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The process of "ballast"-ing a crankbait.
3 replies to this topic
Posted 02 January 2008 - 01:49 PM
I am brand new to the world of making crankbaits, and am having a lot of fun airbrushing old baits and carving new baits from Balsa.
I notice a lot of talk about having to ballast a crankbait, but I have searched the forums several times and have not found any solid information on HOW TO ballast. Is there a good step by step "how to" avalible that I am not seeing??
What is ultimately achieved by ballasting the crankbait?
I thank you in advance. The forum has already provided me a lot of knowledge and I hope to be able to contribute back to the community as well.
Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:13 PM
Weighting a bait can provide a number of results. You may desire one or more of these results depending on the way you want the bait to run and how it will behave in the water during a pause in the retrieve process.
One thing weight can do is cause the bait to sit upright in the water. Hook weight often achieves this result, but sometimes the wood has different qualities and different grain characteristics that cause the bait to lean to one side or the other at rest, so weighting the bait can cause it to sort of center when at rest and place the lip in the proper position to make the bait dive at the start of the retrieve.
Weight can also help achieve neutral buoyancy which can make the bait hang in place during a pause in the retrieve process.
You might also want the bait to hang nose down or tail down during a pause to create the image of a baitfish feeding on the bottom or maybe it can look injured with a tail down attitude during the pause.
Weighting techniques are a matter of attaching the weight to the bait and testing it in water before actually inserting the wieght or weights into the bait. After a while, you can develop a "feel" for how much weight should be added with less testing than you might otherwise need.
All in all, for the baits you build, which will probably be different than those built by others, will be a matter of trial and error. But it isn't brain surgery either. Tape the weight to the bait and place it in water and observe. Or put pins in the bottom of the bait and attach the weights to the pins and observe.
Some guys drill holes in the bait in the approximate area they think its needs and they then pour hot lead into the hole. If they need to remove some, they simply take a drill and drill out some of the lead and test the bait again. I don't like the idea of messing with hot lead for obvious reasons, but I understand why some guys do. I prefer to buy Mojo sinkers in different sizes and drill holes to place the sinkers in the bait. You can use a variety of sinkers...split shots, barrel sinkers, etc.
I like to glue the weights into the hole to make sure that inertia doesn't cause them to detach from the bait whle fishing. After inserting the weights in the holes, you'll need to fill the hole with something. A lot of people use either Devcon 2 ton epoxy or epoxy putty (also called plumber's putty) which can be found in the plumbing department at most hardware stores or departments. Epoxy putty works great. It dries in about an hour and then you can sand off the excess easily with a rotary tool and some sand paper or just plain sand paper. You should probably wear disposable vinyl gloves when mixing the epoxy putty as it tends to stick to your fingers and its tough to remove afterward.
Epoxy putty comes in a roll like a giant Tootsie Roll. It has a light outer layer and a darker center. You simply cut off a piece and knead it with your fingers until its becomes all one color. You have about a 5 or 6 minute window in which to insert it in the hole and sort of flatten it to the contour of the bait. I usually leave a little excess to be sure I don't wind up with a concave depression when it hardens, although it does not shrink at all.
Hope that helps you get started.
Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:18 PM
Ballast on a CB is used to kept the bait upright in a swimming position opposed to laying on its side. Some cranks and TW's may not need any or very little depending on the type of wood used 9Balsa would need the most). The ballast or weight can vary in where to place it in the bait depending on the style of bait. (jointed / glider etc.) The amount of weight should be enough to get the lure to do what you want it to (slowly sink / suspend / high or low floater) . This is usually determined by adding hardware and hooks to your prototype and sealing bait then adding lead or solder to the belly hook to get your desired action then weigh the lead. You then must determine where on the bait to place it trying to keep it low of center. All these factors are what makes the baits action what you desire.
Hopefully this helps and I'm sure there can be more added to this post.
Posted 02 January 2008 - 11:44 PM
One more reason - castability. A balsa bait without ballast would cast about 10 feet. Certainly not something you'd want to try on a baitcaster.