Tally

Any "REAL" custom crank bait makers left?

60 posts in this topic

People make lures for lots of different reasons.  For some, it's the challenge of making something unique that works.   For some, it's proving to themselves that they can do it, and maybe better than what's out there.  For others, it's just for the fun and thrill of catching a fish on something they made.

At different points in my lure making, I've been guilty of all three.  Getting a piece of wood to actually catch fish was amazing!  And figuring out how to make a jointed swimbait swim level was a challenge I loved.  Likewise, figuring out how to make a crank bait "hunt" was another interesting challenge.  Or how to make a good working glide bait.

I would never have figured that stuff out without the help of so many here (Vodkaman).

Having said that, I love to fish, and would rather spend time fishing than building lures.

I've been a carpenter my whole life, so working with wood has always been easy for me.

But I never even thought about trying to make a lure until I broke my buddy's Pupfish, and decided I could make a replacement of it for him.  From that lure, I started to make jointed baits to replace some Triple Trouts that he lost while fishing off of my boat.

Figuring out how to make a lure work was/is fun.

Once I realized I could make lures that actually caught fish,  I began making and selling them.  It quickly became apparent that making lures to sell took all the fun out of it, so I stopped.  Now I just build for myself and a few friends.

If the cheap plastic knock-offs we have now had been available back then, I doubt I'd have ever even tried lure making.  So I can understand why people buy them, and paint them, and fish them.  I do it myself.

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 I  spent some time on the lure lovers site and there was a thread similar to this but with a wrinkle, the sentiment was that unless the lure was "hand" built , no machines, then it wasn't actually hand built or custom, I  am quite certain many could learn from your experience with building cranks. I spend many hours a week building and making baits, cranks are relatively the newest to my bench and I  have learned a lot from the folks on here but I  still have a ways to go...those Japanese fellas have the bar raised pretty high and that is my goal...number 1 bit of advice I  ever received on here was by BOBP, DON'T GET IN A HURRY....

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With the help of this site and many hours of research I took an idea and turned it to reality. I designed the body and bill, tested different weighting, and different materials for the body. I would like to add more designs but I want to get a little inventory with this model first.

I have learned so much from this forum and continue to learn from it. I am happy the few times I have been able to add good content to posts. I still have a ton to learn about painting!

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Been years since I've been on here, so I'm pretty sure not many people remember me.  Not as a result of burning out or having a lack of ideas, but rather my real world job has had me busy putting in 60+hours a week for the last 3+ years....I'm just plain worn out.  What free time I did have has been consumed with honey do lists and the occasional fishing trip.  

I have several drawings I have come up with over the last few years.  Ideas that keep me awake some nights.   Thoughts on how I am going to make these and what is the most efficient way to do it.   Most are crankbaits, some spinners, jigheads and I have a few soft plastics I want to design.  My goal is to expand my "lure lab" into a full fledged shop like Larry Dahlbergs.  And since Im still working so many hours, Im shooting for an early retirement/semi-retirement as soon as I get my house paid off.  

I paint blanks as well, but I actually started for a different reason.  I wanted to learn how to paint better and know I would  be able to put on a great looking custom coat on each bait.  While my painting has improved, it still has a long way to go before I am super happy with it.  The baits I do paint I sell to local guys for a few bucks and use that money to buy a few more blanks or paints.    Im hoping that one day, Ill actually get to retire and can do nothing but fish, bbq, and make lures all day every day lol.

Another thing with the blanks.  I actually use them to help me get new ideas too.  Lip angles, lip sizes and shapes, body styles, internal weighting, etc.   Throw in watching videos from solarbaits, Marling baits and others, and I've come to the conclusion that no matter how crazy a bait may seem, putting in the time and effort to design and create it will eventually pay off.  




 

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I suspect that many of the longer members of TU have been waiting with baited breath for me to chime in on the return of Mr Tally, as we have some serious ‘history’ to deal with. Fortunately the 12,000 miles between our locations kept us sufficiently separated. Don’t bother searching the archives as that series of heated exchanges were lost in one of the many system crashes around that time, in fact, even my join date is wrong by a month or more. I joined around Oct 96.

As a side note, this is the sixth draft of this post, and I will hold it back for 24 hours before posting.

What caused the problem - I asked as a ‘newby’ (I always hated that term); how do cranks work, what makes them move. The derogatory answer, I forget the details, but it was basically, ‘do the work and figure it out for yourself, you get nothing on a silver platter’. Not an accurate quote, but the basic message.

After the heated exchanges that followed, not just from Tally, but from the entire clique of designers of that time, some of which I never resolved my differences with, I carried my anger for many years. I have always hated cliques, groups of self-gratifying members who seem to think that they are above their peers and something special.

I eventually concluded that the extremely hostile response to my very basic question was because no one actually knew the answer. As an engineer, I started my research, and it did not take long to find my answers, and I introduced the word ‘vortex’ to the vocabulary of the lure designer.

Soon after, I tackled one of the BIG mysteries of lure design; ‘hunting’. Everyone had seen ‘hunting’ but no one understood what made it happen. My questions and discussions on the subject met with even more animosity, and so I was determined to solve the resolve with an engineering solution. This became my passion.

My mentor at this time was KC Dano. We exchanged more than a thousand messages over the next several years, mostly about my hunting project. He last logged on Oct 2014. Does anyone know if he is ok?

I built many hundreds maybe even as many as one thousand prototypes exploring my many theories on the subject, and I am embarrassed that it took some seven years to crack the theory, but it is published for all to read. The method is proven. With care, 100% repeatable.

Am I a "REAL" custom crank bait maker? - certainly not. I have never professed to be a custom designer or even a lure builder. In fact, after more than ten years, I have never finished (painted) a lure. I have test fished my lures and yes, they do catch. I have many local fishermen who continue to hassle me for lures after I gave a few away (unpainted), after they caught me testing in my 8’ x 4’ tank in the front of my house. If you would like a label, I would call myself an R+D lure engineer.

I confess, after successfully designing and building a couple of lure duplicator machines, I hit hard times, and had to give up my workshop and all my developed machines, and have done very little since.

I did some work on a process of injection combined with vacuum forming that was very successful for difficult to pour soft plastics. I also did some work on 3D printing of mold designs that needs more work, but the design is good, only material availability problems remain.

I revamped an existing idea plucked from the TU archives to do with Archimedes principles which many members have picked up and run with. I particularly like this idea even though it was not my own. Useful for lure development, production repeatability and reverse engineering (unfortunately).

I did a lot of design work for a few lure producers and mold makers, but to be honest, I found this work to be unimaginative and tedious.

Do I still bear a grudge – certainly not.

I am confident in my knowledge and ability. I read TU posts to keep in touch, offer some advice and opinions, and learn (a lot) in the process.

I will accept questioning of my ideas and concepts and will put forward my point of view. It is up to the membership to accept or reject my ideas. I only ask that you show some human respect and keep it civil.

My message to every newcomer to the TU community; is ask away. No matter how basic or even silly you think your question is, ASK IT. If you do not get a suitable response, message me and I will do my best to help.

Welcome back Mr, Tally.

Dave

 

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thanks for the welcome back Vodkaman.    Let me address this now as I do not come back with nor do I want any hostility.  I do remember some of the heated discussions and for whatever the reason was, personality clashes or maybe I needed to grow up, My apologies to you!!  

Now on the other note,  I did glance at your hunting bait post and plan on looking at that again in detail.

40 minutes ago, Vodkaman said:

I built many hundreds maybe even as many as one thousand prototypes exploring my many theories on the subject, and I am embarrassed that it took some seven years to crack the theory, but it is published for all to read. The method is proven. With care, 100% repeatable.

No need to be embarrassed.... you had an idea and ran with it.  Most would have gave up much sooner than that, including myself.  Congrats on putting that all full circle.

I sincerely hope my apology is accepted and we can move forward.  If not, again thank  you for the welcome back!

Tally

45 minutes ago, Vodkaman said:

Am I a "REAL" custom crank bait maker? - certainly not

Maybe you are more of a custom crank bait make than you take credit for?

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Vodkaman, Thanks for chiming in, and sorry if there were issues in the past, which I was unaware of. I mentioned your name earlier because after reading your many posts on vortex and hunting cranks a light went off for me. So with that Thank you for your work and contribution. I've been building wood plugs since 2007. Like many I struggled with lots of rejects which is the norm when trying to develop a lure from scratch and I never kept track of the ratio, but is was way worse before I finally got it. Forward to today, after many years of trail and error and all the research done here, at the lake and countless hours spent in communications I've been able to understand what makes a crankbait run effectively. I do not claim to build the best, never will but as a tournament angler for many years I've come to the realization you cant please everyone, that's why we have so many choices in our everyday life.

What I have been able to obtain is a better understanding of what I wanted my crankbaits to do, Versus the production cranks I was fishing before I started this journey some years ago, and in that I owe your work and putting it out there for us to read a lot of respect, it helped me tremendously. Thank you again and Thanks to a lot of members here for their contributions as well, it's a great site with a wealth of information if your willing to invest the time to absorb it all.

For those reading this and not following why I state this, you need to read the huge discussions on Hunting Crankbaits, I think there are several posts on this subject, but as my memory serves me, Dave "Vodkaman" posted his final belief of what's makes a crankbait hunt in very good detail, and it triggered me to finally understand why I was not getting the results I wanted. I was even able to go back and relook, & modify some of my culls to make them perform like I had originally hoped.

Building a crankbait from scratch is a very time consuming venture, and one I assure you will not make you rich, To be brutally honest it would scare the heck out of me if I were to count all my time, effort, materials, and try to put a price on what it takes to build, design a handcrafted crankbait, but it does offer great rewards. I urge anyone with the passion to pursue building your own, or at least look into it. This all started many years ago when I could not find a lure I wanted so I built my own. I've had several buddies who thought they wanted to be crankbait builders, they start of strong, and most decide it's not their cup of tea, heck they would rather have me build them one. LOL

Anyway, I have enjoyed this site, membership and knowledge very much over the years and hope to be able to keep a high  standard of respect, fellowship and help new members when I can, so I'm glad to see the discussions continue in hopes it will shed some light for someone.

Wishing everyone Merry Christmas

Rich   

Edited by RPM
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Tally 

 Man you can still shake a tree!!..Lol..Good to have you back my saw dust brother and it was great BSing on the phone last week..Nathan

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RPM - marvelous feedback. Half the time I was thinking, 'is anyone reading this stuff'.

Message to anyone; always give feedback, positive or negative, on ideas that you test. This way, the author does not think that he/she is wasting their time, and also lets other members know whether the idea is confirmed or denied.

Dave

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Vodkaman

You are very welcome.  I actually was waiting to get blasted!!  I probably deserved it.  

I did not start this post for any reason other than to find out who played with making baits and who I could bounce ideas off and learn some of the tricks.  I am positive it has changed a lot from days I was making lures.  

For those of you who do the custom paint on blanks, I applaud you.  Other than figuring out to get my bait to do what I wanted, the painting and coming up with new patterns was the most fun!!  Had the blanks been around when I started I would probably just paint to.  fun fun fun!!

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5 minutes ago, Nathan said:

Tally 

 Man you can still shake a tree!!..Lol..Good to have you back my saw dust brother and it was great BSing on the phone last week..Nathan

it was good talking with you to Nathan.  I was trying to be a good boy.... lol  it's all good, I deserved it and hopefully we can move forward.  

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Dave your welcome, and yes I was reading, watching like a kid watches a candy jar. LOL

I was also able to confirm and prove your theory and implement it on my own cranks, even able to resurrect some culls with great pleasure. Now I build my cranks with a different approach and much better results on new designs / prototypes. I was guilty for a long time to not interact, and couldn't agree more. Feedback is a good thing. Thanks again. 

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RPM - getting a fuzzy feeling here :)

Tally - we are good :)

I am mildly disturbed with the direction that 'lure design' has taken, with regard to the use of cheap Chinese molded imports requiring only painting. I argued fervently against the trend, believing it to be unconstitutional in the world of TU. However, with such support among some of the most eminent members whom I have the utmost respect, I decided to let the issue go.

There will always be members who want to get to the grass roots of lure design. We must nurture these bright new minds as they are the future of lure design. My attitude now is; live and let live with the painters.

Some people believe that it has 'all been done', 'thought of', 'invented'. Absolutely not true. We are only at the beginning of lure design. So much more to be discovered and achieved by the younger and more inventive minds.

'Custom' is another bone that I have had to bury. I guess it is all about the definition and interpretation. To me; it implies something new and original, tailored to a customers personal requirements. I actually did a custom job, producing a design on the lines of a 'triple trout'. But the job became very tedious with the many design changes. In the end, I figured that my time was worth a lot more than the trifle that I was being paid.

I love designing, but designing for others can be very tedious unless it is my ideas being developed. I have worked on ideas that I really believed in, but the customers lost interest :)

Dave

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7 minutes ago, Vodkaman said:

RPM - getting a fuzzy feeling here :)

1 hour ago, Vodkaman said:

I confess, after successfully designing and building a couple of lure duplicator machines, I hit hard times, and had to give up my workshop and all my developed machines, and have done very little since.

 

Easy now! LOL

But on a more serious note. The Lure duplicator machine has my interest? Seriously A few years ago I thought I would like to own one, and searched for a couple of years only to find out that there were only a few made ( production ) machines? Then to find out the ones in operation cost 15K-30K Depending on who you talked to and there were none available or not being used. Not to stir the pot, but in some circles that would make me a production crankbait builder would it not? Anyway I've moved on past that urge but if a lure duplicator became available at a much more reasonable price I'm sure there would be a market for it. I've seen the homemade duplicators on YouTube, seen one a guy built based of a router table system, but a real true balsa duplicator ? now that's something to sit up in your seat about.  

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46 minutes ago, Vodkaman said:

RPM - marvelous feedback. Half the time I was thinking, 'is anyone reading this stuff'.

Message to anyone; always give feedback, positive or negative, on ideas that you test. This way, the author does not think that he/she is wasting their time, and also lets other members know whether the idea is confirmed or denied.

Dave

Vodkaman,

As a new builder I really struggled with understanding vortices and the forces behind crankbaits hunting.  Your discussion on the subject provided me with the basis of my understanding, and it is the only reason I've been able to successfully create a hunting crankbait (on purpose that is...amazing some of the action you can get from things you did wrong).  It even led me to doing additional research on hydrodynamics.  Thanks for sharing your information.  I've read many of the articles available on these forums, and they have helped me to develop skills that would have taken me years.   Hopefully, soon I'll be able to contribute with insights of my own.

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RPM - Duplicators are beyond this discussion. I suggest that if you are interested and have a few questions, open up a new thread. There are a couple of old duplicator designers here, and plenty of people interested in the subject.

Personally, I built the duplicator purely because the subject was current at the time. It was just another challenge. BUT, it was incredibly useful in my R+D work, providing me with hundreds of identical lure bodies that I then could do relative testing with, evaluating the effects of adjustments with total confidence that the bodies were identical other than very slight variations in batch density.

A duplicator does not have to be a high production tool. Also, I hate carving :)

Dave

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Tarheelfishing88 - I would certainly like to hear more of your work. Feel free to PM me.

General - please keep to the topic. I love getting feedback though. PM me or post in the relevant topic. Thanks.

Dave

Edited by Vodkaman

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:yay:

Will do, didn't mean to get off the subject, just sparked an interest if you know what I mean.

Thanks Dave

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I have been a member since 2005, I don't come on here very often cause I can find better more willing help their places, I'm on several FB pages and the help I got there in 3 years out weight the help I've gotten here in 14 ( I was a lurker for one). That is sad but true.

Side note, I hate the term "Real" cause it come from an authoritative stand point. Who the EF are you? But that's just my issue

I've come back recently myself for one reason, to share the snot out of what ever I know, I'm holding nothing back
One of the pages I follow on FB has my all time favorite rule, the page is about Painting Lures with a airbrush
Their rule, if you post a picture you Must post a commentary on how it was done, if you don't, they remove your post and ask you to post again with instructions. It's sole purpose is to teach, showing your work is secondary. That is something I know would never fly on TU.

I mainly concentrate on Plastics and lead, I'm learning more on hard baits, my ultimate goal is to build swimbaits
Sadly I know where to find information when I get stuck and it's not here. With the exception of Mark Poulson
And Two other members, Cadman and Smalljaw help is difficult 

I'm not a fan of lost knowledge, no matter how simple it is, knowledge list is a tragedy. I have for years now tried to find information on Late member Bojons Method for horizontal tube dipping, he had a complete methods or system that worked great, I have found people who own a CD that he made but are unwilling to share it, not unable
But literally unwilling. Only thing I haven't tried is contacting his daughter but finding her has been impossible for me. It may be easy to do but now that has become a lost system and that to me is unacceptable 

I'm back for one purpose and that is to share what I have learned, when I get better at lure carving, I'm going to share that, I hold nothing back, I've had private messages asking me to stop before, I responded not to kindly.

I remember the original purpose of this site and that was an exchange of knowledge and teaching those that are new, it's how the hobby grows, on here though there has been an impasse, Ego and bickering took over, that has called down a bit.

Just so you know there are many many lure makers out there and they are making incredible lures, they are just not here, some have tried and left but trust when I say
Lure making by hand is alive and well, they just stay away from here. That is troubling for a site built to help others that simply does not.

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This has been an interesting discussion first and foremost!  I appreciate everyone and anyone who is on here willing to share any knowledge or skills they have gained!  I have learned pretty much everything about lure making from this site (and a few others).  I think that even in some of the more 'heated' discussions there is information to be learned.  I've only been here for a year or two and I thank the long term members for answering the constant barrage of questions about the more mundane aspects of lure making (even though many of those questions have been hashed over to death).  

I would consider myself a crankbait maker, as far as custom crankbait maker, that is something I'm just getting started in!  Yes, I did attempt some copy's for myself simply to try and learn the process of carving, painting and finishing.  But, my interest is in playing with designs and combinations of other lures.  I pretty  much only make musky lures 8" or bigger because I'm obsessed with musky fishing.  The trend there seems to be combining aspects of two different lures to make hybrid lures for very specific situations that the fish have not seen.  Like adding double 10 blades to a subsurface 'glider' for example.   Anyway like Erick said, luremaking is alive and well.  There are facebook pages loaded with stunning paint jobs and interesting lures!  Lets keep sharing information and fueling the passion.   

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4 hours ago, Erick Darkman Prado said:

I have been a member since 2005, I don't come on here very often cause I can find better more willing help their places, I'm on several FB pages and the help I got there in 3 years out weight the help I've gotten here in 14 ( I was a lurker for one). That is sad but true.

Side note, I hate the term "Real" cause it come from an authoritative stand point. Who the EF are you? But that's just my issue

I've come back recently myself for one reason, to share the snot out of what ever I know, I'm holding nothing back
One of the pages I follow on FB has my all time favorite rule, the page is about Painting Lures with a airbrush
Their rule, if you post a picture you Must post a commentary on how it was done, if you don't, they remove your post and ask you to post again with instructions. It's sole purpose is to teach, showing your work is secondary. That is something I know would never fly on TU.

I mainly concentrate on Plastics and lead, I'm learning more on hard baits, my ultimate goal is to build swimbaits
Sadly I know where to find information when I get stuck and it's not here. With the exception of Mark Poulson
And Two other members, Cadman and Smalljaw help is difficult 

I'm not a fan of lost knowledge, no matter how simple it is, knowledge list is a tragedy. I have for years now tried to find information on Late member Bojons Method for horizontal tube dipping, he had a complete methods or system that worked great, I have found people who own a CD that he made but are unwilling to share it, not unable
But literally unwilling. Only thing I haven't tried is contacting his daughter but finding her has been impossible for me. It may be easy to do but now that has become a lost system and that to me is unacceptable 

I'm back for one purpose and that is to share what I have learned, when I get better at lure carving, I'm going to share that, I hold nothing back, I've had private messages asking me to stop before, I responded not to kindly.

I remember the original purpose of this site and that was an exchange of knowledge and teaching those that are new, it's how the hobby grows, on here though there has been an impasse, Ego and bickering took over, that has called down a bit.

Just so you know there are many many lure makers out there and they are making incredible lures, they are just not here, some have tried and left but trust when I say
Lure making by hand is alive and well, they just stay away from here. That is troubling for a site built to help others that simply does not.

Erick, your reply made me think of the line by Groucho Marx, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."

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Good thread and I appreciate the on and off topic views.  I am very aware that this craft is alive and well and I was not trying to say that it wasn't.  Having been gone from the site for some time, I was interested in who on here still made crank baits.   I am sure that I am far behind most of you as times change and new ideas have surfaced.  

I will snoop around and post a question or 2 if needed.  

Tally

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Welcome back Tally! I'm still designing baits but I don't carve them anymore. Teched up a little bit and have been using a 3D printer. Its always a new adventure. Good to hear from ya!

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Hey Hughesy.... good to see and hear from you.   "Teched up"  lol.........  like I said, I am so far behind everyone today .  all that painting knowledge and now all you do is click a button lol  just teasing!!

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