Accurate Scooting Craw Pattern

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I wonder a couple things about craw crankbaits:

I don't see many painted in accurate "match the hatch" molting stages; hard shell, peeler, mushy and leather back.

The patterns reverse the direction a crawdad normally "scoots".

A bass would almost always "hit" the claws and head first then turn it before ingesting.

If the reversed pattern seems to work the best, why not add a bit of weight near the bait's rear eye so it would settle like a real craw, tail first, claws up in a defensive mode.

Seems a guy could use a 2.5 body and paint it similar to a Koppers. I've attached close to what most older crawfish look like in our rivers, ponds and lakes in Iowa if it were in an aquarium. It would be a bit darker in its natural habitat. 

I've just begun to look at crankbait designing and DIY methods so just curious.


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To me, a craw crankbait is moving fast enough that a more or less stationary bass hits it out of reaction as it zooms into view.  So, while coloring and body segments are important, the direction the craw seems to be traveling is less critical.  The bass sees it as a fleeing prey item, and strikes.  I have painted wiggle warts in a claws-first pattern, with red/orange claws on the bills, and used them to root along the shallow rock parallel to shore, but I think any craw colored crank would work.

I think really accurate coloration  is more important in baits that are moved slowly along the bottom, like jigs and creatures, and even those seem to only need to be close, not perfect.

The only time I think accuracy is really important in hard baits is in slow moving baits like S wavers, where a suspended bass has time to look at it more closely, and, even then,  they will hit a less-than-perfect bait because they "think" it's prey anyway.



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Anglers put a lot of emphasis on things that they can control.  From my experiences the better the anglers I fished with the less important such things became. 

Yes color can play and issue but typically one of the things I dial  in after locating fish   Any bets we can take a great crank bait guy and give him and upside down painted craw and he will school the average crank bait guy.  ;)

I have painted craws all sort of colors and have messed with making the baits in "correct" fleeing motion but more for kicks  and never thought it was critical. Few older baits as I did a lot of "soft/molt" colors to fish on some small rivers/large creeks that had a lot of craws.   Also went to single mid treble as too many small fish with the rear treble on those waters.   Gets old  removing  those dink smallies.    I have come across baits at some shows painted the same color just craws facing bill or rear treble usually after some discussion boils down to we all have our quirks.   




Edited by Travis

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Well, ok, duh. Moving baits mean reaction bites from aggressive fish. I throw topwater most of the time because of the strike and the fishing speed. I only throw cranks, not counting hard jerk baits, when I've exhausted other options including soft plastics. I'm finding it very interesting though how many techniques there are to produce nice looking hard baits. Definitely going to try airbrushing, printed wraps and hydro-painting. 

What is the best inexpensive "dip" for top coating hard baits? Don't want to hand brush each bait and wait for epoxy finishes to cure out.

Thanks for your replies, they make sense.

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I would go with a moisture cure urethane.  Either Dick Nites or KBS Diamond Clear.  You are hitting a good time of the year as humidity levels lower and much easier to control in house if needed with a dehumidifier.    Lots of threads on both on the site.

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