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Shad Style Baits

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#1 out2llunge


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Posted 01 January 2004 - 02:19 PM

I'm looking for some design tips on shad style baits. I know many of the bass boys make shad style bodies and I'm hoping to learn from you guys. The difference is that I want to "muskie size" the bodies - like 8 - 14" not including the lip. I've made a few, they work well, but take a long time to make and are difficult to make symmetrical. Anyway, here's a few questions:

1. How do you determine where to place your ballast? How much ballast vs. body weight is appropriate? I'll be using cedar not balsa so I'll have to make adjustments.

2. What lip angle has proven to provide maximum depth while retaining good action, especially at maximum speed of retrieve/troll? They must still work at 5mph+

3. Are there any routers, shapers, other tools that you use? If not, how do you keep your baits symmetrical?

4. Are there any other tricks that you're willing to share that would make construction easier?

Many thanks,


#2 Skeeter


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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:54 PM

What a mouthfull!!! But I will give it a try.

1. 8 to 14 inches???? Are you after fish or Godzilla? Hardwood such as cedar is harder to do than balsa as far as weighting. Balsa is much more forgiving. But I would say starting around 1/4 to 3/8 oz worm weight to start with. I would make the bait, drill a 1/4 inch hole right where you want the hook hanger on the belly. This is where I would start as a plce to put your weight. Put the weight up in the bait point first, and just kind of wedge it in the hole untill it sticks up in there. It is OK to let the lead hang out of the bottom of the hole. Set the lip in the lure, (you don't have to glue it in... just set it in the slot) and put it in some water that will be about the same temp as the water you are going to fish it in and get it to where the water line is about 2/3 to 3/4 up the side of the bait with the tip of the lip under water so that it will start to dig as soon as you move the lure. You want the bait to rise. So push the sucker under the water and check to make sure that it will rise at a medium rate. Once you paint it, clearcoat it and put hardware on it the rise will slow up a little. Cold water is denser than hot water. Therefore, the colder the water the slower the rise. You can make a lure that rises at a medium rate in say 70 deg. water and then throw that same bait in 40 deg. water and it will slowly sink. If you have any more questions about this or I really didn't explain it enough, send me some email and I will try to help you more.

2. Lip angle will not effect how deep the lure will go. Length of the lip will. Ballpark you will get about 10ft. of depth for every inch of lip from the nose of the lure. Lip angle will affect the wiggle of the lure and how fast the lure will obtain maximum depth. A lip that comes straight out from the nose of the lure will obtain maximum depth quicker. But the wiggle will be tight. More angle will give more wiggle and the lure will take longer to obtain maximum depth because the dive plane is shallower.

3. There are some extremely expensive shapers that will cut them. I think Red's Duplicator may cut them. I would check with him. If not you keep your baits symmetrical with your eyes. If you have any questions on how to rough cut them I can help you. But for the finished body, it just takes practice. If you have some balsa, I would try a body or two with it. It will make the learning much easier untill you get the hang of it.

4. Someone else may have some tricks but I sure don't. Round bodies (as I call them) just take practice to get them right. Use your dremel to get the bodies in rough shape after you have rough cut the body out. I use fine sandpaper on the sanding drum. Take your time and work slowly. You can burn a body up real fast with the dremel. Learn to look at the body from all angles to make sure that the body is straight. The tail is usually the pain. You will learn how to eyeball them quicker the more you do.


#3 musky1



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Posted 03 January 2004 - 10:44 AM

Here's what worked for me. I bought a Legend Plow and made a design similar. I am using cedar also. They have router bits of all sizes to rout your baits to your needs. I put the Plow in the water to see how it floats and weighted my lures accordingly. When using cedar you need to add more weight than you think. My deep diving lure is 10" long not including the lip and I use about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of melted poured lead. You can get away with a lot less lead if your using maple but no matter what I do I have problems with my clear coat cracking. I keep the angle of the lip the same as the Plow. With this type of lure I/m able to get speeds of at least 5mph or more. Are You using through wire construction? I feel through wire is the only way to go. All of my lures are through wire construction. I t takes much longer to make but it is while worth it.

#4 out2llunge


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Posted 03 January 2004 - 11:04 AM

Thanks for the info guys! I've been making shad style baits for a little while now, but I wanted to get the opinions of those who who make them for bass - it allows me to think outside the box and get viewpoints I wouldn't normally think of.

I've been doing very similar steps to what's been described, just looking for more tips.