics of the bait you are weighting. You don't want the bait to stand on its head or add too much weight where it will affect the action of the bait or cause it to sink. Even though baits are done this way, very few people REALLY know how to do this right. To do it right, it has to be done on a bait by bait basis. You will have to experiment and learn. The Z4 is a balsa bait. Balsa is very forgiving as far as weighting is concerned. There is probably a set ammount of weight that is put in each bait. Therefore, each bait will probably sit differently in the water. This is why some baits of the same type out perform others. I have never fished this bait so I really can't say that it is not done correctly. More than likely the weight is just epoxied in. I don't install my weight that way. But every bait that I have seen that is weighted is done that way except for the old Bagleys with the weight installed directly in the lip. Many of those don't sit properly. Plus the entire bait is too light.

4. Remember, the colder the water the denser it becomes. Some baits that work really well in the summer will slowly sink in cold water. Hardwood baits are the hardest to do.

Skeeter

#4 Tally

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 12:40 PM

Scoop- Read Skeeter's post again. He will get you going in the right direction. As far as weighting the bait: First you have to know what you want the bait to do, then you will have to water test, re-weight, water test until you get the bait to do what you want it to do. WATER TEMP does make a difference. I probably have somewhere around 7 hours of water testing in one style bait. Sounds like a bunch, but the bait now does what I wanted it to do and the action is good.
Good Luck
Tally

#5 scoop10

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 08:40 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

So Skeeter, when you mention "chest weighting," do you mean putting the weight into a hole above the belly hook with the eyescrew through it? If so, don't you need a pretty long eyescrew? I would think it has to be longer than the 3/4 inch eyescrews that I typically see.

I'm I thinking right here, in terms of what you are talking about, or am I completely not getting this?

#6 Skeeter

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 10:47 PM

scoop,

Normally you will put a weight right where the belly hook hanger goes. The chest weighting comes in between the belly hook hanger and the lip. Many drill an hole in the chest and place a weight in there and seal it in. Fritts started this whole thing for the public. However, hard core crankbait throwers here in the Piedmont have been doing it since the 80's. This is where David learned to do it. As far as I know a man by the name of Calvin Johnson came up with it for Bagley DBIIIs they were modifying. He is the one that taught me how to do this. His process is tedious. It really takes time to do the fist batch or so. I have even added steps to his process. But after you do enough it comes a little quicker. But it is still a bait by bait process. This is why I really don't care for mass produced baits that are done this way. However Rapala does make the best mass produced bodies that I have seen. They use a machine that is as big as a dumpster to cut their bodies from. It is an extremely accurate machine. Bagley and Poes are just all over the place. Their bodies are very inconsistant. Some are just a plain mess.

Hardwood baits are difficult to do. I sometimes takes just a little bit of lead to send them sinking to the bottom. Where most guys fail, especially with the Poes is that they chest weight the bait and then take it to the water. They crank it down 3 - 5 ft. and then watch the bait slowly float up. If that happens then they are convinced that they have it right. There are two problems here.... most don't have a clue to the proper angle that the bait should have sitting in the water. Second, what they don't understand is that as the bait goes deeper pressure is exerted on the outside of the bait just like it does on a submarine. It may slowly float up at 5ft. but actually slowly sink once the bait passes 15 ft. Since most cannot see what the bait is doing at 15ft. they think that they have it right. Water temp. can also play a big part in this process also. This is why many of these types of baits are done with balsa. Balsa is extremely forgiving. When I do hardwood baits with chest weighting, sometimes I have to readjust the weight that is used in the belly.

One of the biggest misunderstood phrases in crankbaits is the word "ballanced". Calvin and some of the other "old timers" here always threw the word at me but never would explain it. After 4 years I believe that I know the answer. It is not that you can ballance a bait on a pin head or something. Rather it is a bait that has a straight body and is evenly proportioned, all of the hardware lines up, and most of all has the right action when the bait is stopped. Take a DBIII and crank it down in a pool. Stop the bait and watch it. I will bet that the bait will spiral to the top. This is because the bait is too lightly weighted. Not that it won't catch fish.... because it will. But the bait can be made to perform much better. This is just a piece of the puzzle. It is all part of a long learned process. This is why baitmakers that really know their stuff charge allot of money for one of these baits. It takes allot of knowledge and time to make one that is perfect. I know of one baitmaker that will charge $50 for one of these lures. Personally it takes me between 5 and 10 hrs. to make one from start to finish. Everybody wants one. But when I give them a price they grab there chest. They want me to spend hours making their bait and then they expect to pay 6 bucks for the lure. I only know of about a half dozen people that can do this right. To find someone that really knows what they are doing is hard. To learn on your own takes allot of hours in the shop and on the water.
Skeeter

#7 ckarren

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 03:05 PM

Skeeter

When you start with a new bait, how do you establish how much lead to use as a starting point?

Thanks
-Corey

#8 Skeeter

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:35 PM

Corey,
It depends on the size of the lure and what it is made of. But to give you an idea I will start with about 1/8 oz. for a 400 Poes. I have my own way of doing this. But the standard way most use is to epoxy the lead in and then test it in the water. If there is too much lead then drill out some of the lead and repeat the process untill the bait sits the way you want it. Here is another tip. If you use Devcon, then you can mix paint in with it so that the hole does not show up so much. If you have a yellow bait, then add some yellow paint into the Devcon as you mix it and then place it in the hole. After you get this mixture in and leveled off then spin it kinda quickly for about 3 min. and it will level out pretty smooth. With some practice you will hardly be able to notice the hole.
Skeeter

#9 scoop10

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Posted 19 September 2004 - 10:39 AM

Skeeter,

I misspoke about the Z-4. The additional weight is in "the chest" as you describe, about halfway between the lip and the belly hook.

But I'm still confused about the actual weight under the belly hook for crankbaits. How much do you use here, for say, a Poes or one of those nice flatsided crankbaits in your pic? Are you attaching it simply by drilling a hole and running the eyescrew through it? And doesn't that take a pretty long eyescrew?

#10 CatchingConcepts

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Posted 19 September 2004 - 09:41 PM

I have worked with and hung around a few greats in crankbait design, and overall what I think they strive for most in balance is correct placement of the main fixed balast weight to provide correct attitude of lure in water as skeeter outined above and also the most important factor of balance is achieving perfect harmony with size of lip (surface being effected by force of lure diving), mass of lure (bouyancy) and placement of weight in body of lure to create optimum ocilation factor when pulled through the water and all that physics takes place.

The true masters of crankbait making know how to put a bait together and tweak these characteristics just enough to create a bait that not only dives and runs true with correct balance, but also displays an osilation factor that is most responsive to the fish (felt through their lateral line). Hot new baits sometimes (mostly by accident) strike apon a characteristic osilation or vibration that trigger more strikes, and old standbys drop by the way side because "the fish have seen that bait a lot" rather they have felt it, and are conditioned not to be as apt to strike it. Highly pressured lakes and tough conditions that the pro's face fishing tournaments usually is why you see them using unique handmades (secretly) or subtly modifying their sponsors lures.

Best and most fun thing about making and playing with cranks is experimentation. After truly thousands of prototypes and plaing with every other crankbait ever designed, I think I know a little, yet still find myself trying someting a little different (many times by accident) and going "cool!" it just happens that way.

As for cranks, below are some pics, I saw skeeter mention Calvin Johnson, so I dug through some boxes and found these in the first pic... Top bait is a Tapp? with unmarked lip off of a square lipped Poes, other two baits of unknow maker are of obvious same painter and have C Johnson engraved on Bagleys lip from '93 and '94 as seen in next pic, Last lure is definately a Perry's but also has the Bagleys lip and C Johnson signing. what can you tell me about these skeeter?

Other picture is some other unknown maker handmades.. The top Tapp? has a bagley lip but no engraving, the little white one says Sweet P on hand cut lip, Green barfish one has Manns lip, chart one has circuit board lip, other two have pressed out lips, but are not Perry style eyes or paint scheme. anyone id any of them?

#11 Skeeter

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 01:20 AM

Scoop,

From what you are telling me, the Z4 is weighted in the old style. If it is done right, then it should be a pretty good bait. I make my hook hangers by taking the lead and drilling a hole through the center of it. I take my wire and bend it in a U shape and run the two ends through the hole. I bend the wire over the end of the lead and then epoxy the weight in. Like I said before, it depends on the size of the bait and what it is made of that determines the amount of weight used under the hook hanger. If you will tell me the size of the lure and what it is made of then I can give you an amount of weight to start with.

CC,

The baits in the first picture are of the Tapp style. None of those baits to my knowledge is a true Tapp. It appears to me that you have a batch of baits that was actually made by Calvin. To my knowledge, this is rare. Calvins? thing for years has been modifying Bagley and Rapala balsa lures. His niche has been lips. He really likes to play with different lips in baits. He also likes to play with weights. If you would like, I can try and contact him and ask him about the baits. The signature on the lip in the other picture is the common style of signing baits in the Carolinas. However, many have adapted this style since. The Zoom baits are done this way also. I see the Perry bait that you are talking about. I have seen these baits before, but I am not familiar with the individual.
What can you tell me about him? The Sweet Pea that you are wondering about is a Zoom bait also. It is a balsa made lure. As far as I know, all Zoom WEC baits are balsa. You can see all of these baits at www.bubbajackstackle.com This is the only place that I know of were you can view all of the WEC baits.

Skeeter

#12 Skeeter

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 04:36 AM

CC,
I sent a copy of the pictures to Calvin along with your questions through email. I will let you know what he has to say.
Skeeter

#13 scoop10

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 01:37 PM

Skeeter,

about weight, how about a cedar bait the size of a Poes 400, and how about something the size of a Poes 300 and 400 in basswood?

BTW, thanks for your help and answering all these questions. I didn't know the WEC baits were Balsa until you mentioned it. Explains why, beyond the workmanship, that the Z-4 performs differently than the Poes. I bought two of the Z-4s a couple of months ago after fishing in an NBC tournament on Jordan which David Wright won with a Z-4. Been very pleased with one of the baits, catching a 4 and a 5 lber on Kerr the first time throwing it. I suppose I could cut it up and figure out some of its secrets, but I think that would kill me.

#14 Skeeter

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 11:36 PM

For a 400 out of white cedar I would try between 1/8 and 3/16 of an oz. For the 300 I would use 1/8oz. As far as cutting one up...... I would. If you really took your time you would have a profile to trace and have the exact weight ammount and placement. Since it is balsa... you could make these things all day long once you got the hang of it. Heck $18.00 for R&D is cheap. Heck..... send it to "Dr. Blackjack", he is the best autopsy guy in the business.
Skeeter

#15 blackjack

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 06:55 AM

Thanks Dr. Skeeter for the compliment. I have painted a bunch of those Z-3 and Z-4s They are sweet baits but as far as tinkering with them I have not torn one down ,. One thing I can say about Zoom Baits as far as carving, Zoom has spent a tremendous amount of money on research and development. He (Ed Chambers)has 50 or so drill presses with jigs set up for all of different drilling operations for all of the models he makes. His cutting machines are accurate within 1/1000th". I have heard people complain about the lips of his baits being off or falling out, or the finish not holding up but as far as I'm concerned for the price of his baits and the amount of fish I have caught on them I'll keep buying them. Alot easier for me to strip em down and paint them. Anyone willing to sacrifice one send on my way and I'll be more than happy to perform an exploratory procedure

#16 Skeeter

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:47 AM

Found another old post. Thought some of you might enjoy it.

 

Skeeter



#17 RayburnGuy

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:18 AM

Thanks Skeeter. Very informative.

 

Ben



#18 bassguy

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:52 AM

As my building progressed, I found that if once all my holes were drilled, lip slot cut and the bait carved, sanded to finished proportions. I would "load" the bait with hook hangers, lip, line tie and ballast weight, once that was done, I would place it in a pot of water and test it for "floatability" if you will. I would find, if I placed the correct amout of ballast in the bait, it would sit lip down below the surface and what I call "square to the water". Giving the bait this attitude, it would indeed dive right away and perform flawlessly. Once and a while a bait would list to one side or the other and I would drill a 3/16 hole and insert a small chunk of lead, tape over and check for attitude in the pot of water. When that was taken care of, I would epoxy paste the plug and go about assembling the bait for paint. After working on the bait for sometime, I did make a template with bill angles, hook hanger locations and a line tie location which allows me to make an exact copy of the bait before carving.

 

Jerry


Edited by bassguy, 03 September 2013 - 10:55 AM.


#19 littleriver

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 11:34 AM

@ Skeeter

 

Same here. Really enjoyed the read . Thank you for bringing it again. A couple of years ago I would have been scratching my head but after building a few I get some of what your sharing here. I will be putting this information to use on future builds. Thanks. 

 

I was thinking about the poe's bait that slowly rises at 5 ft. i believe at 10 or 15 feet that same bait is going to rise much faster. My question is do you have a way of gauging what a bait will do at deeper depths without actually seeing it? I have no access to a pool . I was thinking maybe  I could gauge the rise at shallower depths and try to calculate this into deeper depths. 


Edited by littleriver, 03 September 2013 - 11:35 AM.


#20 BobP

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 01:55 PM

Same here Skeeter.  It's very informative to read some past posts, even though I'm pretty sure I caught them back in 2004.  9-10 yrs of added experience throws a different light on a lot of stuff!