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Fishwhittler

Non-fixed Weighting System For Wooden And Pvc Cranks

6 posts in this topic

Well, I think I came up with a way to put a moveable-ballast system in custom crankbaits.

I started by cutting a crankbait body in half lengthwise.

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I then ground out a space for the belly ballast weight. I made this quite a bit larger than the ballast because I didn't have a bit that was the same size as the ballast I used. I originally intended to merely have the weight on the inside of the bait so I didn't have to fill in the ballast hole on the outside of the bait, but when I saw the weight sitting in the hole and rattling around I decided to just leave it as it was. This serves two purposes: first, the ballast can move laterally, and so I think the action will be somewhat livelier. I'm not sure exactly what the difference will be yet, but I'll be testing it to see how it works. Second, the weight acts as a "one-knock" rattle. This isn't important, but it comes as a nice extra.

This pic shows the ballast chamber. Disregard the small rattles; I removed them because the epoxy I used to reassemble the lure stuck them together, so I pulled the lure apart and removed the rattles before the epoxy set up.

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Once the lure was back in one piece, I carved it to the shape you see below.

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In the pic above it's stuck together and ready for testing. Once I've made sure I've got enough ballast, I'll epoxy it together and paint it.

Next I want to make a half-size version (this one is 3" long without the bill) and a larger Punker-style lure.

What do you think?

Ben

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On plastic baits, a movable ballast system can have several functions. It shifts weight to the tail during the cast to improve distance and keep the bait from cartwheeling. When the bait lands and the retrieve begins, the weight shifts forward and down to the belly to stabilize the swim action. Lastly, the loose ballast provides a rattle and the small sideways shifts in weight may alter the swim action in a way the designer wants. Not many guys build wood baits with weight shifting ballast because it's hard to do. Wood baits have hardware that intrudes farther into the body than plastic ones and it gets in the way of large ballast chambers. And it's all too easy to get a ballast stuck when you glue the bait back together. Bottom line, try it - see how it casts and swims. The bass will certainly tell you how good a design it is.

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The only motion allowed by the system I used is from side to side, so it doesn't help the casting distance much. If I can get some round weights, I want to look into making more complex weighting. Then I'd be able to make lures with a lengthwise weight-transfer, so I could increase casting performance.

I don't think I'd want to try this in a wooden lure. The hardware installation is more difficult than in PVC lures, and if the lure started absorbing water it could swell and lock the weight in place.

I tested this lure this afternoon, and it swims very well. It has what I'd classify as a medium-tight action. Now I need to make some fixed-weight lures in the same style to compare the actions and see if there's any difference.

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If you embed a section of plastic drinking straw with the rattle balls inside, and the ends sealed, you can achieve a clean, glue-free rattle chamber. And if you cant/angle it so it runs "up" from the belly toward the tail, the rattles will move back toward the tail on the cast, and roll back down to the belly during the retrieve.

You can do the same thing with glass worm rattles, but they don't have enough weight in them to assist in the cast.

And, if you're using wood, you can use gorilla glue for laminating the lure halves together. It's lighter and cheaper than epoxy.

I don't know if it will work with resin.

Edited by mark poulson

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I finished the crankbait and posted it in the gallery. What do you think of it?

Mark Poulson, that sounds like a very good idea. Right now I'm using egg sinkers rather than lead balls for ballast, so I don't think it would work very well considering the shape of the sinkers. I'm going to try to get some round weights so I can do something like that.

I'll be doing more experimenting with this weighting system to see just what I can do with it. Thanks for your input!

Ben

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I finished the crankbait and posted it in the gallery. What do you think of it?

Mark Poulson, that sounds like a very good idea. Right now I'm using egg sinkers rather than lead balls for ballast, so I don't think it would work very well considering the shape of the sinkers. I'm going to try to get some round weights so I can do something like that.

I'll be doing more experimenting with this weighting system to see just what I can do with it. Thanks for your input!

Ben

Ben,

I typically use either sst ball bearings or BBs for my rattles. Or glass worm rattles.

I want the louder rattle that the harder metal makes.

Edited by mark poulson

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