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CatchingConcepts

oldies but goodies...

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In going through some of my older boxes of balsa cranks when writing the short blurb on the Bagley DB3 topic thread, I realized just how old some of my own balsa handmade cranks I still use were in the boxes. Though the hooks have been upgraded, these are originals I created long ago, but lures I still regularly use and just thought I would share them and how I got started creating crankbaits.

Most of these lures are yellowing from age as they were coated with various types of urathane, tho one coated with a dupont product is still as clear as the day it was coated. How long ago was this? well I seem to remember the Pres was Carter, and Disco and rubix cubes were still hot... that really dates me!

Though I fooled with "reworking" my Grandfathers classic wooden plugs to "improve them" years before, My true obsession with crankbaits began when I was 15 and I purchased an April 1979 issue of Fishing Facts Magazine. Inside was an article by Tom Seward called "A Hot Crankbait You Can Make Yourself". This is a must read for all crankbait making addicts! a true classic, and still probably the best written article ever on making traditional balsa alphabet cranks. Anyone with good skills may be able to locate the article somewhere on the net and link it? Or if you frequent Ebay watch for that issue of Fishing Facts, its very well written by Tom Seward, who went on to work for many companies, and designed numerous lures like the Natural Ike series, Hot Lips and Speed Trap, and most recently the Brush Baby and Timber Tiger series. I have now met Tom numerous times and consider him a friend, He currently works for Yakima Bait (Poes) and still writes frequently.

So the pic below is some of my earliest attempts at luremaking that still find a home in my currently use box of crankbaits, unlike the uncountable number that have been sold, lost or just retired to dusty places...

They are crude in finish compared to my efforts 25 years later, but still rival in action anything I can create, and most importantly still catch fish!

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OK Herman,

Here comes the dumb question. How do you cut your lip slots without messing up those beautiful paint jobs. I mean...... correct me if I am wrong..... but they are already clearcoated also aren't they?

Skeeter

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HI Skeeter,

Never a dumb question... actually it took much trial and error in figuring the best way out. AND actually every once in a while you just do ruin one because of wood grain and how saw blade contacts it.

But after learning just how many Bagley's tossed aside I dont feel so bad... You may still see these cast offs being sold on ebay from time to time, with big chunks missing from nose from self destruction at the saw blade...

Here's what I do... First off I made a wooden jig that is lined with felt at critical spots so as not to scratch finish, and holds contoured lure perfectly sideways at a 90 degree angle quite securely. I then found the best time to cut the lip slot is within 24 hours after the epoxy has cured, but is not yet rock hard. too soon and you make marks in finish, too late and it chips and crack sometimes. Then the final thing I do to every bait is strech a piece of electrical tape over nose area where slot is being cut, and rub down. this very much eliminates any breakage and makes for a nice smooth cut. Yes I go through tape, but it is cheap... Now I am using a large high speed bandsaw with a very sharp blade I use just for cutting lips, I take it off for all other cutting, The blade must be real sharp to get desired effect. High tooth count and moderate set, and two passes using the guide with jig clamped in and I am ready to glue in the lips.

Herman

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Herman those are gorgeous. I like the effect you got using 2 scale nettings. Are they dipped 1 or 2 times?

Tight lines,

Shawn

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Thanks for the great comments!

Pictures just dont do them justice with my crappy digital cam either.. you just cant capture the subtle pearls and holographic glitter with a cam flash...

Shawn,

I dip them only one time in Etex lite... I think I have found a way to get a thicker coating by mixing in glass (pirex) and then actually keeping mixture on ice while dipping and curing in very cool environment till reaction starts to take place... of course turning the whole time on drying rack.

The epoxy, being chilled makes its consistancy much thicker, yet is very workable for longer time to coat multiple lures.

anyone else tried this?

Herman

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I had a friend of mine that use to make baits for a living. He did the same thing with the flat baits. His jig would hold 6 at one time. His lips were injected and the ends were all 1/8. His blade was exactly 1/8 wide. The lips fit perfectly every time. But I have never seen one for round baits. Do you do them the same way?

Skeeter

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Skeeter,

on my flat baits, I do stack them together (finished) and run them across a table saw in a jig that holds them all, with a thicker blade that cuts correct width for whichever injected lip I am using on that crank...

for the semi round baits I found that just doing them one at a time on the bandsaw in a jig is the way to go, it is much slower, but to get the hands on precision, is the only method I am comfortable with at this time. I use use the guide on that bandsaw table and clamp stoppers on the table so I can only move the jig holding the lure tightly so far in the same angle and motion every time, then just keep chanhing out cranks till the pile is done... Key is taking the time to craft jigs and doccument all angles so you can reproduce same motion every set up.

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Herman, I absolutely love your baits...the designs and the magnificent paint jobs. I commend you on being original and still making them look so sweet! Got a website or info on where to purchase some?

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Herman mine if I ask where you got your mess material that you used on the Bagley 09 color in the last picture that you posted in the tackle box? I can't find any that is as good looking as that.

Thanks in advance,

BassinBob....

PS: Here is one I just finished up this afternoon.

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I really appreciate all the great words on my baits, I try and stay with what I would consider "old school" to the use of stencil and coloration effects, Guess its the appreciation of our roots from Heddon and the old timers, to the contemporary classic Bagley's paint work.

I dont have a web site yet, am working on working on it! BTW nice site Jed, care to share what you used to set it up?

I sell mostly via email and much of my stuff is sold as I make it, to bass guys who some will take whatever I have finished, A small ammount of my stuff finds its way onto Ebay, search under "handmade crankbait" , (remember to check the box [search title and description]), from time to time there is some real nice work sold there by several makers.

BassinBob, try this link for scale netting, but also going into those fabric places (even walmart) can yeild some great netting.

http://www.staminainc.com/paint/scale_netting.html

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I'd like to share these pics of an oldie but goodie. This lure was made by a friend of mine who is around 90 years old now. He told me this was one of the first lures he made nearly 40 years ago. He never used an airbrush....only spray bombs and paint brushes. He still makes lures almost daily but cannot paint like he once could. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Tuff-Tackle

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