gordon

Soft Fins On Hard Swimbait

18 posts in this topic

I am constructing some Bluegill swimbaits, complete with Dorsal and Anal fins along with a tail fin.  They are made from Lexan which is what I normally use for hard swimbait tails.  The Dorsal and anal fins are swept back slightly to imitate a Bluegill swimming.  When I tank tested my first bait I found that the dorsal and anal fin severely restricted the action of these baits.  When I take the fins off, the action is great with plenty of movement.

 

Has anyone out there had success using soft materials that flex well for a fin material?  I am sure with flexible fins my Bluegills will swim better with fins on.

 

I am going to attempt to make a POP mold out of the hard fins and cast some soft fins from soft plastic, I will add a lot of hardener to it to try and up the durability.  Durability is my main concern with using soft fins.

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I made a bluegill swimbait (posted in gallery) with soft fins.  It is a major pain trying to get fins on a swimbait without inhibiting the action and it required several trial designs.  One thing is for sure, they must be very low profile.  The problem is, the fins are serving the exact same purpose that a real fish uses them for, stabilization while swimming.  Hope this helps some, good luck!

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You want to use rabbit strips...In the fly tying arena they are called zonker strips.You want the straight cut ones..NOT the cross cut.They come in every color you could imagine plus they can be colored with perminet markers.

I assume your making a hard bait...just use a bit of 5 minute epoxy to attach .When the epoxy has dried just trim to shape...that will give you a breathing free flowing effect...or when the epoxy has dried rub some clear silicone between your fingers and pull it through the fins and shape them.When the silicone has dried you can trim the fins.The fins won't breath and move like the first option but they are flexible and collapse out of the way when the fish strike...Nathan

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Thanks for the replies, I will have a play and report back with my results.  I have some zonker strips in my fly tying kit.

 

Nathan - Love your website, that rodent is cool :-)

Edited by gordon

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Here is what I have so far, I thought I was on to a winner until I took it for it's first swim.  Those top and bottom fins at the rear kill the action, take them off and it swims great.

 

DSCN2361_zps6de43852.jpg  

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I can see how those fins are deadening all the action of your middle segment. Have you tried with just one of the two fins in? I use DNA Fish Fiber for my fins and found on a few removing the anal fin improved the swimming action. But the Fish Fiber is probably a lot more plyable, and has less effect on the baits movement than your plastic fins.I also wonder if moving the dorsal fin forward may help, so it doesn't overlap the rear segment.

 

I have never experiemnted with the plastic fins, so these are just speculations. But I aminterested in how you make out. Keep posting your progess!! Good Luck

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Might also try some brush bristles, should be lighter with less rudder effect, you can use the cheap chip brushs and kinda color them up with some sharpies...good luck

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You can use microfibets or paint brush fibers.  Fan them out the way you want them on a flat surface.  Of course the small end the size of the tail slot that you are going to fit and the fan end the size of the tail you want.  Then take some clear tape like scotch tape and tape it down to the flat surface.  Now you can lift the tape and turn the tail over.  If you are losing fibers, it will help if you keep the small end overhanging the edge of the flat surface slightly so that you can support it with your fingers as you turn the tail over.  Tape the other side.  Now the fibers should be fairly secure.  Epoxy the fibers together at the small end that isn't taped.  This secures all the fibers together at the base and gives you a solid base.  Now epoxy the base into your tail slot.  When everything is good and cured, visualize or draw the shape of the tail you desire on the bait.  Cut the tail shape with scissors.  Now carefully peel off all the tape in the direction of the tail fibers.

 

It will still provide some stabilization.  Less fibers, less stabilization.  Should be single layer of fibers at fan end makes it somewhat transparent.  Looks good but this tail is subject to wear and tear and I believe is less indestructable than others.

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What I  had done with mine is i had made up a really thin piece of fiberglass, really light cloth of some sort, used a little bit of polyester resin or epoxy, saturated the cloth on some wax paper covered it with another piece of wax paper then sat some heavy books on it to compress it flat, after it dried i cut it into fine strips, small rectangle the length of the fin, then i prefer the chinese bristle chip brush, just disassemble the brush cut the pile of fibers loose, then just run a fine bead of super glue down the lil rectangle and position the fibers flat along its length, after this dries you can just cut the shape in the fibers you want.... color them up with a sharpie or whatever and you now have a realistic fin assembly that can be countersunk into your lure.....epoxy that deal in and your good to go, good luck

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I don't put soft fins on my swimbaits, only a soft plastic tail that screws into a SST coil I glue into the tail section.

But, if I were going to try to add fins, I'd probably try using a harder soft plastic formula and make some with molds, so they are easily replaced if damaged.  I would think super glue will hold them in mounting slots, since they are small.  If they get torn up when the fish bites, I could live with that.  Replacing them wouldn't be that hard, as long as I had a mold so the fins could be accurately repeated.

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Yes you just cut them off the paint brush as needed.  If you look at many paint brushes there is a different color the last 1/4 to 3/8 inch of the fibers.  Sometimes you can utilize that change up.  JR Hopkins does this on his video you can pm him and get his video will show you how it is done.

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