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Joe

crank bait bills

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Hi Guys, I have just completed my first crank bait of seven I have started. I installed the bill just as Coley and Skeeter had instructed. The lure really looks great, but the real test will come when I try it in the pool. I have cut out all the lip slots before carving the baits, so I know the slots and angles are all the same. What I'm not sure of is the placement of the bill in the slot in the final assembly of the lure. The bill looks good as far as being straight in the slot. My question is, how exact does the bill placement have to be? I know we want it as straight as we can get it, but are their any little tricks to help out with this or is it enough to center the bill by eye only? Once the bill is attached, is their any way the lure can be tuned if it does not run correctly? Thanks, Joe

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In my experience it has been essential to get the lip as centered as possible. Mind you, I'm making BIG muskie baits that need to run at 5+ mph. I use a scale graduated in 32nds of an inch. I move the lip back and forth and then crazy glue when it is centered. The bait is then lake tested to meet my 5+ mph specs and if it passes the lip is epoxied in place.

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I line mine up by eye. I cut my slots very close. There is little or no room for adjustment after the lip is in the slot except for side to side. That is why you cut the slot while the wood is still square and flat before you cut the body out. Flat crankbaits are fairly easy. Round crankbaits can be a real pain. Doing a round bait by hand and keeping everything straight and lined up takes real skill and practice. What I try to do is keep everything in line. The rear hook hanger, the belly hook hanger and the wire for the line tie all in a straight line when looking from the back of the lure down the belly to the line tie. This will show if you have everything centered right or if the body of the lure is truely straight. You can't always hit it perfectly, but this is what I strive for. Just because you have a lip and a line tie installed does not mean that the bait will work or that the bait will perform to its full potential. The size and design of the lip, the angle of the lip, and the placement of the line tie all have an effect of how the bait will run. What type of bait are you making, and what type of lip do you have to install?

Skeeter

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Hi Guys, Thanks for the info. Skeeter, the crankbaits I'm making are flat. The baits are 3 inches long, 1 1/4 in. tall and 3/8 in. wide. The bill is from Barlows and is 7/8 in. long and 3/4 in. wide. The bill has round edges and the line tie is attached to the bill. I was told that this set up would allow the bait to run 3 to 5 feet deep. The bill slot is 15 degrees. Does this sound right to you? I have completed three of seven baits at this time, but due to family activities over the weekend, I have not had a chance to try them in the water. The bait is carved from Spanish Cedar and weighted with 3/16 oz. weight. At rest , with 2 - #4 hooks, the bait rides with about 3/8 in. above waters surface. Thanks for your help. Joe

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Joe,

Sounds like you have about everything right to me. The only thing that I would change right off would be to make your bodies 1/2 inch wide instead of 3/8. It will give your baits more bouancy. This is real important for hardwood cranks. Your weight seems good. As a starter, you will get about 10 ft. of depth for every inch of lip from the nose of the bait. I would just make one bait and then try your lip and see how it goes. Adding the 15 deg. angle will cause the bait to achieve its maximum depth slower. The bait will dive at a shallower angle. This should also make the bait have a pretty strong wobble. If your lip slot is 3/8 ths deep then you will have 1/2 inch of the lip out in front of the nose. The lure will probably run about 5ft. It should have a pretty strong wobble to it. Since the line tie is already installed into the lip then the only way you can adjust the line tie placemant, if your have to, is to cut off material from the back of the lip including the wire. Or increase the depth of the slot. I would just put one of the lips in the way it is and then give it a test. This is just one of the painful things about making crankbaits. If the wobble is too wide, my suggestion would be to put the lip comming straight out of the lure. The best way to increase wobble is to increase the angle of the lip. Decreasing the angle decreases the wobble. 3/4 is a pretty wide lip. However, the size of your lure will take it. The round lip will give it a wider wobble than a coffin style lip. Let me know how the first one goes. And I should be able to help you adjust from what you tell me.

Skeeter

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Skeeter, Thanks for all your help. On my next batch of baits, I will do as you said and increase the width to 1/2 in. You mentioned 10 ft. of depth for every in. of bill from the nose of the bait out. Is this when the bill comes straight out the front with no angle? Last night I tried the completed crank in the pool. As you said it would , the bait had a very wide wobble. It really looked good. My pool is 4 ft. deep and 24 ft. long. Starting a retreive from one side and using a med. speed, the lure dives about 2 1/2 ft. With a longer cast, It looks like you should be right on with your 5 ft. depth prediction. If I increase the width as you recomend, should I go to a larger bill, or will the one I'm using now be ok? Thanks, Joe

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Skeeter, One more question. As I mentioned, I'm using 2 - # 4 hooks. Would The action be better if I were to use a # 6 on the rear of the bait? Thanks, Joe

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Piddler, the crankbait bills I have, came either from Jans Net Craft or Barlows. I order from both and I can't remember from wich they came. Joe

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Joe,

With the lip at an angle you may loose about 6 inches or less in depth rather than having the lip come straight out of the nose. But this depth loss will be on a really long cast. It really won't make that much difference loosing 6 inches of depth on a 50ft. cast. With the lip at an angle the lure will dive to its maximum depth at a shallower angle. This just means that it will take longer to reach maximum depth. This is not a problem. On a bank with a moderate slope this is good. Casting in a pool will not give you the true running depth of your lure, but you can definitely see the action and the properties of how the bait behaves. I did the same thing in my pool this past summer. I did a ton of testing and probably learned more about my baits from the pool studies than anything else. If you are happy with the way the bait is running, then I wouldn't change a thing. If the 3/8ths width is working for you then just leave it. If you do go to a 1/2 inch wide body then the same lip will do just fine. You do not need to change it. I am glad the bait turned out well for you. If I can help you in any way, just ask.

Skeeter

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