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Tally

Any "REAL" custom crank bait makers left?

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After reading post after post, who considers themselves as a "REAL" custom crank bait maker?  The one's that are addicted?  The ones that want to make that special crankbait that starts with an idea, then to design, cutting the bait out, weighting, choosing the right lip, paint pattern to clear coat...... The ones that waste countless baits from trial and error.  

I see some of the "old" timers still around, but not as many as I thought.  Maybe we all got burnt out a bit?  I do see a lot of new faces and am curious, just how many really consider themselves as a "true" custom crank bait maker?  I do not see the questions on the ins and outs of a crank bait which surprises me.  Just because it is shaped and has a bill doesn't make it "special"........... 

TU was the place to be when I started in 2003 and I owe this site and the members at that time a huge thank you.  I am contemplating on sharing a way to duplicate a "flatside" bait that will cut your time down for a minimal cost.......  I spent months figuring this out and at one time a lot of members wanted to know what I was doing, but I never would reveal the process.  Skeeter and Coley (who has passed ) were the only 2 that knew as I owed them for the wealth of information we shared.  

So how "addicted" are you?

Tally

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I'm new to the board and to bait making (4 months).  At this point I don't consider myself a true custom bait maker, but figured I'd comment because I certainly qualify in the addicted category.  Also, as a younger guy (30), for the hobby anyway, I wanted to at least demonstrate there are some younger guys still wanting to master and pass on the craft.  I have put in a lot of hours to learn the craft the right way, but the more I realize how much I have to learn.  Before I started even making baits I spent a couple hundred hours reading books, articles, and forum threads on crankbait building, airbrushing crankbaits, and hydrodynamics.  I've literally changed my sleep and work schedule to allow me to dedicate the time I need to become a master of the craft, and spent a lot of time and money transforming my garage into a bait making workshop.  I've gone through about 20 blanks in 6 different designs so far, and I have many that work decently but only have 1 design at this point that I'm preparing to be able to reproduce.  A couple of the other designs are close, but still not quite getting the action that I want. 

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Tally, I started here in 2003 as well and Skeeter was my mentor thru the early learning.   I spent many hours on the phone with that guy getting grilled on the proper way to build a bait.  I still use the same methods today and I do consider myself a custom builder.   I'm still hand carving all my baits and can build about 30 different baits from top water to true deep runners.   I answer questions on here from time to time but seems most guys now only paint plastic blanks.   I hate painting so I have nothing to offer most of the new guys paint better than me.

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Benton B.... you learned fro the best IMO.  I don't remember us talking back in the era but there was a lot going on.  I believe you are right on most just wanting to paint blanks but hell, that is where the real fun is!!  So they are just painters and not custom crank bait makers and thats ok too.   I would like to see some of your work!! 

Tarheelfishing 88, age has nothing to do with it.  Wanting to build  a great lure you take pride in  .....is!!  Being addicted has no cure lol....You live in NC and that is where Skeeter was from.  They tell me he doesn't frequent here much but if you see him on..... ask him questions!!!  If he thinks you are doing your homework, he will help you.  Until then, post any question you have.  I am sure Benton and I will be more than happy to help you.  

Personally, I thought this thread would light up, but maybe folks don't visit that often and it will take a week or so for everyone to post.

Tally

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Tally there are still quite a few guys building their own, Custom Plug makers if you will,  and yes the site has changed a lot over the past 10 years. Do a search on Hunting Cranks, Vodkaman has done a lot of extensive research & development and quite a few guys contributed with valuable information, the archives on this site are full of so much information it cannot be explained. The thing I see these days like someone mentioned is peoples time, a lot of people today do not have the time to commit in todays hectic world, then you factor the time and effort it takes, and the steps needed to build a plug the right way not many will invest that for what they get back, although there are still a few diehard Crankbait junkies left. LOL I'll tell you about it sometime when we talk.

I have enjoyed this site & members knowledge tremendously and it has helped me as well as many other guys I know. I've also enjoyed your return, so welcome back. I look forward to talking to you soon, as well as keeping up with your informative posts. Thanks Rich        

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we still build customs for clients to order. to pay bills we have to do production..while we don't build smaller lures,mainly musky/pike baits.yes up here on the great lakes,it is a dying art..society wants everything yesterday.

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People have different goals with bait making and different interests.   Custom becomes a very broad definition depending on the individual's definition.  Some build from the ground up.  Others only paint  blanks, some only repaint high end lures,  etc...     In regards to guys building baits from  start to finish yes still around.    In regards to the forum and what you see several variables are in play.

With social media and the ease one can produce their own content for many makes little sense to participate on a site like TU.   Why not    potentially profit off your work.   Frequently individuals making things are creative people over all.    So recording videos and making their own content just more appealing compared to a "static" forum.      I frequent a few woodworking sites and amazing the numbers of individuals that were newbies asking questions one year and three years later they have you tube channels making appearances at shows, getting shops set up with product, etc...  Also very easy to be right that way as you control the content. 

Compared to 15 years ago their is a lot of information on various sites, you tube channels, etc.. that one can easily go to and not really have to actively participate to get the information.  Early on this was not the case, couldn't search the internet about making a specific style of crank, let alone what are desirable aspects of a bait.   One learned as they went through communication with others as only way to get the information was bouncing ideas off each other as no "encyclopedia" of bait making was really available.   

Forums wax and wane in participation and overall feel.  At times they will be very inviting and draw people in other times they seam dated and not welcoming.  Today most of the forums I frequent are chopped full of pictures and videos in the threads and there is a lot more activity on them. Also more competition out there and sites function for different reasons.   People have all sort of time, lets not kid ourselves, you just have to have a platform that captures and keeps their attention.   With smart phones, tablets, etc.. people now a days follow sites continuously. 

I still make baits from the ground up.   Don't talk with fellow lure makers as much as I did early on and much more inclined to buy baits from guys that have "made it" and check out their product.    Most baits aren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things so have no issue picking up a half dozen to fish or take out to the shop to take apart and see what processes they use. 

 

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1 hour ago, Travis said:

People have different goals with bait making and different interests.   Custom becomes a very broad definition depending on the individual's definition.  Some build from the ground up.  Others only paint  blanks, some only repaint high end lures,  etc...     In regards to guys building baits from  start to finish yes still around.    In regards to the forum and what you see several variables are in play.

With social media and the ease one can produce their own content for many makes little sense to participate on a site like TU.   Why not    potentially profit off your work.   Frequently individuals making things are creative people over all.    So recording videos and making their own content just more appealing compared to a "static" forum.      I frequent a few woodworking sites and amazing the numbers of individuals that were newbies asking questions one year and three years later they have you tube channels making appearances at shows, getting shops set up with product, etc...  Also very easy to be right that way as you control the content. 

Compared to 15 years ago their is a lot of information on various sites, you tube channels, etc.. that one can easily go to and not really have to actively participate to get the information.  Early on this was not the case, couldn't search the internet about making a specific style of crank, let alone what are desirable aspects of a bait.   One learned as they went through communication with others as only way to get the information was bouncing ideas off each other as no "encyclopedia" of bait making was really available.   

Forums wax and wane in participation and overall feel.  At times they will be very inviting and draw people in other times they seam dated and not welcoming.  Today most of the forums I frequent are chopped full of pictures and videos in the threads and there is a lot more activity on them. Also more competition out there and sites function for different reasons.   People have all sort of time, lets not kid ourselves, you just have to have a platform that captures and keeps their attention.   With smart phones, tablets, etc.. people now a days follow sites continuously. 

I still make baits from the ground up.   Don't talk with fellow lure makers as much as I did early on and much more inclined to buy baits from guys that have "made it" and check out their product.    Most baits aren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things so have no issue picking up a half dozen to fish or take out to the shop to take apart and see what processes they use. 

 

I think Travis said it perfectly.

I would just add that this site has always, to me, been about learning and sharing.   There are a lot of "real" custom lure makers here ( Travis mentioned Vodkaman, Nathan is another, there are lots more), but they are all open and sharing of their knowledge.  

When I first came here, I knew almost nothing about making crankbaits, but the members were generous with what they knew, and shared with me, and everyone else here.

Thanks to everyone here,  I now know how to build lures that work' and enjoy doing it.  I want others to have a chance to get the same enjoyment.  To that end, when I build a lure that I think will add to the group, I  post it in the Hard Baits Gallery, along with schematics and explanations, like how to make a crankbait erratic (hunt) by adding moving ballast above the centerline of the bait, or how to achieve a wobbling fall in a spybait by raising part of the ballast above the lure's centerline, and giving it a flat bottom.

 It's not like any of us is going to get rich building crankbaits.  But we can all still get the thrill and satisfaction of catching fish on something we made.

There are lure building tricks and secrets, sure, but, to me,  they really aren't worth much unless they're shared, and that's what makes this site so great.

Edited by mark poulson
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thanks for chiming in.  The response you all gave me doesn't surprise me at all after snooping around and I guess that is why I posted the question.  I certainly was not trying to ruffle any feathers if I did.

Maybe we all took it to the limit years ago and new ideas just aren't out there?  I guess most have just got into the "custom" painting and I understand that.  Painting and coming up with new schemes was always fun to me.  Manufacturers have taken there game to new limits and they owe TU a thank you for that.  I am sure they snooped around here all the time to see what we were doing.

Maybe I just miss the group that put ideas out there and we all gave an opinion and some pretty good minds ran with it.  Plenty of failures along the way, but a lot of fun even with the failures.  I don't think we had many secrets as most of it was posted and hashed out right here.  Although I am sure everyone had something special that they just didn't share.  No problem with that as that is what made what they did special.    If you all remember Blades and Baits (JT), he got soooooooo upset with me and called me the biggest snoop out there.  We still laugh about that today.  There was special nail polish he had found but was discontinued, but he never told me about this.  I called him and said JT, I found some cool polish.  he said, what color is the bottle, what's it look like, who makes it lol......... and most important.  where did I get it?   Long story short..... he could not find it again and it was discontinued and he had been all over the internet looking for it.  I found 30 bottles of it and oh did he beg me to sell him some..........  Please understand, JT taught me so much about painting, I said JT i am not selling you any...... again he was pissed....... I laughed so hard and said JT, I am sending you 15 bottles, NO CHARGE!!  

That was fun days!!  Sorry to ramble and thanks for reading. I am going to start making baits again, but just as a hobby with no intent to sell them.  Just having fun.  I just wanted to find out if there were still a few around I could bounce ideas off of.

For you that posted a reply...... I thank you.  

Tally

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You will see most of the crank baits made in the Musky and Northern lures, most of the guys buy blank plastics and most really know how to paint some beautiful work. Myself I do both Musky to Bass. In fact I am going out to my shop this afternoon to start turning down a 15" crank with internal transfer weight. Most of what I make I start with Cedar then when I get  them working right I make a mold and make them out of plastic. Then I sell them at online or at flea markets which I really enjoy talking to other bait makers.  I started out just making jigs in the 70s then in the mid 80s I cut a dowel  1" long put two hooks on it and on my first cast I caught a nice bass and was hooked after that, I don't know how many different lures I have made but it still is fun still at the age of going on 76 in January.  So the fellow in his 30s have fun and buy the time you get to 70 you might have the next great lure competing with Rapala. I am slowly turning this over to my grandson. Amazing what I have learned on this forum, and passed some stuff along also.

Tight lines to all!

Wayne

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50 minutes ago, ravenlures said:

Just one question has anyone ever thinned out nail polish and sprayed it.

Wayne

Hi Wayne and thanks for joining...... Sad to say I probably have more nail polish than most women or nail shops.  Thin it with lacquer an spray......  warning:  not all colors turn out to be a color you use but here is the trial and error thing.  I was always looking for a great looking sparkle that made my bait look a bit more realistic.  I make a spinner bait that flat catches fish.  It honestly looks and reflects like a shad.  so thumbs up on the nail polish.  Warning #2...... you will get some strange looks in the isle as you try the color on the tip of your nail lol........

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Tally I already did a little girl came up to me and said how come you are looking at nail polish that's for girls well her mom was laughing with me and I said it was for fishing lures and she said I was weird  and walked away me and mom were still laughing.

Wayne

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LMAO..... yep, that is the reaction you get.  Been a long time since I have been in that isle but I imagine there is some really cool polish out there

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I still visit TU every once in awhile to see what is going on. Skeeter ( Jeff ) and I met years ago when I lived in NC. He and a couple of other guys   Rob Cochran ( jawjacker )  James Marshall ( on the line crankbaits ) taught me how to build crankbaits the right way...."Time  and  Thought and never steal someone else's design. I see to many newbies wanting to know " HOW and  NOW " and never putting in the time and effort to learn something that is truly a work of art!! I joined in 2004 when RED was the owner of this site and I have learned from this site also,

There are some great people on this site and WE are all BETTER for it!!Yea there is a few little secrets that are out there, it took me 3 years after a lot of looking and calling to find my topcoat but those folks have since went out of business.  

 I do wish all of you great success with building baits

 

Jeff

RiverValleyCrankbaits

   

 

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3 hours ago, ravenlures said:

You will see most of the crank baits made in the Musky and Northern lures, most of the guys buy blank plastics and most really know how to paint some beautiful work. Myself I do both Musky to Bass. In fact I am going out to my shop this afternoon to start turning down a 15" crank with internal transfer weight. Most of what I make I start with Cedar then when I get  them working right I make a mold and make them out of plastic. Then I sell them at online or at flea markets which I really enjoy talking to other bait makers.  I started out just making jigs in the 70s then in the mid 80s I cut a dowel  1" long put two hooks on it and on my first cast I caught a nice bass and was hooked after that, I don't know how many different lures I have made but it still is fun still at the age of going on 76 in January.  So the fellow in his 30s have fun and buy the time you get to 70 you might have the next great lure competing with Rapala. I am slowly turning this over to my grandson. Amazing what I have learned on this forum, and passed some stuff along also.

Tight lines to all!

Wayne

Happy upcoming Birthday!

 

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Some of us old timers still come around, but as others have said, it’s the nature of forums to age and change. Over time many of the old timers have reduced their presence (you were on of the first really Tally), others have passed (RIP), or gone missing (Craig aka Blackjack aka Nomad?) But a larger issue is that the nature of fishing and the hobby has changed. Soft baits have gone largely to bought molds and injectors, less hand carved and molded baits. A lot of the younger members work on swimbaits rather than crankbaits, and end up doing more foam baits as they are usually more intricate so thus harder to replicate all the pieces by hand. As mentioned above, a large group of newer members are painters rather than builders, using the Chinese knockoffs of existing baits. Nothing wrong with any of it, it just is different from what it was. I think, Tally, you are the equivalent of a grandparent that hasn’t seen their grandchild in 7 years, lol. That little leaguer you remember has now changed into a college student, lol.

 

Mark, as usual, also makes good points. There is so much more information out there between forums, YouTube, Facebook groups, etc. Not the least this site. With that one exception all of our old discussions are still here, so many don’t have a reason to discuss/rehash if they use the search function. Imagine the first two guys working to come up with a wheel. Lot’s of communication, research, trial and error. But once they invent it, a third guy with access to their notes could then make a wheel. But he may improve on the design, or make it more suitable for his needs, and so on. Rick Clunn once claimed that there will really never be any “new” lures. But of course since then entire new categories have developed, like soft-plastic stickbaits, swimbaits, chatterbaits, etc...

 

Just My 2 cents,

 

Clemmy

Edited by clemmy
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Hi Clemmy,

good to see (hear) you.  I probably was one of the first to disappear, I just got burnt out.  But thanks for making me feel really old lol

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There are a bunch of great lure builders here on tackleundergroud. I consider myself a true lure builder. I turn or carve all my lures from cedar. I cut all my own lexan and in some cases metal lips. I paint all my lures myself. I guess alot of people have a different meaning of the word custom. I talked to a guy while fishing a while back, we got to talkin about lures and fishin' and he said he makes lures. So I asked that's awsome, he proceeded to show me some of his lures. I noticed right off that they was a production plastic bait. He said he paints them. His meaning of the word hand made was just painting a lure. Lure makers are a different breed, we've always got an idea for the next big bait and that's the one thing that keeps me making lures. It's the challenge of lure making that keeps me going!

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1 hour ago, foxbites said:

There are a bunch of great lure builders here on tackleundergroud. I consider myself a true lure builder. I turn or carve all my lures from cedar. I cut all my own lexan and in some cases metal lips. I paint all my lures myself. I guess alot of people have a different meaning of the word custom. I talked to a guy while fishing a while back, we got to talkin about lures and fishin' and he said he makes lures. So I asked that's awsome, he proceeded to show me some of his lures. I noticed right off that they was a production plastic bait. He said he paints them. His meaning of the word hand made was just painting a lure. Lure makers are a different breed, we've always got an idea for the next big bait and that's the one thing that keeps me making lures. It's the challenge of lure making that keeps me going!

would anyone have the talent to paint topwater lure blanks like these?

s-l1600.jpg

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You are killing me Clemmy..... "kicked out"  lol..... I just go peacefully lol

That thread brought back memories with all those names.  Talk about talent and great minds being in one forum: WOW!!

I have the bug to start making baits again and really just wanted to see who I could bounce ideas off of.  So far, only 11 members have replied or posted here, 256 views and 20 replies.  Not anywhere near the number I was expecting but I understand the time and effort that goes into creating a "custom" crank bait.  

For the ones that are just lurking, hop in and post.  say hi, ask questions.  Trust me, the questions you have are the same most that are addicted have and yes, I get to learn to.  If you are addicted, there are no dumb questions!!  

Its good to be back and just reading old threads have reminded me of things I have forgot about.

For the ones that replied, thank you.  some new and some old........... just flat awesome!!

Tally

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While there was more information shared back then  to be fair a considerable more occurred off the forum and never made its way onto TU.       
There was a dozen or so that participated in the yahoo chat (with about half an every nigh event) event  and then at one point the private forum via member invite.   

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I don't really count at this point, since I'm rather dormant as a lure-builder at this moment (no workshop! I miss building...), but hopefully within the next six months or so I'll be able to get back to my old lure-building ways.  I was a PVC fan-boy; loved using that stuff (funny thing, PVC dust smells better and better the more you inhale...) because I was impatient and didn't like waiting for wood sealer to cure.  Or dealing with woodgrain.

I think a lot of the really good builders kinda stopped coming online quite as much as the market and forums began to be saturated with knockoff lure blanks that anyone could paint and market as "custom".  The skills required to build a lure from scratch are less in demand since a lot of guys, IMHO, are lazy and don't want to bother learning to build from scratch and would rather just paint something someone else made (more so in the US than overseas).  Many of those who enjoyed sharing their years of knowledge and skills began to find that there weren't a whole lot of people out there who wanted to learn.  So, less time online from the veterans.

That's my read on it, anyway.  Perhaps I'm mistaken, or perhaps things have changed again in the last few years while I've been absent from the online lure-building community.  I do know that there at the end, right before I got burnt out, most of the guys who would ask for help were asking primarily about painting rather than building.  Hence the deductions above.

Anywhoozle.  Cheers, y'all!  Been a while.

Edited by Fishwhittler
Grammar nazism
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