Firechief

Design Flaw Or What?

19 posts in this topic

I have recently tested my first crankbait. I was pleased in one sense and not so much in another. Here's why!

Lure: Basswood

Size: 3.5

Total Wt. 10g

Bib: Lexan (square)

Action: fairly tight at normal retrieve

Dive Depth 4-6 ft

I like the lure's action at normal to slow retrieve. When I burn the lure it tends to list to port a great deal. Its not totally sideways but comes back at a 45dg angle Maybe this is a normal reaction for this bait. Its built kinda like the Bandit 200.

I used the "Dunk Test" to determine ballast.

The bait sits with nose / bill in water but the rest of the bait is out. I wiould say about just past the line tie.

Does not ride too high in the water at rest.

The line tie is very close to the bib

The lip is square as I can get it using a laser light

No swivel or clip was used to tie the line

Any suggestions welcome

Chief

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Chief,

Is the line tie in the nose of the bait or in the lip?Your lip or your line tie is in crooked ..bend your line tie the opposite direction slightly until your bait runs straight..Nathan

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Line tie is in the nose.

Will check as suggested.

Very excited about the first one ya know

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Got it now

Still cant just zoom it back without some flopping around but I am satisfied.

Thanks for the info

Might post a pic after I get it painted ... maybe

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How did you cut the slot for the lip and what did you use to cut it? Was it cut with a band saw while the blank was still square? If a band saw was used did you check to make sure the saw was setup properly and the blade was square with the table? To be able to burn a lure back everything has to be close to perfect. A little adjustment can be made to the line tie if the bait is running off to one side or the other, but it sounds like what your describing is that it can wander off to either side. If that is what's happening you may have a bait that is trying to "hunt". The hunting action usually comes from a bait that is right on the edge of instability. It will go off track and then recover for a bit before going off track again. This is the holy grail of lure building. The erratic action is what's supposed to make fish bite this type of bait better. Some builders say they can build baits that hunt, and I have no reason to doubt them, and then there are builders like me who only get a bait to hunt by getting lucky.

My suggestion would be to take a really good look at the bait from every angle. See if the lip sticks out a little farther on one side of the body or if it may be a little out of square. Is the leading edge perfectly square if it's a square bill? Is the body symmetrical? Is the bait running off to one side and then the other or is the body rolling from side to side? Different problems require different solutions.

good luck,

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

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Thanks RaybornGuy

I have checked the angles and symetry of the lip and it seems to be ok as far as my eyes can tell. I am going to re-align the laser lite to cross check what I have done already

I did adjust the tie line and it runs much better now. It still wants to just "flip" to the left but it recovers quickly.

The hardest thing for me to do is the alignment of the lip. I use a center line on top and the sides and a small laser lite that I shoot right down the middle of the back until it runs the center line of the lip (assuming the lip is square).

I cut the bait and the lip with a band saw before I sanded it out to final form. I have made adjustments to the top and lower blocks as well as to the track of the blade on the wheels. I also checked the back bearings top and bottom. Blade tension was set according to manfg. I also checked the table for square to the blade.

I think that I should double check to make sure the ballast hole is centered top to bottom. The first bits I used were not very good bits and had some run out. I solved that issue with some quality brad point bits and lowered my drill speed. I also made a jig to hold my bait so the drill would be as square as possible. Also checked the quill for wobble. In fact all I did yesterday was checked out machines and alignments.

I can fish the lure for sure with no problem at nornmal retrieve. I just wanted it to be as perfect as I could get it. I tend to "fiddle around" with getting everything perfect while messing things up in the process. I was told that even a few store bought lures can flip and slide around at different speeds.

Will re-examine lure again and make a report of progress. Thanks to all who have shared so much knowledge.

Chief

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I recently made three shallow runners with the same bill angle and line tie location as the RC 2.5 lures.

Two of them ran to the side, slowly, when I burned them.

I examined the three side by side, and discovered that the bills on the two that ran to the side were 1/16"+- longer than on the one that ran true. I sanded those two bills down so they were like the successful lure, and that "cured" the problem.

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I understand completely about "trying" to make everything as close to perfect as possible. There is more than enough operator error in my case that nothing ever comes out perfect even when trying my best.

Like you I use a centerline marked around the bait to align my lips, but I don't use the laser. I make sure I also mark a true centerline on the lip when laying it out. Once the lip is cut out I insert the lip and then hold the bait with the tail end facing me and sight down the centerline on the bait and make sure it lines up with the centerline on the lip. I hold the lure in such a way that you can move your head up and down and your line of sight will naturally move forwards and backwards on the centerline on the lip. If the two lines stay matched up I know the lip is centered. If the lip material your using doesn't have a protective covering that you can do the layout on just add some tape to it that you can draw your layout on. This will stay on until the lip is installed in the bait. Just cut it back far enough that it doesn't interfere with the lip slot.

hope this helps,

Ben

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There is an issue for sure. I took the protective covering off when I cut the lip. I incorrectly stated that I cut the lip with a band saw . I did use the tin snips and a Dremel to fashion the lip like I was instructed to do by BobP (great method for sure). I believe the problem lies in the layout of the lip. I used a store bought lip and just traced it out and went to cutting and sanding without regard to a center line on the lip. I will start with a square piece of Lexan and est. a center line first on the next one.

Thanks for the info on sighting down the center line. The biggest problem I have now is not the left / right fit but making sure the lip is sitting "level" on the corners. Is there a way to test this?

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Make a paper cut out stencil of the bib. Fold paper in half. Now mark this crease on the paper. This is your centerline. Next, lay your bib on top of the paper copy and draw a line on your bib with a dry erase marker matching the line on the stencil. Your now ready to install the bib with your laser level using the line on bib as a guide.

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The biggest problem I have now is not the left / right fit but making sure the lip is sitting "level" on the corners. Is there a way to test this?

The only way I know of getting the lip slot level to the bait is to make sure the saw is tuned properly before cutting the lip slot. That and cutting the slot while the blank is still flat before any shaping is done. If your worried that the lip may be out of level then that makes me think your lip slots may have a bit too much slop in them. I like to cut my slots just large enough that the lip will slide easily into the slot. Lot of people calls this a "slip fit". I don't want it so tight that there is no room left for epoxy. The lip should slide in with no force required, but not so much clearance that you can feel any up and down movement. I don't build baits for sale and only build a few at a time, at most, so the way I do my slots probably isn't going to be for anyone mass producing baits, but here's the way I do mine. The blade on my band saw doesn't cut a wide enough kerf for the Lexan I use so I make the initial cut and then come back and cut the bottom edge again taking off no more than a saw blades worth of material. This leaves me with a slot that is still not quite wide enough for the Lexan to slip into. (now here's why I cut the bottom edge of the lip slot the on the second pass) I then take a fingernail file and file away material on the bottom of the lip slot until the lip slips in. The top part of the lip slot receives no filing to make sure I have a good square edge just in case the slot gets filed a little out of square. If the slot is a little out of square after filing, or the slot is filed too wide, I just stick the pointed end of a toothpick on the bottom of the lip when installing to raise the Lexan up tight against the top part of the lip that got no filing. By wedging the toothpick under the Lexan it ensures the lip will be as square as my lip slot.

Ben

Edited by RayburnGuy

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My gut feeling when I have a bait that planes off to one side at high speed (assuming everything is symmetrical) is that the bait has a little too much lip length or alternatively that there is too little ballast to stabilize the forces created by the lip. Those 2 attributes are related. I build flat sided baits from basswood that are 2 1/4"-2 1/2" long and I shoot for a finished weight of .35 oz (9.9 gm) with #6 trebles. I would expect a 3.5" bait to weigh more than 10 gm, which leads me to wonder if some additional ballast might help to stabilize your bait at high speed. Like Mark suggests, an easy fix is shortening the lip a little, if the lip shape permits (easy to do on square lips, not so easy on round or coffin lips).

Before deciding on other mods however, you do need to make sure the bait is optimally tuned via the line tie. All baits need left/right tuning of the line tie to run their best. If tuning is the only problem, you're golden.

Edited by BobP

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Forgive my 2 cents, but I'll donate anyway. In the 70's we had to tune a bait. Every bait. Bend the nose line tie to the side that is runniing deeper. Just a touch at a time until its running reasonably true. For fishing , you want that bait to vary a bit on the retrieve. Its called hunting. runs a little left and then a little right of center, but the majority of the time the line is fairly true. Thats why some anglers hunt the older baits down. Now with precision manufacturing everything runs in a straight line and thats all the fish see. I would tune the bait and be really happy that it ran a little off at times.

JMHO

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Thanks for all the info. This is the very reason that I read the forum almost every day. I will look into every suggetion and hope to build a better bait on the next one. I was wondering how to get an accurate center line on the lip and Little river helped me there. Thanks. As simple as that was to do and I didnt think of that. No wonder I have run into burning buildings instead of running out like everyone else for the past 30 years.

I plan to adjust the weight first by adding a little just forward of the belly weight. I am afraid to adjust the lip just yet. Another thing is that I need to plan my bait a little better like Bob suggested "target lenghts / weights". This has been so helpful. Cant wait to start the next one.

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You may want to lower the ballast in the body if possible.... I don't build cranks from scratch (yet), but had purchased a few plastic bodies with the variable weight system (RC 2.5 knockoffs) that I painted up.... each one rotated when burned or even reeled at a decent speed.

After messing around with bending the line ties for hours (which didn't fix the problem) I started opening them up and adding/removing the ballast. Even though that failed to solve the issue, I noticed the lures with 1 weight were working better than with more or no weights.... so I tried one last thing by lowering the ballast in the body. I shaved down the "plug" in the belly that is used to add/remove weights... took it down to barely enough to start the thread and then took a worm weight the diameter of the hole and flattened it into a cylinder shape in a vice which I substituted for the ball bearing weight. This mod got the ballast weight a good 3/16" - 1/4" lower in the body.... I then glued everything in place. This solved the rolling issue and after some minor tuning with the line tie I got a few to work reasonably well unless I try my best to burn it as fast as humanly possible.... which isn't really fair!!! LOL!!!

So... try to keep that weight low and see if it helps.... maybe even glue/screw/tape weight to the outside of the belly and see what happens.... if it fixes the issue you then know weight placement is the factor and can aviod touching your line ties.

J.

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I added a little weight and it sank right off and the list got worse. I may have to file off some weight and just tinker with it until I'm satisfied. The weight is at the apex of the bottom so I think Im in good shape there. I may make some adjustments on the lip... maybe. Then again it could be that UKEY 28 has a good point and just let'er dance a little bit.

Gone to the shed....

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Hey Chief, just wondering , but you said in the first post that no swivel or clip was used. Did you ever try swimming it with one. I had that same problem with my first few cranks. I used clips to test them and they ran great and then gave them to a friend. After his first fishing trip he brought them back to me. He said they were running all over the place. I just couldn't believe it, I took them back to the lake to see what was going on. They ran great for me. Got him on the phone right away to investigate and found that he wasn't using a clip. So, I wanted to see this for myself so I took the clip off and tied on direct. The difference was amazing. I was using the clip to change baits faster to test. It was a great eye opener. I have changed the design since then and don't have that problem as much now. I'm curious to know if the swivel or an oval spit ring will help yours. Keep it in the house!!!! John

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Great thought

I was wondering myself. This could be what I need to do in the morning.

I noticed some of my store baits will list if I burn em back. I dont know why I all of a sudden want to zip the bait back. I guess thought that if I could do that then I would have a good bait. My thinking is more shallow than the bait runs.

By the way, the bait just plows up a storm on the bottom.

As of now with the help of the guru's here, I have eliminated most of the flop. Now at regular retrieve the bait looks to the left a bit and then to the right. It comes back straight enough and has no roll whatsoever. I think that I will let'er dance and see if the fish bite.

The adjustments I have made were: Tuned to the best of my ability , re-ajusted the ballast by a very small amount. Changed hook sizes up one size on the front,

Bait doesnt sink now and looks left / right on normal retrieve. This bait is one that I am not going to just burn on retrival anyway so I am not too upset that I cant. I love the action because I feel that steady thump - thump coming back. Now to decide what color scheme. Will post when I can.

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