I recently finished making my first glide bait for bass. While testing it, I found that it zig-zagged with such a profound sweeping motion that half the time its hooks tangled up with my line. Certainly, this result frustrated me; and yet, watching that "fouled" lure flutter around at the surface as I hustled it in got me thinking...
The behavior reminded me of a response I sometimes get from lipless crankbaits when they foul in my line because I am trying to burn/skip them. In such situations, the baits flop all over the place - sometimes popping straight up out of the water if they're tangled just right. I remember thinking that a bass might be attracted to such a desperate display, but you don't want a bass to strike a fouled bait because the line could snap clean on a barb. So, I posed this question:
"How might I design a bait to imitate this behavior while running properly?" Now, I would like to present TU with this same question, along with a preliminary concept to help jumpstart the discussion.
The Effect: A) Design a lure to flop around on its sides at the surface like a dying fish trying to "right" itself. This lure should also be able to jump clean out of the water like a fish in a skirmish.
The Design: I believe shape and weight distribution are the keys to achieving the desired effect. I've scanned a few sketches to help demonstrate my approach. One part theory. One part implementation.
First, the theory:
*In order for the lure to tilt/lean to one side or the other at rest, the center of mass must lie above the water line (instability is key). By intuition, I think the center of mass should also be located forward, in the "head" half of the bait (to serve as a kind of reverse ballast against the shape of the head - see next bullet point).
*In order for the lure to be able to "rocket" out of the water, the shape of the head should be like that of a diving crankbait set upside down. To take full advantage of the leverage from this tapered head, I should position the line tie far down towards the belly (this is where my design starts looking unique, see sketch).
Next, implementation: In order to position the center of mass as needed for instability, I might start with a basic perch or bluegill shape; these fish are thin and wide (think "skipping stone"; see proportions on sketch). Then, I would shape the cross-section such that looks like the hull of a ship (imagine a speedboat that is so light that it tips over to one side at rest; the volume of material above water exceeds that below). Lastly, I might add some weight to the belly, and some to the dorsal half (but I won't need to add too much dorsally if I shape it right). The belly ballast is important because it serves as a counterweight to ensure that the lure rests in the water at an angle and not completely flat like a lily pad. I can adjust the angle phi (see sketch) using weights: reduce phi by adding more dorsal weight and increase phi by adding more belly weight. In general, some amount of weight is needed to make sure that at least 1/3 of the lure stays submerged for needed resistance against the tapered head during jerks.
I would need to experiment with the angle of the head and the position of the line tie; but, from the looks of my sketches, I think this thing would Plaster of Paris right up if I gave it a quick tug. And, as long as the center of mass is not biased towards one side of the bait (looking top-down), then a milder tug on the line should cause the bait to flop from side to side...and maybe even zig-zag like a Spook.
Final Considerations: This design may have size limitations. I think a smaller (i.e., bass) bait would work best because the light weight would help it "jump" or skip more easily. I also think adding a soft tail to the bait could be a good idea; this would help promote instability while adding to the appeal of its fluttering motion. I've presented a design that does not involve a clear lip; but I wouldn't rule out this possibility.
Of course, I haven't refined many details at this point, and I haven't yet started a prototype. Nevertheless, I wanted to share my conceptual approach to this challenge and open it up to you all to see what you do with it. Vodkaman, I've read many of your posts and have no doubt you could add something valuable.