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Bubbadoyle

Crankbait Bill Thickness

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I've just started to make my own crankbaits. I just posted a picture of a jerkbait in the gallery. It is my first fishable bait I've made. I did make a shad rap imitation that I knew had some issues when I made it. It does not run right and it never will. It was a good learning experience.

Anyways back to the topic. I made the bill for the jerkbait out of lexan. The only lexan I could find locally was the 3/32" stuff so that is what I used. It is a bit thicker than I wanted. Bait still runs nice. I did order a 1/16" polycarbonate sheet off of eBay for making bills. Will there be any difference in the action of the bait by making a thinner bill? What would the differences be between the thicknesses? Thanks.

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I use 1/16" Lexan for all size crankbaits and it's 1/32" thinner than 3/32" and 1/3 less the weight, of course. To me, it doesn't really matter what size material you use as long as long as the bait has the action and the balance you want. Thinner material should gove you a little sharper action, all things being equal.

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Thanks. That was what I was thinking. My bait has a little more subtle action than my store bought jerkbaits but still works pretty nice. So if a thinner bill gave it a little more action I wouldn't be disappointed. About my second cast just testing bait I had a nice largemouth follow it up to pier. Pretty nice to see it was at least interested in it even if it didn't bite.

One thing I will say is this site is both a blessing and a curse. Love the new hobby and this site is a wealth of information but it has cost me a good bit of money. I figure the first bait cost about $300. Any after that one should be pretty cheap though.

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There are two reasons why a thinner lip will give more action:

1 - less weight positioned a long distance from the CoG. This makes the lure easier to move by the water forces.

2 - a sharper edge produces more forces than a rounded edge.

If you want your lure to have a tad more action, make sure the lip edges are crisp. Chamfered on the back face is even better, but not so sharp that you cut your line!

Dave

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One thing I will say is this site is both a blessing and a curse. Love the new hobby and this site is a wealth of information but it has cost me a good bit of money. I figure the first bait cost about $300. Any after that one should be pretty cheap though.

This is a well kept secret between us members.... We tell our wives that tackle is expensive and its cheaper to make our own!

Your bait looks great btw!... Im a big fan of this style jerk bait, my 1st ever attempt was at one like it (also a Rapala copy) but quickly found out how finicky they are... So i give you props!... Im yet to get back to mine, but it is on the to do list, i will have to keep the lip thickness in mind as well

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Thanks. That was what I was thinking. My bait has a little more subtle action than my store bought jerkbaits but still works pretty nice. So if a thinner bill gave it a little more action I wouldn't be disappointed. About my second cast just testing bait I had a nice largemouth follow it up to pier. Pretty nice to see it was at least interested in it even if it didn't bite.

One thing I will say is this site is both a blessing and a curse. Love the new hobby and this site is a wealth of information but it has cost me a good bit of money. I figure the first bait cost about $300. Any after that one should be pretty cheap though.

Oh no, another one has been infected with lureitis and and the builders diaflopsy.  Sorry Bubba, there is no cure!!

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I figure the first bait cost about $300. Any after that one should be pretty cheap though.

Snigger :)

Edited by Vodkaman

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I like the 1/8" lexan for deep diver, where the line tie is way out on the bill.

I just think it gives some added strength.

Like Dave said, I back chamfer the bills, and I also heat the leading edge and bend it up a little.  Just the first 1/4".  I think it helps the bait dive to max depth faster, and stay down longer.

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I also heat the leading edge and bend it up a little. Just the first 1/4". I think it helps the bait dive to max depth faster, and stay down longer.

I like this!.... Whats your trick for keeping it square? Hair straightener?

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I use a heat gun or propane torch.  Just keep it moving, if you get bubbles you were too hot.

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I like this!.... Whats your trick for keeping it square? Hair straightener?

 

I have a vice with a piece of 1/8" lexan, wrapped a couple of times with blue painters tape, clamped in it, 1/4" down.  So, once I heat the bill with my heat gun, I just slip it down into the vice until it hits the piece that's clamped, and bend it forward a little.  It's not an exact science, but it's just for me, so it's fine.

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I have a vice with a piece of 1/8" lexan, wrapped a couple of times with blue painters tape, clamped in it, 1/4" down. So, once I heat the bill with my heat gun, I just slip it down into the vice until it hits the piece that's clamped, and bend it forward a little. It's not an exact science, but it's just for me, so it's fine.

Genious!.... You sure do have alot of uses for that blue painters tape!... If i didnt know any better id think u were a salesman for 3M...

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I ended up making a few forms on the bandsaw then clamping the lip in them once heated. For just a simple bend I just bend with a pair of needle nose pliers without any teething marks.   I also have several different spoons laying around the shop and will heat the lip set on the spoon and then use the back of another spoon to press it into a concave shape.

 

Blue painters tape is something I use frequently when making cranks.  I keep probably 1/2 dozen rolls in a couple widths in the shop at all times.

Edited by Travis

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Blue painters tape is the "duct tape" of the bait building world. Don't think I've ever built a single crankbait without using it for something.

 

Ben

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Blue painters tape is the "duct tape" of the bait building world. Don't think I've ever built a single crankbait without using it for something.

Ben

Then ive been doing it the hard way!... Next trip to Lowes: blue painters tape ✔

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It's funny that I started this thread about crankbait bill thickness and it just so happens I was building a bait today and was thinking how would I build a bait without the painters tape. That was before coming on here and finding the thread had turned to blue painters tape. Lol.

I do want to say thanks for everyone who answers my questions on here. I am in the process of building bait number 3 for me so I do have a lot of questions. I have a hard time getting specific info from the search on here. Definitely a helpful group of people on here.

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This has been a confusing thread, as I've had to go through conversion tables several times to figure out the thicknesses you've been talking about. I think I've got it, though. 1-2mm ought to work just fine on any crankbait, right? 

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The strength and rigidity of the bill material you choose is what's most important.  Ideally it would be super thin, so the bait dives more quickly because of less water resistance from the edge of the bill, very rigid, so the energy of the water flowing against it on the retrieve isn't lost or lessened by the lip bending on the retrieve, and super strong, so it doesn't break or crack when it hits something, or, like the older Rapalas, when you slap grass off of the bait. 

For me, there is no one perfect material.  

I have had to play around with different materials to find which ones work best for which baits.

I use circuit board material for baits that don't have the line tie in the bill, and Lexan for those that do.

 

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You could even use metal... I have a bunch of Arborgast Mud Bugs with huge steel lips that are thin (guessing no thicker than .02").... Those baits really thump when you get them moving.... and cut through weeds nicely!

   J.

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