Mr. Wessels

*NEW* Topwater Concept

14 posts in this topic

Hello TU,

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. B) 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 pop 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.

-Christopher Wessels

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

Flounder Concept #2.jpg

Flounder Concept #1.jpg

2745_thumb.attach

2747_thumb.attach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this project is excellent. A lot of lures are described as 'wounded fish' immitations, but none really catch the action right.

The wounded fish that I have seen, swim on the side, struggling to get vertical. This is exactly what you are talking about.

I have a lip that will swim the bait on its side. PM me with a brief description of the general body shape and length and I will e-mail you a PDF of the lip, ready for printing out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris- great idea, this could take a while there are so many parameters here, anyway you have me (and Dave) thinking.

For what it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This kind of problem resolution approach is always interesting to watch and see ideas embrace and attack the problem towards a common goal and the informal group dynamics that developed. Wow, I'm just happy these discussions are taking place from across the world and not some hidden tavern's back room on a napkin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can see the ballast in this bait. The weight is low and back. The advantage to a wooden bait is being able to center the weight better. You could move the belly weight up in the body to make it less stable, and the tail weight to help it turn faster. These things can't be done with a plastic bait because so much weight is around the outside of the air pocket. If you remove too much weight from the tail your bait will be very difficult to cast. I think the soft tail would make it even tougher to cast. The feathered hook might be another thing to try when testing.

I thing you have a very good idea in the works. The lower front and low line tie would make a good jumper but I think you might need the center of mass sitting just below water level in a few test just to see what it would do.

Another thought is the lipped version might cast better.

1487080_i-564094?layer=comp&wid=500&hei=500&fmt=jpeg&qlt=100,0&op_sharpen=0&resMode=trilin&op_usm=1.0,1.0,0.0,0&iccEmbed=0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nice ideas here... one thing though, like PBalsa said, i doubt the center of mass will be able to remain above the water line. more than likely, the lure will correct itself and turn upside down from how u want it. placing the centroid just below the water line may still give u that instability u r looking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent responses! Thanks!

I've been thinking harder about the weighting of this thing and I've sketched some more ideas to share.

Hazmail, I love your idea of using a "reverse" lip; this design is perhaps more true to the concept of a crankbait running upside down. I think I would move the lip down on the bait - along with the water line - because the lure would need to sit higher in the water in order for it to have that tip-over instability at rest. Naturally, this idea begs further discussion.

For the time being, however, I want to follow-up on the lipless configuration. As you mentioned, hazmail, this design might tend to "continually drive [...] up and out of the water and probably plane"; but I think I've developed a conceptual weighting scheme that will at least keep the tail section down during a moderate cadence (unless I want the lure to jump out of the water, which a hard jerk could accomplish).

My plan is to use balsa, because it is extremely buoyant; I need the lure to sit high in the water.

Attached you will find my simplistic shape and weighting scheme. You can see that I've come up with something that is almost like a lipless crankbait that's been tangled on the front hook. If the scheme works, then the lure should behave as follows:

Behavior: At "rest," the lure sits tipped to one side. As I pull on the line tie with moderate force, the lure comes up out of the water until the "tie" is just above the water line. The symmetrical "planar" face of the head causes the lure to "right" itself as it is coming up out of the water such that momentarily, at the "crux" of its climb, the lure sits directly vertical (i.e., no tipping - see FRONT VIEWs on sketch). You can see that at this point the lure will simply flop over from instability at low speeds (and angular momentum from its upward sweep will ensure that it flops to the other side as opposed to the same one). Against greater forces (harder rod jerk), the line tie will actually come out of the water, which will exaggerate the "flop-over" motion, causing the lure to dart harder left or right (zig-zag/spook?). With enough force, you could jump this thing out of the water completely.

How To: The sketch illustrates how I might weight the bait to accomplish this action.

Roughly, I would add weight to three places:

*Dorsal Weight

*Belly Weight

*Tail Weight

The Tail Weight:

As you can see from the "LURE AT CRUX" view in my sketch, I need to have enough weight in the tail section to keep the base submerged as the line tie approaches the water line. If I opt for the soft tail, I would need to add salt to it! But the tail weight is important for another reason; it serves as a kind of anchor or pivot point. Imagine you have a marble connected by two strings. One string is fixed to an anchor ("tail weight"), the other string is in your hand. Now, what happens to the marble when you yank on the string? Well, that's basically how the lure's head will behave (although more controlled). But the anchor can't be too heavy, because you want it to be able to move (pop out of the water) with a hard enough twitch (launch!).

The Belly Weight: The purpose here is to distribute the weight so the lure sits more "horizontally" in the water at rest, and to add weight so the lure doesn't pop up flat on its side like a lily pad (as I discussed in my first post). I probably wouldn't lump this weight all in one place, but I would distribute it in such a way that its position is mostly "neutral" when the tie is level with the water line (see sketch). This way, it will not significantly affect the "marble-and-tether" behavior described above.

The Dorsal Weight: Mostly needed to help shift the center of mass above the line of symmetry for that proverbial instability. To maximize instability, I want to place the weight such that it sits as high as possible when the line-tie makes it to the surface during a pull (maximize "h"; see sketch). You can see from my sketch at the "CRUX" that I "h" is greatest when the dorsal weight is placed in the front half of the lure (but not directly at the highest point of the lure's back).

Of course, this design requires a lot of fine-tuning and actual tinkering; but at least now I have a rough idea of how to approach placing weights to achieve the desired action.

Feel free to mark-up my sketches as did hazmail.

-Christopher

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

Flounder - Weighting.jpg

2751_thumb.attach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PBalsa and Chartreuse,

I think you've raised an excellent concern.

I've thought about this problem and I think that the design could still work if I am careful to observe a particular constraint...

In order for the bait to keep from "keeling-over" completely, a particular condition must be satisfied: the buoyancy force acting at the center of mass must overcome the torque acting in this same spot.

I apologize for getting technical, but I don't know any other way of explaining it. You can follow along using my attached sketch.

If the condition defined below is satisfied, the buoyancy force will prevent the lure from rolling any further towards the horizontal water line, suspending the center of mass and the "tilt axis" at some angle > zero.

Necessary Constraint: Fb >= r X mg

Where Fb = buoyancy force

r = distance from pivot to center of mass (pivot = intersection of tilt axis with water line)

m = mass of lure

g = acceleration due to gravity

For modeling purposes, let's assume the volume of water displaced by the lure is fixed (and therefore, Fb is a constant). In this case, I can help satisfy the above constraint in two basic ways (to reduce the right side of the equation):

*reduce overall weight of lure

*move the center of mass in towards pivot (decrease "r")

Of course, I could incorporate some combination of both solutions.

Hmmm...lots and lots of tinkering. That's my prediction!

-Christopher

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

File0032.jpg

2754_thumb.attach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can hear Vodkaman in Malaysia, shuffling through his manuals and papers , even from here. pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

th_P1010200.jpg

My out look on this is it would need to be a hinged bait. That way it would always swim away from you. The line tie off would need to be in a consistant pull point. making it from wire and cutting a grove in the side of the bait to limit the movement of the joint and the pull point will be on the side. The lead weight will be moveable for instability with two holes drilled on an angle A v shape. A pop can covering the side for the weight to get as close to the side as possible and adds a rattle. When the bait stops in the water the weight will shift to one side making it bend and swim away from you. The bend in the lure with the line tie being low it will flip out of the water when pulled. If you put the line tie on the nose with out the v it and not keeping the line tie low it will most likely slide on the water. The lead ball needs to be heavy Enough to put most the lure under water for the jump and skip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the original thoughts on this one.

Just for kicks. Would you try to remove the bottom hook from a Rat-L-Trap and put it on the back, where the line tie is. Then tie on where the bottom hook was. Lets see if that will make it jump and flop. I bet if you used a floating Trap it would be near what you are looking for. Might need to leave off the hook on the back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now