mark poulson

Replacing Dt 16 Bill

19 posts in this topic

Well, another Rapala bill broke. I didn't hit the rocks with it, I did slap some grass off it, but nothing major.

I've got a regular collection now, and they are all the DT16's.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one with this problem.

What do you guys use as replacement bills for these?

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Well, another Rapala bill broke. I didn't hit the rocks with it, I did slap some grass off it, but nothing major.

I've got a regular collection now, and they are all the DT16's.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one with this problem.

What do you guys use as replacement bills for these?

Mark, if there is enough of a stub to get hold of with pliers just twist it back and forth a few times and it should pull straight out. Rapala lips are weak and they just use a hot glue to hold them in place. Inside the bait the lip is a 1/4" diameter post and on most it will pull straight out.

Once the lip is puled out I epoxy in a 1/4" dowell and recut the slot so you can install a real lip, like Rapala should have used. If they had extended the wire line tie back into the bait they could be nearly bulletproof.

When the DT series was introduced I bought 4, liked the action and finish but broke all 4 in the first hour of fishing. 2 of them were broken off on bass, they swam off with the bait but they did leave me with the lip.

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Well, another Rapala bill broke. I didn't hit the rocks with it, I did slap some grass off it, but nothing major.

I've got a regular collection now, and they are all the DT16's.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one with this problem.

What do you guys use as replacement bills for these?

i just started using crankbaits and have yet to have this problem, but from watching countless bait making videos it seems that Lexan plastic seems to be a preferred choice and you shoudl be able to get it at homedepot or lowes. and depending how think you get it you coul dleave as is, or shape it to how you want.

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Player's choice on the lip material - polycarbonate or circuit board. I like circuit board just to have something "different". The main problem with re-lipping is the ragged oversize slot that is left after you pull/drill/cut out the old lip. For me, the best/fastest fix has been to fill the slot with the epoxy putty used for furniture repair and then push in the new lip while the putty is still soft. The excess squeezes out the sides and can be removed, and you can use the excess putty to repair any damaged areas of the lip slot. Epoxy putty will hold the new lip very securely and it has a density that is close to wood.

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Thanks for the quick replies.

I'll probably go with Lexan, and epoxy putty. Home Depot is just around the corner.

I've been putting off replacing the broken bills on the other Rapalas. I just tossed those cranks into a corner of my garage, awaiting further action.

Guess I'll have to dig them out now and try to repair them all.

Did I mention how :pissed: I am at Rapala?

Edited by mark poulson

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Thanks for the quick replies.

I'll probably go with Lexan, and epoxy putty. Home Depot is just around the corner.

I've been putting off replacing the broken bills on the other Rapalas. I just tossed those cranks into a corner of my garage, awaiting further action.

Guess I'll have to dig them out now and try to repair them all.

Did I mention how :pissed: I am at Rapala?

NAH, your not upset now. When you have a good bass almost to the boat, knowing this is the tournament winner, and it swims off with your bait and you have to weigh in the lip. Now your upset!

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NAH, your not upset now. When you have a good bass almost to the boat, knowing this is the tournament winner, and it swims off with your bait and you have to weigh in the lip. Now your upset!

Hey Whittler, is there a length limit on lips in the tournaments your fishing? :D

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Hey Whittler, is there a length limit on lips in the tournaments your fishing? :D

Since it is a cheap piece of plastic, NOT Lexan as Rapala says, there are no restrictions. I tried to tell them " but a few minutes ago there was a 4lb. bass on this thing", no mercy at all.

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DT's have a nice enough factory finish that guys forget they are balsa and treat them like they were plastic. I remember a complaint by a bass guide on another site about the durability of a popular balsa crankbait, which he and his clients were destroying by the dozens during a season on Lake Guntersville. All it took to fix his problem was to remind him DON"T SLAP BALSA BAITS ON THE WATER TO CLEAR WEEDS. It boils down to whether you would rather fish a fragile balsa or a more durable plastic DT. Personally, I'm happy to stick with balsa regardless of its handling limitations. JMHO, some of the DT baits are terrific bass lures sold for a fraction of what a similar custom crankbait would cost. There are plastic knock-offs of the DT-16 if you want to go the other way.

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If your just trying to replace the bill on a wooden bait and not refinish the whole bait this won't work, but if you plan on refinishing a wooden bait with a broken lip this worked well for me. Easier than anything else I've tried. I soaked the bait in acetone and it not only loosened the paint, but the lip as well. After removing the paint I just let it soak in the acetone for about an hour and when I came back the lip was fairly soft and was much easier to dig out without destroying the lip slot. If you have a Dremel with a cutoff blade just cut down into the middle of the broken lip and what is left will peel away from the wood with a little prying from a hobby knife. Hope this helps some of you.

Ben

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DT's have a nice enough factory finish that guys forget they are balsa and treat them like they were plastic. I remember a complaint by a bass guide on another site about the durability of a popular balsa crankbait, which he and his clients were destroying by the dozens during a season on Lake Guntersville. All it took to fix his problem was to remind him DON"T SLAP BALSA BAITS ON THE WATER TO CLEAR WEEDS. It boils down to whether you would rather fish a fragile balsa or a more durable plastic DT. Personally, I'm happy to stick with balsa regardless of its handling limitations. JMHO, some of the DT baits are terrific bass lures sold for a fraction of what a similar custom crankbait would cost. There are plastic knock-offs of the DT-16 if you want to go the other way.

Bob,

I agree that DTs catch fish, and are a good buy. That's why I continue to fish them, even though they are fragile.

I seem to have more failures in cold weather.

I admit that when I am wearing gloves, I tend to be lazy and slap weeds off. Getting them off without getting a treble stuck in the glove is a challenge.

But I've had a DT16's bill break on the second cast with a new lure, no slapping having taken place. All I did was cast it across some rip rap, and bring it back slowly, digging and bouncing off the rocks.

I'm just curious, since it seems it's only balsa baits whose bills break, is it that they use different bills in the balsa baits?

All of my bills break at the line tie, straight across side to side. Is there something Rapala does after the bill is installed that makes this area weak, like using some kind of RF glue setting equipment that heats the line tie wire and makes it expand, weakening the bill at that point?

I am truly puzzled. And it's only Rapalas that break.

Ben,

I haven't tackled the broken bill removal yet. I'll keep your method in mind when I do.

Edited by mark poulson

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Bob,

I agree that DTs catch fish, and are a good buy. That's why I continue to fish them, even though they are fragile.

I seem to have more failures in cold weather.

I admit that when I am wearing gloves, I tend to be lazy and slap weeds off. Getting them off without getting a treble stuck in the glove is a challenge.

But I've had a DT16's bill break on the second cast with a new lure, no slapping having taken place. All I did was cast it across some rip rap, and bring it back slowly, digging and bouncing off the rocks.

I'm just curious, since it seems it's only balsa baits whose bills break, is it that they use different bills in the balsa baits?

All of my bills break at the line tie, straight across side to side. Is there something Rapala does after the bill is installed that makes this area weak, like using some kind of RF glue setting equipment that heats the line tie wire and makes it expand, weakening the bill at that point?

I am truly puzzled. And it's only Rapalas that break.

Ben,

I haven't tackled the broken bill removal yet. I'll keep your method in mind when I do.

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If Rapala would have just extended the wire tie back into the bait it would have greatly increased it's strength. Their lips are more plexiglas than "Lexan" yet another reason for breakage, especially in cold water. They are a beautiful baits with great action, just a poorly designed cheap lip. A properly designed bait with a correctly made lip, circuit board or Lexan, is about as bulletproof as you can get in any material including balsa.

I always have a few baits at the tackle shows I attend which I have cut in half to show exactly how they are made. These will usually end any confusion about why Rapala Dt lips fail and that Bagley baits are through wired, as a lot of folks think. Guys, don't run out and cut open a bait to look for through wired construction, just use an ohmnmeter.

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Guys, don't run out and cut open a bait to look for through wired construction, just use an ohmnmeter.

That's a great idea Whittler. Never would have thought of doing that. Thanks.

Ben

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Yeah, I didn't mean to imply it's perfectly acceptable for Rapala DT lips to break so easily and I hope they address the problem. The last time I went to a fishing expo, a guy told me that he had 6 broken DT's and asked whether I could repair them. I declined because I don't think any crankbait is the same as the original after you fix it. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but rarely the same. A guy could probably advertise as a DT repair man and stay busy :rolleyes: . Problem is, the fix would cost more than a new Rapala. I have 10-12 DT's and haven't broken any yet. Must not be fishing them hard enough!

Edited by BobP

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The thing that annoys me the most is that the bills have broken on the lures that worked the best! :lol: Figures.

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The thing that annoys me the most is that the bills have broken on the lures that worked the best! :lol: Figures.

Mark, might I refer you to my signature. #234 of Murphy's Law, anything that doesn't work he doesn't mess with.

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Mark, might I refer you to my signature. #234 of Murphy's Law, anything that doesn't work he doesn't mess with.

:lol::lol::lol:

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I replaced one of the broken DT16 bills with one I made from 1/8" lexan, and anchored with D2T epoxy.

It feels very solid.

I traced the original bill, cut it out on the bandsaw, shaped it with the occilating belt sander, and also used the sander to thin the leading edge.

I use sst welding wire for the line tie. This was my first time putting a line tie in a bill, and I used the dowel hole from the original bill to anchor the wire back into the bait.

All of the ideas came from here, so thank you all.

I just finished it, so I don't know how it swims yet. I'm taking it out Thursday for a test drive.

I posted pictures in the hardbaits gallery.

I checked some new DT16s that I have, and they also have strange looking clouding around the line ties.

I suspect whatever process they use to either manuf. the bills themselves, or to anchor them, heats the metal line tie, and results in stress in the plastic bill, since that's the point where they all break.

Is it designed obsolescence, or just arrogance, that keeps Rapala from correcting this obvious defect?

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