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Dink Mendez

Got an Aquarium-Let's learn the Fritts Trick

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I want to balance my crankbaits correctly. One method that has me thinking cloudy is the Fritts Method. Items I have and ready to use.

1) Aquarium and Temp controlled

2) Rubber band

3) Bass casting sinkers

I'm wanting to balance my Poe's Crankbaits and Bagley Crankbaits. I was told to use the bass casting sinker ( the kind with a line tie on it )

run the rubber band thru the sinker. Now submerge the bait down to the bottom of the tank. Loop the rubber over the bait, like a strap. Then adjust the bait till it looks balanced. Then mark the place and location on the bait. That will find the location where to add the wieght.

Well. here is the things that have me confused.

1) When I loop the rubber band over the bait- Does the rubber band go around the bait between the belley and bill?

2) What is considered a balanced look on a bait?

3) What is a good water temperture to suspend lures at?

I know these question are differcult. But in California there is no pros that use crankbait to learn from. I have read the 56 degree water is good for suspending and also I heard that 60-65 degree water makes a good all around baits.

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Fritts never weighted his baits to suspend for competition. Cold water is denser than hot. Therefore if you get a lure to suspend at 45 deg. then is will rise in 65 deg. water. True suspending lures are usually made for a 10 deg. range. IE between 40 and 50 deg. water. A really slow rise is fine.

Get some lead solder and wrap it around the front hook. Chill your water and put the lure in the tank. Trim off LITTLE pieces of the solder until the bait sits the way you want it in the water. Take off the solder and weigh it. This is how much weight you will need for that individual bait.

Fritts chest weighted baits to get the lure to have the diving angle that he desired. Increasing the diving angle allows the bait to reach its maximum depth quicker and stay on the bottom longer before it starts to rise toward the end of the retrieve.

Skeeter

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Hi Skeeter,

Thanks for the tips. However, I would you fine the location where to put the lead. Because for example. on the 400 series crankbaits, there alot of room to drill the hole and add lead.( between the belly hook and bill ) My understanding is the location is very critical to acomplish the balance of the crankbait.

Now as for suspending. I try to make the baits suspend at 65 degree water. Reason being, to keep the bait down a long as possible. The spotted bass where I fish don't see reaction baits a 15-18 feet of water. Thanks for your tips SKEETER, I just wish more members would particapate.

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hey Dink,

I think the particpation is excellent on TU.

You asked a specific question about David Fritts and who better to respond to that question than Skeeter. Almost everyone else here would probably have been guessing.

Tally

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Hi Tally,

I agree that Tackle underground is the best web site for subjects like this one. However, a guess might bring on more thought to the subject. That's all I'm saying.

Furthermore; there is alot of methods to this subject of wieghting down lures. In the east and south of the country, many do use this tactic with great success. Due to the fact that many more anglers use crankbaits verus the west cost that use more finesse type techniques. Method and stratagies of those that use crankbaits are different. So in doing so, the more ideas and guesses, the more question arise to achieve the best resaults. Thanks again for your time.

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Dink,

Tally is right, the participation on this site is tremendous. Do a search for your subject on this site and you will get allot of posts to read. You are confusing chest weighting with weighting a bait to suspend. Chest weighting is used to just get the bait to sit in the water at a desired angle before you start cranking the lure. There are other reasons also, but it is not to get the bait to suspend. To get a particular lure to suspend and to get the angle that you prefer takes allot of trial and error. Since wooden crankbaits are all different in some way or another, they need to be adjusted one at a time. What works for one Poes 400 may not work for a different Poes 400. There has been allot written on chest weighting crankbaits. They all tell you what the pro is looking for, but give very little detail on how to do it. This is because it has taken them allot of trial and error to learn how to do this properly. It is a slow process to do it right. Tally makes one of the best lures for a very slow rise that I have ever fished. I took one of his baits out for a test and his weighting is about as close as anything I have used. In 71 deg. water his bait would rise about 1 ft. every 6 seconds. That my friend is pretty darn slow. Tally has put a ton of time in on getting a bait to rise slowly. His baits won't hit the 18 ft. mark that you are trying to achieve. But he definitely has the weighting down very very well. The amount of time that he spent getting his baits to do that would make most people quit making crankbaits all together. You have to really love crankbaits, to spend that kind of time. Tally will tell you that I taught him how to do all of this, but I really did not. I just gave him some ideas and principles. He did all of the hard work himself. I got your message. I would be glad to help you too.

Skeeter

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I'm with Skeeter about balancing versus suspending. It sounds like your main criteria should be to suspend. Suspending baits will dive a couple of feet deeper than floaters so that should help you get down. One "X Factor": what is the temp at the depth you want the crank to suspend? There can be a big difference between the surface and 20 ft. A slow sinker will probably reach a depth naturally where colder water suspends it. Most lakes, most days, it's probably unknowable without a temp gauge on a 30 ft line. And if you know, do you have the right crank in the boat? As a practical matter, I'd chest weight a crank to suspend and then use suspendots to fine tune it for colder water. If you really want to go deep you can also try sinkers. As long as you're fishing deep open water, snagging is not an issue. But too much weight will kill the action, so you need to be a little conservative. A good alternative is to use a line weight a couple of feet ahead of the crankbait. There was an article on this in a recent Bassmaster Mag where a couple of tournament anglers had been doing that and cleaning up. Oh, btw - use fluorocarbon line!

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2) What is considered a balanced look on a bait?

3) What is a good water temperture to suspend lures at?

Dink some people like nose down some like a neutral position you have to let the fish tell ya.

Skeeter was dead right on the dive angle. Also the reason for getting a bait weighted right is if you ever watch Fritts crank he isnt randomly throwing he has a specific target it mind when he throws, he crashes the bait into it(ie:stump or brush pile) and stops the bait it either sits there or S L O W LY rises keeping it in the strike zone instead of a rapid ascent to the surface, really good for inactive fish.No reason to wait when the fish are active.

We take a marker and put the temp we weighted for on the bill.

Fritts several years ago made a video about weighting crankbaits I dont know if it's still available.

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I bought 2 years ago on E-Bay a Poes 400 and it stated that the lure was weighted the Fritts way. Now Im not sure of the amount of weight they placed in the lure or if it truly is the Fritts way, but I can tell you, all they did is drill a hole into the SIDE of the lure between the belly hook and the diving lip. A little epoxy and paint and a clear coat is all they did. Unfortunately this lure has yet to pay off for me so it made its way to the BACK of my tackle box! As far as I was concerned and from what I heard this helps to make the lure get down faster and stay down. I also hear that it also helped it suspend a bit with the lure facing in the downward position. I dont agree with that. I never really fished this lure as a suspending lure, personally the added weight is NOT to make it suspend. Thats just IMHO! I would summise to get a Poes to Suspend, More Belly weight would be the approved method, not in the placement between the belly hook and bill. I havent tested this and unfortunately, I dont think Im going to try it. ( SORRY! ) But I would be interested in anybody's findings on this. :D

I currently own about 40 of the Poes 400 Crankers and most all of mine are balanced. I throw them out, they sit well in the water and they start their desent on the first turn of my reel For me to play with a Poe's 400 to suspend, I can see it being very costly. I bought a few on E-Bay and up in my area they are still selling them in the $7.00 to $8.00 range. I can see me throwing that money away. :D You want the weight to give it a slow rise back up so you can crash it into things and have it rise around the stumps and cover.

So if I can take a stab at some answers here, the answer would probably be Yes the rubber band strap is between the belly and the bill as it was on mine.

As far as a Balanced look, placing a weight there will not neccesarily balance your lure, you are adding more weight to fight a couple of things. The weight will add to the front of the lure a more downward start off to get the lure down quicker. A downward lure will be able to bump and crash into things without fouling up. The weight is also fighting the natural buoyancy of the wood to give it a slower rise up. One of the great successes of a Rattle Trap is the fact that the direction the lure is positioned.. downwards. The downwards position gives this lure an added advantage in getting through cover without fouling up. Again the weight of the Poes to put this in the Downward position. Get through cover and structure without fouling up.

As far as testing temps, my suggestion is to figure out the temperature you will be fishing at where you will be targeting suspending fish and go with that. For instance, if last year you had to try and target suspending fish at 70 degrees, thats my starting point. All that is is good notes and fishing logs while on the water. Build your lures around the needs that you figured out.

Another idea for those out there that need to get a crank bait down deep, cut the hook off of a 3/4 once spinner bait. Im sure you have a few with rusty hooks! :D Take a set of needle nose pliers and turn the wire over where the hook was. Place an O ring to the Spinner where you just turned it over with the pliers. Tie the spinner to your line like you normally do. Attach a 2 foot leader at the O-Ring and attach a crankbait to the end of that. You will be able to countdown and get a crankbait to any depth you want. I have used that method with a lot of success.

Hey Dink, As far as this website goes, I know a lot of guys tune in to this site, and tune into the postings. Some and most of us have the answers to questions, sometimes we dont. Sometime questions are difficult to answer, like yours are. If I can offer my two cents.. I will! But I am in no way a "know it all!" I am still a learner and a beginner and I will always pass on what I know and have learnt! I also think that the make up of this site is one and the same. But I stuck my neck out there with this post, a lot of guys wont do that, ( we have to have some lurkers here that never post ) but, a lot of guys here are in the building of their own creations and not modifying other brands. Again my opinion and you guys can chop my neck off now!! But your answers are gonna require some detailed work, that personally I havent done!

Cody

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Dink , Bassmaster did a couple of articles around 1993 or 94 on how Fritts modifies his crankbaits . I played around with some Poe plugs back then and it was definately a trial and error thing . A swimming pool would be more beneficial for tuning than an aquarium . I took some Poe plugs and unscrewed the belly hook hanger eye removing it from the bait . I then took some round split shots in various sizes and pounded then flat with a hammer and drilled center holes in them the diameter of the hook hanger shaft.

Try the various size lead weights by putting on the hook hanger and threading it back into the lure . Experiment until you get the desired bouyancy. If you get one that makes the lure slowly sink at the desired depth you can slowly file off lead from the flat side of the flattened split shot until it stops sinking and suspends . When you get one thats close suspend dots can be added/removed also to speed up the processor make adjustments for changing water temps.

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Dink,If I remember correctly the specific question you ask me in chat the other night was "how to wieght deep diving crankbaits so they will suspend"the subject was brought up because we were discussing some baits that I had in hand that belonged to Fritz for custom paint.

If i remember correctly,the first thing I typed in response to your question was that it was highly unusual to attempt to suspend deep runners.ie 14 to even 20 foot running depth.

If I remember correctly my comment was that most wieghting on baits of that running depth was in order to enhance the action and performance of those baits.

If I remember correctly I also explained that altering bait performance could be very complex and requires alot of knowledge of the anatomy of the bait you want to modify as well as knowledge of what effect the modification would have.

I gave you some information that was on a very basic level and was aimed at wieghting stick baits(jerkbaits)baits running less than 10 feet.

This was in an attempt to help you get your feet wet and familiarize you with some "tinkering" if you will,of baits.(ie.drilling holes/placing wieght in proper lacation/adding correct amount of wieght)I realize how easy it is to ruin a bait and advised you to do some research and try to get some basic experience first.THE METHOD I EXPLAINED TO YOU was not intended to miss lead you, nor was it claimed to be Fritz or any other particular anglers method.

I also remember advising you of the wealth of knowledge here at TU along with suggesting that you make a post and also search the site thoroughly"sp" and you could probably find the answers.(which you have done)

The question you ask was a very hard question for anyone to specifically answer.I only meant to give you some info to help you get some familiarity with modifying hardbaits.

Dont be discouraged and think that what you want to do is impossible but realize that people such as Fritz/David Write/Mark Davis and other well known crankers do modifications to there baits in order to make them do specific things at specific depths and with regards to specific structure.

Trust me I have seen some strange modifications come across my paint table over the years.As for Fritz,even though he has not been in the "limelght" for a while,he probably knows more about how a deep running crankbait will perform than any man alive.

I do know that as far as deep divers are concerned,casting distance ranks up there with everything else.Wieghting or "loading" deep runners is important to get them down to the depth they are designed to run,while also adding to performance.Of course added wieght will slow the rise also.And the first thing Fritz or any of the other noted crankbait expert will tell you is it starts with a long cast and being able to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.Blades

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Hi Blades and others,

I hope I'm not causing trouble. I don't feel that anybody was trying to mislead me. I appricate everyone thoughts on the subject. I'm just trying to figure out to suspend the crankbaits more effective and accurate. I believe with everyones input, I can get a good strart. I would like to thank every member of Tackle Underground for there support and knowlegde. I put the subject out there to bring thoughts and debate on the subject. So everyone can learn something.

Support out troops!! God Bless this Country!!

Dink Mendez

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To get the bait to suspend you will need to know how much weight is actually in the belly of the 400 or 300 to begin with. Then like I said wrap lead solder around the front hook untill the bait has a really slow rise. The reason that you want a really slow rise is because at 16 to 18 ft. water pressure at that depth will exort its forces on the lure. If it rises up very slowly at 10 ft. then it should just about suspend at 18. Of course you want your water temp in your tank at the temp. that you want. A very slow rise is just fine. You just want the bait to stay longer at a particular depth for a longer period of time than most other crankbaits. Once you have this then drill out the belly weight in the lure and make a weight that is the same weight as that one plus the weight of the solder that was on the front hook. Put that weight in the belly and epoxy it in places. You can add paint to the epoxy before you fill it in the hole and it will hide the place where you put the weight back in fairly well. Drill your hole for the screw eye. Replace the screw eye and the front hook.

Skeeter

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Hi Skeeter,

Thanks alot Skeeter, Now it makes alot of sense now. However, after taking out the belly weight, installing the new weight. Don't I have to drill the hole bigger to accomidate the new belly weight? What are your suggestions on this process? What kind of paint mixes well with Devcon.

Thanks Skeeter, for your knowledge and time!

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Here is what I would do. Take out the screw eye in the belly of the lure. Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the side of the bait about 3/8 above the bottom of the lure. The weight in a 400 goes about 1/2 inch up inside of the lure.You want to insert the new weight above the belly weight and Epoxy it in. You want the weight in the center of the bait directly above the belly weight (or maybe alittle forward) to keep the lure ballanced. Make sure that you completely coat the inside of the hole with epoxy so that water does not get to the wood of the bait. The lure should sit fairly level by doing it this way. I would use Devcon 5 minute epoxy for putting in the weight and add some black paint to it when I mix it. Any paint will work. That way when you put in the weight and add the epoxy it will seal everything up and look like a black dot on the side of the lure. Drill a hole where the screw eye goes about the same size of the existing hole about 3/4 of the way up into the lure. The reason is because in the original bait the screw eye goes beyond the end of the original weight. By doing this you are dirlling a hole through the second weight also for the screw eye threads to go. Once you get everything together and you are ready to test the lure make sure that you put the screw eye along with all of the split rings and hooks back onto the lure. The split rings and #2 hooks on a 400 weight close to 1/8 of an oz. This weight needs to be included. Put the lure in your tank and test it. Remember that cold water is denser than hot. If the bait sits perfectly suspended in a foot or two of water then it will probably start to sink at 18ft. I would get a slow rise out of the bait and call it quits. If you have to adjust the weight then you can drill out a little of the lead and put the black epoxy back in to seal it up and test again. You have the black dot on the lure so you know exactly where to drill. Do this untill it is like you want it. I would start this process out with a 1/8 oz weight and adjust from there. Doing it this way is tedious. But by just using a rubber band on the lure with a weight will not make it as accurate as you can get it. You are drilling out wood and replacing it with epoxy. The epoxy will be heavier than the wood that you drill out. All of that has to be considered.

Skeeter

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Hi skeeter,

This is the greatest information I've ever read. The details are prefect. The light bulb came on skeeter. I'm going to put this method to practice. Tally wasn't kidding around when he said you are the best person to answer the my question. He was RIGHT!!!!

Now I understand the meaning of a " balanced crankbait ". I also understand the difference between balance and between adding weight between the belly hook and bill method. The method by adding weight between the belly hook and bill, will give me a diving angle. And the method you describe is the balance method. These knowledge is great.

Furthermore. do you believe if I suspend the crankbaits in about 60 degrees of water, that would be a good starting point? You said "Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the side of the bait 3/8 above the bottom of the lure." My question is- How deep do I drill the hole? Do I use a 1/4 inch drill bit? Or do I drill about 1/4 inch deep about 3/8 above using a 1/4 inch drill bit? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just what to start of right!

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Dink,

To me a ballanced crankbait is one that has everything in line (lip, line tie, and hook hangers) In looking at it from the front or back, everything is in a straight line. When it sits in the water the tip of the lip is under the water so that as soon as you turn the reel handle the lure starts to dig. The bait does not lean to one side or the other while it is sitting still in the water. This stuff may sound easy, but it is not. When you get it all to come together then you might just have a really fine crankbait.

By putting the weight centered in the side and above the belly weight, then you are centering the weight that is put into the bait. What I mean is that you don't want the bait to lean on one side or the other while it is sitting still in the water. I would drill completely through the bait from one side to the other. This way you can center your weight. The top of the belly weight in a 400 is 1/2 inch deep into the lure. If you make the center of your 1/4 inch side hole at 3/8 ths from the bottom then it will put the bottom of the hole directly on top of the belly weight. If you hit a little bit of the top of the belly weight with the drill press I wouldn't worry about it. The weight in a Bagleys and a Poes is almost the same design. They look like a rivet. The end of the lead has a nail type head on it. Don't forget to remove your screw eye before you drill. And don't forget to add the hooks and all back onto the bait when you test it.

Whatever the water temp will be when you fish this bait is the same temp that you want your tank. In other words ..... if you plan on fishing this bait in the early spring or late fall then the water temp at your lake will be cold or really cool. You will need to have the water temp in that tank within 5 deg. or so of the water temp that you think you will be fishing. If you do it in the summer then your water in your test tank will need to be warmer. I am not familiar with the water temp in your home lake. You will need to find that out. Remember what I said..... you want the bait to have a SLOW rise to it. If you make it perfectly suspend in two feet of water then it will slowly sink at 18 ft. There is a fair amount of water pressure on that bait at 18 ft. It is kinda like the pressure that you feel on your ears when you dive down 12 ft. in a pool.

Chest weighting a crankbait is to increase the dive angle of the lure. The lure will dive deeper and stay on the bottom longer because the dive angle of the lure is increased. It will naturally rise a little slower because you have increased the weight of the entire bait. You have to be careful because if you have too much weight then the lures tail will flip over the head of the lure when it strikes something. The thing will run on its head and not have the maximum action that the lip is designed to give the bait. To really do it right you have to do it on a bait for bait basis. No two baits are alike.

Skeeter

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I printed out your replies skeeter, thanks for the information (even though it wasn't specifically for me)

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Hi Skeeter,

Thank you very much on the advised posted on the forum. I have no more questions. Thank GOD!! I just would like to thank you for the great help on this subject. I believe with pratice, I will get what I want with the information you provided. Thanks again! Furthermore; I would like to thank all the members of Tackle Underground for particapating on this subject. With-out the Tackle Underground Forum, I would have never been able to learn the methods of modifiying crankbaits correctly.

Thanks,

Dink Mendez

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Dink,

I hope everything works out for you. If you have any problems then you know where to find me.

Cullin8s,

I am glad that you printed the information out. It is meant for everyone. Otherwise I would not have put it in the forum. I have learned from you and you have learned from me. That is what this site is all about. I just hope that the informations will benefit you some day.

Skeeter

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Just FYI for those of you trying to catch fish with these baits: Part of the advantage of a slow-rising or suspending big crankbait is that you can hit a stump or bush pile, pause it a second, then SPEED it up, either with a jerk of the rod or by burning your reel. The bait is still in strike zone and near the cover, and the BRIEF pause followed by the JERK or BURN can trigger a reaction strike, even with a fish that is not necessarily active. I have literally talked fish into hitting the back hook of a lure that I know they really didn't want by doing this. Believe Fritts employs this trick as well.

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The bait is still in strike zone and near the cover, and the BRIEF pause followed by the JERK or BURN can trigger a reaction strike, even with a fish that is not necessarily active.

Scoop, right on. This is why I put so much into making my baits have the slow rise. The pause in retrieve I feel is the key. When you pause the bait and it can stay right there, them big fish get the chance to get close for a looksy and when you move the bait again, either by burning, jerking or reeling, the fish hit out of reation. When that bait is bumping the bottom and stirring everything up, those fish investigate and the lures that rise like a rocket loose the apeal to the fish. I always put a pause in my retrieve with cranks about every 3-4 turns of the reel. Hang on, because it is after the pause that those fish slam the bait.

Good thread guys, I am learning more and more.

Tally

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Went to one of the baasmaster univ. once Fritts was there,afterwards you could talk one on one with the pros.We were talking to Fritts trying to pick his brain on crankin he didnt give much and I dont blame him but one thing I did find interesting was he said when he hits an object with his bait he could let it sit there and hit the object most times 5 to 6 times before crankin past it,his ability to feel with a crank is amazing.Has anybody heard if his sight is any better ?

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