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Cthulhu

Hook Hangers In Balsa Punker And Delta Rat-style Balsa Baits

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I've been making and using my own versions of Jerry Rago's generic rats (I can't afford $35.00-$40.00 a pop for these baits) and I'm moving on to tackle the delta rat and lunker punker style baits since I desperately want to try these big spook-type lures.

To me (who comes from a fly tying background), these baits are patterns and we (the tyers or lure makers) should try to make the most durable and easy-to-build versions for our own use.

My question is, since I'll be using balsa instead of the heavier poplar that I used on the generic rats, should I use a wire form for the hook hangers?

Or can I use the long shafted, heavy-duty screw eyes that I used in the generic rats?

After looking throught the various discussions of balsa baits, I noticed that most people gearing towards pike and musky suggested wire hangers or twisted wire eyes. But with epoxy reinforcement in dense balsa, would the screw eyes be sufficient to handle double digit bass? (Yes, I'm being optimistic, but I live in Texas and fish lakes with healthy populations of "teen fish").

Thanks in advance ofr any and all suggestions.

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Adding to the above, I'm thinking of using pine for starters, since I have lots of it, and it's a bit stronger, but I'm not sure about the weighting of these baits.

I've read that the punker sits with the front 1/3 of it's body out of water, but nearly horizontal.

If anyone has any photos of how it sits in water, I would be most thankful!

(hint hint Mark Poulson, whose posts on making punker-style baits and others I find most enlightening!! :D )

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JMHO, if you're going after 'teeners', it should ideally be thru-wired. My backup to thru-wire would be using hand wound screw eyes of maximum length epoxied into maximum density balsa. As far as ballasting, it's impossible to determine how a bait made from a specific batch of wood will float unless you do a float test. It can tell you where and how much to ballast the bait, which makes the difference between a great bait and an 'also ran'. Test after the bait is waterproofed but not yet painted. Install all hardware and trebles. You can use pins/tape to move the ballast fore/aft. On most walking baits, the ballast needs to be behind the belly treble - typically about 2/3 of the distance from the nose toward the tail of the bait. At that position, you can adjust the weight so the lure sits in the water at any attitude and depth that you like.

Edited by BobP

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Many thanks for the insights BobP!

I usually tank-test my baits before doing final paint jobs, etc.

But my question about how a punker or delta rat sit in the water was so that I could determine what to look for as I add and adjust weight.

I know how a spook should sit, since I have many as models.

But I have never seen a delta rat or punker sit in the water, so I'm not sure how each should look when properly weighted.

If anyone would care to throw one in a fish tank and snap a photo, I'd be most happy!

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Many thanks for the insights BobP!

I usually tank-test my baits before doing final paint jobs, etc.

But my question about how a punker or delta rat sit in the water was so that I could determine what to look for as I add and adjust weight.

I know how a spook should sit, since I have many as models.

But I have never seen a delta rat or punker sit in the water, so I'm not sure how each should look when properly weighted.

If anyone would care to throw one in a fish tank and snap a photo, I'd be most happy!

I've made a couple of punkers, my wood of choice = Red mahogany. I got some for free, scrapped from my girl friends old bed frame. Its just right, light weight but hard. Weight them so that they float a little less than half way out of the water, nice and flat/level. Mine walk way better that the real injection molded ones from black dog. I use screw eyes with 2 ton on the threads, then again I haven't caught any teeners with them either.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

I love the idea of using an old bed frame!

Think I'll start with white pine and expoxied screw eyes and mess around with ballast as I go. I'll try to post pics when I get them done.

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