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Choosing a Custom Crankbait

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Choosing A Custom Crankbait

So, curiosity has finally taken hold and you have decided to purchase a custom crankbait. But where do you start, what should you look for, and what should you expect to gain from your new purchase? It is not an easy decision, and these are just some of the questions that you should consider. Hopefully, this article will help eliminate some of the guess work out of making the right purchase.

I break custom crankbaits into three different categories. page_break

1. Modified Crankbaits - are store bought baits that are modified by changing the lure in some fashion. For example, the lip style or lip angle could be changed, weight could be added or removed, rattles could be installed, or a custom paint scheme could be done to the bait. The normal price for this type of bait is $10.00 to $20.00

2. Handmade Crankbaits - are made from scratch. Raw materials are either machined or fashioned by hand to make the bait. The normal price for this type of bait is $10.00 to $20.00

3. Specific Handmade Crankbaits - are made like the bait described in the second category. The difference is that they are precisely balanced and tuned to do a specific task. You really have to know what you want when ordering crankbaits of this type. Let?s say you want a deep running crankbait that will run 20 ft. deep, has a steep dive angle, and rises slowly that will be used during the summer. This type of crankbait is both labor intensive and time consuming to make. Since the baits are made by hand, each one should be made and tuned individually. A deep running crankbait that is used in the winter will be made completely different than one that is made for the summer. Personally I have spent as much as ten hours to create just one of these baits. When they are done right, they are the most accurate and finest performing crankbaits you will ever own. But, they are also the most expensive. The normal price for this type of bait is $35.00 to $50.00.

Where do you start? Begin by searching for your new crankbait on the Internet. This is the quickest and easiest way to gather information and to see what is out there. If the lure maker puts information on his site about how the bait is made and the materials he uses in construction, then all the better. Check with friends and other anglers that have bought custom crankbaits to get their inputs. But best of all, bum one from a buddy and give it a few casts.

What should you look for? Personally, the first thing that I look for is a straight body. I want the body to be well proportioned. Crooked crankbait bodies will never achieve optimum performance. In particular, round crankbait bodies are hardest to get straight when they are made. The center of the tail should line up in a straight line with the nose of the bait. The sides should be of equal distance from the center line of the bait. The tail should start to taper at the same place on both sides of the bait. Check the lip. If the lip is not straight in the slot and not lined up with the body or the lip is not straight across the face of the lure then your lure will never obtain maximum performance. Flip the bait upside down and see if the back hook hanger, the belly hook hanger, and the wire for the line tie are in a straight line. Not always will it be perfect, but to me it is a sign that the bait maker takes his time and really cares about attention to detail in his work. Like I have told people in the past.... ?You wouldn?t shoot an archery tournament with crooked arrows, so why would you try to hit a stump or a rock pile repeatedly in 10 to 20 ft. of water with crooked crankbaits?? Attention to details adds up to maximum performance of the crankbait. This is why you are shopping for a custom crankbait to begin with. You are probably tired of putting out your hard earned money for garbage that doesn?t perform. A well made crankbait should run true, float, and throw well even in the wind.

Sadly, buying a custom crankbait is not always a guarantee that you will get what you pay for. In the beginning of my crankbait searches, I bought custom crankbaits from several different bait makers. Some of them fell apart. Others, the lip either pulled out or was installed crooked. Most of all, many of the bodies were still not straight. When this happened I called the bait maker and told him of the problem. For the money that I paid for them, I wanted them right. I thought that they would offer to either fix the problem with the current bait or replace it. To my dismay, none of them would correct the problem. Before you buy from someone, make sure they will stand by their work. But also keep in mind that some people will take advantage of others. That bait maker probably took a long time and put in allot of work making that bait. If you throw the bait 70 mph. into a rock and tear it up don?t be calling and complaining to the guy that the bait doesn?t hold up. A good bait maker can usually tell what happened to the bait anyway. Check the bait out before you fish it. If you see something you don?t like, then call the bait maker and tell him your concerns. Just like dealing with any other business, if you are being reasonable, then he should stand behind his work. If a lip pulls out then you are just up a creek without a paddle. That is just a hard thing to prove since the fish is probably still swimming around with the bait in his face. But the bottom line here is that the bait maker does not have to guarantee anything.

In closing, let me remind you of one last thing. Just because you buy that custom crankbait doesn?t guarantee you success. No matter how much you paid for it or how perfect the bait is made, you as an angler must be proficient in the skills that it takes to find and catch the fish. Owning a well made crankbait will make that job easier and hopefully more enjoyable.


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