Swimbait Action Help
15 replies to this topic
Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:29 PM
First off: Great site!!!! It inspired me to take lure making to the next level!
So on to business... I decided to try making a swimbait and my 1st attempt with playing around with this has got me stumped. The lure I'm testing with is approximately 5" and has 4 parts including the tail. Initially, the overall action was horrible due to the amount of friction between the screw eyes and the wood. This seems to be much better after widening the slot and adding some plastic washers to reduce the friction. Now, the action while swimming (constant retrieve) is awesome! The action while moving really slow or twitching is a joke. It stays curved to one side or the other unless I do a constant retrieve or a really good twitch at which point it just goes to the other side. Since it happens on both sides equally, I'm assuming it's not a balance issue but could be wrong. I have searched the site but wasn't able to find an answer. If I overlooked something already here, please just point me in the right direction. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
A couple notes on the pic: The pins are small nails used just for testing so they are visible at the top of the bait. The tape is holding a weight to help with bouyancy and balance which seem fine. To the bottom right of the tape was a small sliver of wood which got stuck to the tape during the pic taking, it wasn't there during any testing.
Still a friction issue? (there is plastic above and below screw eye, above very thin and not visible in pic)
Segment sizes not correct?
The tape for the weight?
P1050012.JPG 82.09KB 154 downloads
Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:35 PM
One more thing: Is the plastic the right way to go as far as the friction is concerned? Is this not necessary after coating/sealing the lure?
Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:58 PM
Welcome to TU.
You have done a great job getting a swimbait to swim first time.
The twitch effect is correct. The bait swings 90 degrees one side or the other, depending on the start orientation. Even when you stop towing the lure, it will tend to swing out.
Try it without the washers, they may not be necessary, but I know others use beads and such.
Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:34 PM
i recently read a post and i cant remember who it was from (ive read so many lately), but he said that if a swimbait comes out to not swim as it should, a "fix all" is to add a bill. if you r not interested in adding a bill them the only advise i can give is try sanding the sharp corners a lil on the back side of the first piece, just infront of the first hinge. im no hydro-dynamics expert (if there is such a thing) but it might be cutting back on the flow of water around the segments when the bait is retrieved/twitched at slow speeds.
but thats jus my opinion.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:35 AM
I have one right now that I am working on that does the same thing. I will figure it out but it takes experimentation..............I would start with your joints, bevel the edges on all the pieces to make sure they move very smoothly. Next change where the weights are at...........try weight in all sections or in just the front two sections. If it still doesn't work, you might have to change woods, sometimes a weight change in the material will make a big difference. Finally, you can change the size of the sections...............you just have to experiment and pay attention, eventually you will find the sweet spot. It takes time..........
Edited by RiverMan, 06 January 2010 - 01:36 AM.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:04 AM
Good info everyone, TY! I think I figured out my problem. When I widened the slots to add plastic washers, it increased the amount of vertical movement allowed in the rear sections. This caused the screw eyes to catch the corners of the washers I added. Yes, the washers are square because I had to make them from scraps laying around. I'll trim the corners and be more precise on the size of the slot in the future. Thanks again everyone!
Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:55 AM
Unlike everyone else, I missed the point of your problem, but glad that you found a solution.
For future builds, consider what Riverman stated about weighting the individual segments and at the same time, do not stray too far from neutral buoyancy. The reasons for this is that each unweighted segment is trying to lie flat on the surface. This is causing the segments to want to twist and add friction to the joint. Also, your lure will have a nose down attitude at rest. If each segment is weighted close to neutral buoyancy, this gives close to zero friction/interference at the hinges, a horizontal attitude and therefore the smoothest action.
These are only suggestions to consider for the future. But if your lure swims and behaves like you want, then why change it.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:23 AM
That's good stuff Dave and your neutral buoyacy discussion makes alot of sense. Oddly enough though, I have some swimbaits that swim by far the best when no weight is added to the back two sections. I have always thought this was because the additional weight slowed the back end of the lure thus reducing action.............but that's just my "non-engineer" brain thinking. I weighted the lure I am working on now in all sections but the tail and it works great at medium to fast but won't do anything at a slow speed. I have found it difficult to get a lure that sinks good but also swims at slow speeds.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:32 AM
Agreed, it does make sense. When I put the lure into water without a weight, it immediately went sideways even with a good size treble attached. I didn't think about the effect on the rear sections though. Looks like I get to play in the bathtub some more.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:23 AM
Riverman, nothing wrong with your thinking about the inertia problem, killing the action. Somewhere between the two ideas there will be a compromise. That sweet spot that you mentioned earlier is probably a lot to do with this compromise.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:43 PM
I have always had a strong interest in knowing why things work and because of this I enjoy your comments regarding the physics and math of lure-building. Nevertheless, my experience over the years is that much of lure building is not a paper exercise but instead a process of trail and error. Swimbaits in particular have so many variables, friction at the joints, weight of the body material, lure height, width, shape of the head, number of joints, joint design, hook placement, size of hooks, etc., that predicting what they will do on paper is very difficult. Most lures I can get "close" at the first attempt but almost always I have to do some tweeking and repeated testing to really get them working good and often the necessary changes are something I would never have expected. I really enjoy your comments though Dave and I find many of them useful and applicable to lure building. I particularly liked your comment on this thread concerning neutral buoyancy..........this makes alot of sense.
Edited by RiverMan, 06 January 2010 - 12:49 PM.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:42 PM
In case I have never said it before I love this site. Y'all are awsome. Keith that is a good lookin bait. I have been using 1/8 inch plexiglass for my tails and have are hard time cutting them symetrical. Any tips? Different material? Anyways you might want to try adding more screw eyes per joint. The more spread out the better. That should help with future binding problems.
Posted 07 January 2010 - 05:28 AM
Gadawgs, I draw a pattern on the computer. I'm sure one of the standard MS programs will allow this. I then spray glue the printed pattern onto the acrylic. Leave the backing paper on, it is easier to peel off later. Rough cut and remel to the line.
If you are hand drawing the pattern, fold the paper in half, draw a half pattern, cut out and unfold.
Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:57 AM
For the tails, I used one of the plastic dividers from a tackle box. It's seems durable enough but can be cut with a good pair of scissirs. To keep it symmetrical, I used a similar approach to Vodkaman. I downloaded an image of a manufactered swimbait and then printed the size I wanted and traced it with a pencil. Lots of good images of swimbaits here: http://www.tacklewar.../swimbaits.html
The size of the bait is why I went with a single screw eye for each joint. I just figured using 2 would make it tough to work with. I'm sure I will play around with 2 at some point after I get better at doing this.
Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:47 PM
I've found that, with the four piece swimbaits I make, the joints have to be loose enough that the lure will form a complete U when held by the head, facing down.
I typically use two screw eyes per joint, to prevent binding, and make sure the last/tail joint is looser than the others.
I add ballast as needed, starting from the head and working back, but I never put any in the last section, even on fast sink lures. If I can manage it, I only add ballast to the first two sections. A buoyant tail section insures free action at all speeds, and keeps the bait oriented on the fall.
When I used weighted hook hangers, there was already 3 grams of weight in the third section automatically, and those lures swam fine. Now, I only add weight to the third section if I absolutely have to.
Be sure you sand and seal your lures well before testing, especially in the joints, which need to be totally free swinging. You don't want friction from rough joint surfaces clouding the action of the bait, and giving you a false feedback.
I have also used Plano dividers for tails, and they work great, especially on smaller baits that are meant to swim at moderate to fast speeds.
Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:59 PM
I made some swimbaits and at 1rst I connect the tail part also for the looks, but the action dissapointed me so I left the tail part away and the action was much better.
The swimbaits I made are 3 pieces and put the lead ind the middle of each joint and the action is super.
So if you want to trie the bait without the tail.