KelpKritter

Tow Eye ?

25 posts in this topic

I have been working on some baits and am close to satisfied with a few but need some input on tow eyes.

One bait, a stick, has the eye coming out of the nose and is real clean and strong. I like this for this bait.

However, my shad type cranks are not as nice. One bait is completly through wired including the tow eye which comes out of the front of the body and then is bent up midway through the lip. I like the strength but it is not very clean. On another bait I have tried to simply fold back the tag ends on the tow eye under the bill and epoxy into a small groove made in the bill. This is very clean, like factory baits, but seems weak because of the small surface area. Factory baits have deep belly in the lip for a figure 8 type hanger which provides holding power.

What are your preferences or tricks to get a style that is strong and clean looking.

Thanks for the advice,

DaveB.

KelpKritter

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I modified a crankbait a while back..

cut off some of the bill to make it run shallower and added a tow eye further back on the bait.

All I did was use a paper clip bent in a "U" shape. Then drilled holes in the bill, inserted the paper clip tow eye, and bent the tag ends over 90*.

I thought it wouldn't hold up too good on a fatty.. that is.. until I landed my personal best 8lb bass on it..

BTW.. this is how I got started on making my own baits :wink::lol:

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TJ,

Is the bait in the photo the one you bent the tag ends back on? That bill looks like one I was describing with the deep belly that has the hanger imbedded in the the bill.

How much of a tag end do you find successful? I am working on deep diving cranks with large bills, 2"+.

BTW I am in Ontario and don't recognize that pond. I fish primarily saltwater bass but am known to hit Perris on occasion.

DaveB.

KelpKritter

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TJ,

Is the bait in the photo the one you bent the tag ends back on? That bill looks like one I was describing with the deep belly that has the hanger imbedded in the the bill.

How much of a tag end do you find successful? I am working on deep diving cranks with large bills, 2"+.

BTW I am in Ontario and don't recognize that pond. I fish primarily saltwater bass but am known to hit Perris on occasion.

DaveB.

KelpKritter

Yes. The photo does not show the tag ends. I will take another photo of that bait tonight from the bottom to show the tag ends. (ok, I'll take picture now :lol: ) I basically just slipped the U shaped paper clip through and bent the end over on the other side. Just as simple as it sounds. I didn't even glue them or anything. The holes I drilled for the paper clip were just barely smaller than the diameter of the wire. That way, I had to press fit the U shape in before bending the tag ends.

I realize you are trying to mount the eye on a thinner bill. I thought I would through this idea out there for you anyways in case you can gain something from it.

That lake WAS known as Anglers' Little Lake, in Hemet, Ca. (20 minutes east of lake perris). They just shut the place down due to eminent domain :(:mad::angry: . That was the best local bass fishery I have ever been to and now it's gone. I caught my first topwater fish there along with my 3 personal best bass. (two 8's and a 7)

Side view.. red dashes show wire routing

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Bottom view.. shows bent tag ends. Believe it or not, that paper clip held an 8lb who'm I reeled in from 50 yards out and jumped 5-6 times fighting VERY hard. Best fight of my life! After which, I decided to start making my own crankbaits!

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Edited by Tacklejunky

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You need to make sure the bill is secure in the bait. That is what is holding all the pressure from the fish. If the tag ends are folded back and inserted in the bill slot the line tie won't come out. Drill some holes in the back of the bill so you have some anchor points for the epoxy to grab. If it's done right, no way the bill pulls out of you bait.

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benton B,

I am not an expert, thus the question, but I have to disagree that all of the pressure is on on the bill itself. I am not at all worried about the lip coming out of the bait. If there is no pressure on the tow eye my question would be, why are so many baits of this nature designed with a tow eye that comes back into the bait itself? I have only experienced trouble trying to bend wire to make this connection. A simple U shaped eye pushed through the bill with the tag ends bent over is much easier and cleaner IMO, but it sure does not appear to be very strong. At least not placed in 1/16 lexan.

I appreciate the input and will continue to sample different ideas and approaches.

DaveB.

KelpKritter

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On baits with the line tie on the lip, I make a hand-wound screw eye, bend it 90 degrees, insert it and then crimp the long end over the back of the lip in a little slot I Dremel in there. For big deep divers where the tie is far out on the lip, I do the same but put some epoxy on the bottom of the lip along the length of the screw eye to make sure the line tie will stay solidly in place and the bait will stay in tune. I guess how you do it depends somewhat on the materials you're using. I mostly use soft temper stainless steel wire - it's just much easier to bend and shape so everything fits tight.

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When I use SS wire I do the same method as you making the U and bending the tags under the lip. Make sure that you insert the tag ends back into the lip slot. You're making a 90 degree bend in the wire under the lip and the tag ends are inserted in the lip slot, the pressure on the line tie is all on top of the 90 degree bend. The loop on top of the lip is the only part of the line tie that is getting pulled. The rest of the pressure is in the lip. You can also cut a slot in the back of the lip and fold the tags back over the lip. Insert the lip as normal, the only way the line tie comes loose is if the lip comes out.

I suck at explaining things, I hope this makes sense.

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@ Tacklejunky

Congrats for that big bass , very nice fish , indeed:)!

I like your idea about tuning that lure with a second eye .

@benton B and @ BobP ,

I made some detail pics of a lure , that I already posted into the gallery .

They show , how I rig the tow eye onto metal lips on my crankbaits .

In this case the eye is made of 1,5mm dia. SS welding wire , the lip is of 1,5mm aluminium(25,4mm equals 1") .

On that lure I caught my personal best pike so far some years ago , it scratched 47" .

After having boated that fish after a hard 12min(approx.) fight , I really expected the bait to have gotten out of tune , so I made a few test casts , to my surprise it tracked true as right from the start , also the fit of eye was as before;)!

To fix those tow eyes , I would drill two holes through the bill , exactly of wire diameter , take a piece of wire and grind a sharp point on either end(helps a lot to insert into holes) .

Then I bend it into "U"-shape , the two shanks should have slightly different lengths(also makes it easier to insert).

Now I enter the longer shank into one hole , since the hole is of same dia. as wire , I need to gently hammer the shank through the lip , for this operation I would lay the lip flush onto the two clamps of a slightly opened vise .

Then I'd also enter the second shank and carefully hammer onto the "U"-bend eye to put the eyelet into proper fit location .

This way I have achieved the possibly tightest fit without glue !

To secure eye I now fix the eye tightly into the vise(shanks upward) , lip flush against top of vise and bend the shanks sideward as shown .

Then cut off and hammer the tag ends as flush as possible against bottom side of lip .

I guess , with smaller lures and plastic lips one has to use thinner wire , maybe 1,0mm dia. , also there would be the danger of cracking up the lip , when employing previously described method , but when the wire is rigid enough , I don't think , that it would be neccessary to guide tag ends back through the lip . In fact this would probably hardly be possible with a rigid sort of wire .

Greetz , diemai

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diemai, the reason I fold the tag ends under the lip and insert in the slot is to add extra strength to the line tie. I like the way you did the line tie in the pics but I would not try that with the lighter materials that I'm using. I've also used the method that BobP uses and it's very strong also.

Edited by benton B

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My concern would be the bending at the lip root. Because of the slight angle of the diving lip, usually 10 - 20 degrees, this means that any load will try to straighten the lure. The well glued lip still provides a weak link.

There is an easy answer to all these "what if's" and that is testing. I have mentioned it before, tie the lure to a beam and suspend a large bucket from the tail and slowly fill with water. Test it and report back.

This is a great thread, particularly as I am currently trying to make a decision on hangers.

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Thank you everyone for your input.

I believe the misunderstanding in the early posts about tag ends was simply that, a misunderstanding. I was trying to achieve the use of a small amount of material for the tow eye, similar to a figure 8 hanger. The tag ends I was referring to were merely 1/8" long. I was trying to avoid having the wire extend into the lip slot.

I have had bass straighten factory hooks, thus I change all my baits out to xx or xxx hooks. If a bass can do that I am sure it could pull this very small tow eye. BTW I fish a buttoned drag because of the structure I fish in the local saltwater scene.

As I continue to experiment I will post results/ideas, but I agree this is a useful thread and a lot can be learned by it as the tow eye is a pretty critical link between you and your fish.

Thanks again,

DaveB.

KelpKritter

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Woo! Deimai! Look at that big ol fish! Congrats, caught on the home made lure too! :worship:

I have never fished pike or musky before. In fact I don't even know where I could fish for such a creature. They look like they have a big duck bill! :lol:

Very cool buddy. Thanks for the pictures and explination on how you built the tow eye. :wink:

Also, Vodkaman represents a very good idea to test lures.

I believe a gallon of water is something like 8lbs..

Edited by Tacklejunky

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Has anyone who runs the bent tag end back into the bait had trouble with tuning? I put a simple u-shaped hanger with bent tag ends into the lip only and the bait ran great. Did it again with a hanger turned back into the lip slot and the bait rolled and I could not get it tuned to run straight. With the second effort I could not get the wire to lay straight under the lip and am wondering if that may be causing the bait to roll.

DaveB.

KelpKritter

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TJ, one gallon of water weighs exactly 10 pounds, one litre of water weighs 1 kilogram. I love these coincidences, it is almost like it was designed that way!

Kelp', I cannot see the introduction of wires on the rear of the lip causing your roll problem, Just my opinion. But, every time I build a new lure, I learn a bit more. So much to learn, every time I think I am getting close to understanding lipped lures, I get slapped down with a new problem that then has to be solved and explained. A lot of the technical stuff I wrote a year ago could probably do with re-visiting. If you solve your roll problem, post the solution so we can all learn a little more.

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@ Vodkaman

You are right to say , that the kink in the aluminium lip of my lure is a weak point , and it would certainly have the tendency of straightening out under tension .

As I wrote , I expected the lure to be out of tune , too , but this did not happen .

I thing , that the rod , with it's "springy "features , feathers down a lot of the pull strength of a fish , so not the full force of it has to be managed by the lures hardware and lips .

I have some American musky videos , I noticed , that the guys shown there , just crank in even the biggest fish , they use quite strong , rigid and stiffish rods and a thick line .

OK , I haven't ever fished for musky before , but it seems to me , that over here in Europe we employ lighter tackle even for the biggest pike , and we also don't crank in the fish like in the video , would not be possible with the lighter rods and line , anyway .

So we have to play the fish for quite a while , to get it tired and weak , so that we can land it .

Because of this playing not so much tension would be put onto the lure , that's what I mean to tell !

For this American way the lures have to be stronger made , I see to that !

A friend of a friend recently caught a 5 feet 4" catfish(silure) in Spain on one of my lures made the same way , like the one pictured below(but with 2mm thick aluminium lip) , no problems occured with the lips , the lure was not even thru-wired , but rigged with sort of cotter pins as hookhangers .

Greetz , diemai

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Here are some pics of two lures of the "Mann's" line(one a special edition of a German angling magazine) .

These sport a loose line tie , only secured by a splitring . When I got the first one of these , I've first thought , that they forgot to glue in the tow eye , for I haven't seen such a rig before:huh: :whistle:!

But it works fine , the lures always track true , I suppose , that the folks at "Mann's" must have used the most rigid SS wire , so that the eye won't deform under higher tension .

I haven't tried to employ this rig on my homemades yet , for some reason I don't trust on it . Not in terms of its stability to hold a bigger fish , but I just think , that the lip angle and symmetry have to be extraordinary accurate for it to perform well , only a mold-made lure can provide these features for 100% !

Also considered about cutting the tow eye from sheet metal , maybe 1mm thick brass or SS sheet . It should be in a rough "T"-shape , but the edges of the two bars of that "T" have to be filed to a half-round shape where they engage into the bottom of the groove at underside of lip .

This is essential for proper function , so that the eye could swing left/right without binding , just like it does on those "Mann's" wire eyelets .

Just thought , this might be of interrest here:wink: !

Greetz , diemai

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...

There is an easy answer to all these "what if's" and that is testing. ...

Test it and report back.

...

I agree with Vodkaman. Test it under the conditions you use your lures, and see what happens. Adjust until you get what you want. These "short" hangers have been used by luremakers around the world for some time, for some tough fish, so they must be acceptable at a certain level.

Good luck, and let us know what you learn!

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Kelp, if that bait is rolling and can't be tuned to run straight then something is way off. Line tie may be off center, lip is crooked, balast weight off center, but the tag ends going back into the bait should not be causing a problem. I drill a hole in the bait under the lip slot so the tag ends sit lower than the lip, that way the tag ends don't cause the lip to sit crooked. I use a piece of lip material in the lip slot to keep the hole flush to the lip slot.

The line ties on the Man. baits are molded into the lip. I don't know of any way for a hobby guy to do that.

Edited by benton B

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I am trying to quote from multiple responses and am having trouble. Can someone point me in the right direction? Helpful information here as I ponder my next move.

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Sagacious, thanks for the PM. A US gallon is of course around 8lbs, as Tacklejunky correctly informed us, a fact that completely eluded me. This also explained why a gallon of beer didn't do the job I was expecting on my last trip to the states. I blamed the beer! Sorry.

Diemai, I agree, the damping effect of the rod and the elasticity in the line, greatly reduces the load on the eye.

The highest load that a lure is going to take, is when a lure gets irretrievably snagged up and the angler attempts to break the line. The line, rated at say 10lbs may take several pounds more to break. If the line failed at less than 10lbs imagine the complaints! But should we have to design for such abuse? In my opinion, YES. If for no other reason than, if you hook into the 'monster of a lifetime', you don't want to spoil the moment by having to worry whether the lure is going to hold up. Better safe than sobbing uncontrollably in front of the kids.

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@ Vodkaman

I hear your concerns about that kinked aluminium lip . I got this design from a Swedish book about crankbait making , that came out in German language a couple of years ago .

The author Hans Nordin seems to be quite famous in Sweden , he even has his own TV shows about fishing over there .

He stated in that book , that after some thousands of pike he never had failures with his lures made like that , and I really have the impression , that he knows , what he is talking about !

Nevertheless , I see point in your statement about getting snagged up , I just don't hope for it , but in one way you made me eager to find out , wether this construction would withstand this abuse as well:wink: !

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It wasn't so much the lip, but the body. Don't get me wrong, this bending is probably not significant enough, but it is there. It was on my mind because I dropped one of my bodies on to a tile floor and it snapped along the line of the lip slot. This is not relevant to this discussion as the fault was the very brittle polyester resin. I was thinking more of balsa bodies under bending, but I have never heard of a failure such as this.

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