Matt Moreau

Weighting question on Hard Swimbaits...

22 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I have been reading a bunch of great debates by Vodkaman and many others on line tie positions, weighting issues and balance points. But I am still confused as I am a Lehman and these debates are a little over my head....

Now for my first baits I thought I would put as little weight as possible and as close to the balance point that I could. This has proved difficult and I could not achieve the desired effect. For my jointed baits this meant that no weight was inserted in the tail or tail and mid section. This in turn caused the bait to float awkwardly and swim erratically. Then I began to drill out the weights and weighted each section individually so it floated properly. I now use tiny splitshot stung the entire length of the bottom thus resulting in a realistic floating/deadsticking action. But like mentioned in the debates I think it is cutting down on the action.

Being a Lehman and very new to this I was just wondering if anyone is willing to share how they go about weighting a jointed lure.

I want to make a sinking jointed bait that is non lipped and I need the sections to be weighted I think, but I want as much action as I can get because I will have no lip. Any and all advice is appreciated. In addition, any advice on making this bait is appreciated.

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LKN. Do not worry about those heavy debates, they are definately not essential reading for making lures. It's just a few of us trying to work out exactly what is happening when a lipped bait swims.

As for your problem, I have very little experience with jointed lures. The few that I made had a lip shape at the front. Many of the lipless swim baits shown on this site have regular fish shaped noses and still have action.

on the baits that I made, the ballast was about 2/3 back along the front segment, with no ballast in any of the other segments (6 segments in all). It swam very nicely, with a well defines 'S' motion. When static, it lay in the water tail up, but once moving, it straightens out.

Unless someone jumps in here and gives you the answer and assuming you have done the relevant searches on TU to find the information, you will probably have to find the answer yourself. This will be done by trial and error, I prefer to call in prototyping.

You need to make a couple of baits that are not going to be taken to completion, sealed but no finish. Attach hardware, as this affects action. Try the weights in different locations, either drill it in or attach it externally, I usually use superglue.

Experiment with the tow eye location. Try positioning further back along the head. When making this proto bait, fit three or four eyes for the test. Alternatively, a small rubber band can be used to hold the line back, representing a new eye position (tip from a TU post). The new eye position may remove the necessity to make the lure a sinker by giving it some dive angle.

If all else fails, before you throw it in the bin, try carving a flat area on the front top and repeat the eye position tests.

I hope that one of the swim bait guys jumps in here and gives you some advice born from solid experience, but the above ideas will get you closer to what you are looking for. Let us know how you get on.

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Ya i have about 4-5 baits right now that are thrown in the "bin".... I am going to use these for testing as the action SUCKS!!! :cry: They are just the first baits of a bunch to come and like you all said the first ones are never too good. I have produced 2 decent baits that made it to paint. One i am applying the clear(2 TON) on tonight. I will try to take pics but i am embarrassed when compared to you guys.

BUT, the lure i am talking about in my previous post is suppossed to be a wake bait and i want it to sit in the water perfectly because most of the time it is going to be just sitting there "Deadsticking". Thus i am a little hesitent to drill out any weight. I would like to try some other options first. The Head has a good "Wobble(Think tis is the right term)" but the mid section and tail do not follow and just go straight. I think it does have a twitch in it though as every 5 cycles it goes off course or twitches not quit hunts. I have tried many different bills and many different bill locations to no avail. I will try some more eyelet position next. If anyone has anymore suggestions i would appreciate them.

I wonder if i flatten out the nose to give it more deflection if that would help. I doubt it as the problem lies in the mid and tail sections. I assume you are right about the weight Vodkaman so would you have any ideas how they do this on production baits? I just dont know how you get a true balanced vertical fall if you cannot weight the sections.

BTW Vodkaman... Thanks for all the great reading. Even though i have to read each article 10 times and still may not fully understand i still appreciate them.

And thanks to everyone on TU... You guys are great!!! :worship:

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I have some that work with weight in one section, two sections and all three sections. The thing I had problem with was they would swim perfectly smooth and then you would get a weird dart in the action for some reason. I never did figure out if this was a result of how they were weighted or a hitch in the hinge mechanism.

I also found that some shapes just wouldn't swim very well for some reason while others built in the same way but with a slight variation in shape swam great. I think the shape of the head on the lure has alot to do with how well the lure ultimately swims.

You might try making the nose of the lure slightly pointed like a Triple Trout and put weight in just the head first. If you must add weight again add it to the middle so that the tails remains light and thus more easily moved one side to the other.

More than anything it will just take some experimentation. It can be done, I have built several that swam perfectly.

Here is a video clip of one with a bill: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Fk-_jqTTU7s

Here is a video clip of one without a bill:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=K1BsiM3tABA

Jed V.

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Yes, i have seen your videos was very impressed. GREAT JOB!

But, will your lures sit perfectly verticle in the water while not moving? That is the problem i am having if i do not weight each section. In addition i found if i only weight the head then the mid and tail section want to float and the action is thrown off and it tends to swim on its side... like when you have a mis aligned lure. Maybe it is the wood i am using. I have tried Poplar and cherry so far. Just got some Basswood to try.

After reading some more of Vodkamans posts and thinking about Subs i have concluded that my nose is too pointed and will not carry the vorticie on to my lure as i would like. I think i will flatten out the nose... then change the eye position if that doesnt work and if oth of those fail then i will start at the back and drill out my weights 1 by 1.

Please any suggestions would be appreciated!

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The lures in the video were made from poplar. One was made from 3/4" thick wood and the other from 1" thick. If your lure is sitting on it's side or wanting to come through the water side ways you need to add weight to the belly. Unless of course you have a bill on the lure, then it could be other problems.

Not sure what you mean about sitting "vertical"......to me that means head at the surface and the tail underwater. I design my swimbaits to sit horitontally in the water, that is the tail and head are level with one another.

If I wanted the lure to work at or near the surface I would build it with a steep angle short bill and weight the lure so that about 1/3 of the lure is above the water when at rest. I have, however, built a swimbait that sits at the surface without a bill too and it worked great.

If I were building a swimbait that sinks I would build it so that it sinks just fast enough to where it doesn't want to come to the surface while being retrieved......maybe a foot per second or slower. Again look at the triple trout, great swimmer and a simple design.

My advice would be to not try and reinvent the wheel, work on proven concepts and build your personality into them.

RM

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Yes i have aout 5 tripple trouts and i love them. I didnt want to copy anything but it looks as though i might have to go that route to figure this out.

You are right though... I meant Horizontally so that the dorsal fin points to the sky..... but how do you acheive this without weighting the back portions of your baits? I guess i am just missing something! maybe if i do not weight it in the mid and tail the final coat of devcon and paint will pull it down so that is sits horizontally. Man all these failures sure make me respect the h3ll outta you guys. Thanks for the patience and help!

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If you only weight the head the weight of the hooks on the mid and tail sections will probably be enough to make the lure sit properly in the water. If not, add a small bit of weight at the belly of each section, it's not a big deal. Drill a hole in the center of the wood with a forstner bit and melt lead into the hole. You can buy pencil lead and then hold it over the hole and melt it with a propane torch. Be very careful with lead and water, it pops and snaps when the two connect! Wear safety goggles. Be careful!!!

Do you want the lure to sink or to float?

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I am trying to make a wake bait now and when i figured it out i was going to move to a sinking NON lipped model. The problem is that my tail section doesnt have a hook to keep it down. Maybe i should think about adding one as the ballast.

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LKN4, be careful. Like I said in my reply, you need to listen to experience rather than theorists. Regarding the nose shape, i would try out what riverman suggests first. By all means try both if you have a couple of scrap pieces to experiment with. Once you have changed the head shape, you will still have to mess about with the other parameters with the new head. The swimming action that you are looking for is provided by a particular combination of all the variables, eye position, ballast position, head shape etc.

It struck me as strange that you have good head movement but the tail segments do not follow the head. The wiggle or side to side rotation is centered at or close to the ballast location. So, if the ballast was too close to the joint then the head would be moving and the hinge a very small width. Example, pinch a pencil between finger and thumb, half about inch from the pointy end. Now 'wiggle' or rotate the pencil sideways. The eraser end has avery wide movement but the point hardly moves.

If this is the case, move the ballast towards the centre of the front section. Try different positions.I understand that you want it to lie flat when stationary. If you can solve the transmittion of the action to the tail sections and maximise the power of the action, then this would allow you more lee way in applying ballast to the rear sections without completely killing the action.

You have to solve one problem at a time, also change one variable at a time, otherwise, you will never know which adjustment worked. You will then have to repeat both adjustments, one at a time, to find out what the answer was, or face the same dilema on the next bait.

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Set your lure up on the table in front if you and lay the hooks out where they make the most sense. If the tail section doesn't make sense for a hook then don't put one there. If the tail wants to turn while on top of the water then add a few drops of lead into the belly of it, this will keep it oriented properly. If you use hinges on the tail section, however, it probably won't be necessary because the hinges won't let it turn sideways.

One thing about a wake bait is the weighting has to be perfect. You might get it perfect and then find that the clear coat changes everything. I built one cool swimbait without a bill that wakes perfectly but it was by accident....it's shaped somewhat like the Triple trout but the tail is narrower. Water in the bait while testing can change things in a big way. Use a sealer on the wood first like polycrylic before dropping it into the water for testing.

Don't let all I am telling you discourage you, it's not difficult it's just takes some time.

RM

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One thing that I have found problematic with the wake baits when deadsticking is if you don't weight each segment and you pause on the retrieve, the bait will try to fold up and cant over towards its side. That is the biggest problem I have have encountered in weighting. It is especially problematic on baits that are relatively thin and deep from belly to back. The more bulbous baits aren't so bad.

TJ

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First off THANK YOU for the help everyone. I trully appreciate it and would not be attemping this without YOU and TU...:yay:

Vodkaman, your post opened my eyes and really drove home the point you made in another post about an unweighted stick is much easier to "WIGGLE" in the water than a stick weighted at the ends. You are absolutley right that i need to start taking one step, ok one baby step, at a time. My problem is that Im a "do'er"... That is, when i get a new camera i take it out of the box and push everything else to the side because i like to touch and feel my way through it. On the other side you have the person that wants to read the directions cover to cover and in every language.

But anyway, i took the bait and just started comparing differences to other jointed swimbaits. What i found is exactly what I think you are saying with the pencil analogy. The head of my bait is too small in comparison to the length. I took out my micrometer and and tested a tripple trout and found the percentages of their segments. Then i tested mine and it is wayoff. That coupled with the fact that i weighted the bait from nose to stern really hurt my action. This is all just a theory though vodka(hehe). I really screwed up the nose last night and it is completly sanded down now and has a huge L shaped notch cut out. I think it is beyond repair but i would likt to keep tinkering with it. What would you guys suggest? Start fresh or try to repair with some kind of filler?

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Wood filler - I use Elmer's water based Indoor/Outdoor on hardwood. If it's a HUGE void, you'll need to build it up with a couple of coats. First rule: everything you do to it changes a bait's performance in some way, no exceptions. Second rule: do whatcha gotta do to make the bait fishable. The worst that can happen is you mess it up beyond repair or so badly that you can't fish the bait with confidence. The silver lining is you'll learn something you'll need for the next bait.

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You can use Bondo to repair or fill wood baits. We use it all the time in residential const., to fix exterior wood work.

Just try to be symetrical with your fillers. Different woods have different specific gravities (weight), and the Bondo won't match the wood the bait is made of. Another thing I used to use when building model airplanes years ago was micro balls and Zap glue (super glue), which I got from a hobby store. It was super light and strong. Not sure if it's still available, but it was sure helpful in making fairings and gussets that were really light.

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Man if only there was a simple question to this answer! LOL!

From what I have learned from my baits is that more weight in the head makes the head stay more stationary. This is good if you immitating trout or bluegill. Mainly the tail is what propels them, so it should look like that when they swim.

Being that I want the head still, I want the tail to whip back and forth. I use less weight in the back ends of the bait. Think of like a 3:2:1 ratio. Most weight in the head, less in the middle, and then the least amount in the tail. This way the head will stay still, the middle will start to kick, and then the tail will be mobile. Of course there are some variations to this though too, but JMO....

A good way to simply test weight positioning is to just glue it directly onto the wood and give it a test. This should give you a good idea of how it will swim when you put the weights insides the bait. Then, just rip the weights off, drill your holes and insert your weights...

Good luck and really just keep with it. My first swimbaits looked more like a fish having a seizure than a fluid motion.

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One question I have on weighting swimbaits is how does weight placement in any given segment affect movement? In other words, should the weight be placed towards the forward end of the segment, middle, or tail end of the segment to get the most action of any given segment? My gut says the forward end so as to have the least amount of negative affect on the action but I'm not sure. Does that make any sense? LOL!

TJ

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LKN. Congratulations on a fine looking bait and it swims too.

So how did you distribute the ballast in the end to achieve the swim?

Have the bass had a chance to check it out yet?

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No i have only thrown it in a pool as the epoxy wasnt cured on saturday. I have a tournament this Sat coming up and i might try it for a bit there.

But as for the Ballast..... I dont have a scale so all this was trial and error... but i would say that 50% of the total ballast went on the head as close to the rear hinge as i could make it. in the mid section i put 30% as close to the front hinge as i could. and the tail got 20% as close to the front hinge... It falls perfectally horizontall with a wobble much like a senko or stick bait. But i do need a little more weight in the nose because on a mid to fast retreive it comes up too fast. on a real slow retrieve it will stay about 5ft down. I will try to take a video on thursday as i have school on tue and wed. tonight is homework night!

So here is a simple fishy...the left is the nose under i have the ballast locations;

<:::::-:::-:::><

....*^.^...^*....

^ = ballast

* = Hooks

I am going to try another replica only because i want to move the weight in the head all the way forward. I think this will keep it stationary and only the mid and tail will move. Right now it swims with a "S" motion and Wobbles a bit (I like it).

When i measured the model to be copied it had dimensions like this(if i remember correctly)... Head was about 43% total length, Mid was about 24% and the tail was about 33%.

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