MidMO

Weighting and Balancing Crankbaits

15 posts in this topic

I just recently have started messing around with carving my own crankbaits. A couple have worked pretty well and a couple others haven't. I can already tell that how and where a bait is weighted makes a big difference.

I've done some searches and found some stuff - but not everything all in one thread. So I'm looking for any advice/info that anyone wants to offer.

What shape of lead? Do you pour your own or buy it? Do you drill a hole for it or split the lure and put it completely inside. How do you balance your crankbait?

Anything I'm not thinking about that is important?

Thanks!

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What shape of lead? - depends upon your lure style and size most any will work. I use a cone shape

Do you pour your own or buy it? - yes depending on the lure and availability of sinkers.

Do you drill a hole for it or split the lure and put it completely inside. either or will work depending upon your body style.

How do you balance your crankbait? I use trial and error best starting spot is near the center hook hanger.

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You can buy integrated ballast weights/hook hangers from lurehardware.com. Drill a hole, put in some 5 min epoxy and push it in. If you want it elsewhere, drill a cavity and pour in a measure of melted lead, then cover with wood filler. On baits where you split the body for a through-wire, hollow pockets on both sides and lay in solder strips. As a general rule, keep the ballast low in the bait. Using a digital gram scale to weigh components helps alot in determining how much ballast to use. Too much kills the action, too little makes it impossible to control. I keep a record of each lure so when I get it right, I can repeat it. Lastly, if there's one thing to remember, it's to center all the components. You have to maintain symetry for the lure to swim straight.

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Thanks to both of you - exactly the type of information I was looking for.

One other question - I've been using balsa, can I pour hot lead into a drilled hole in that or does it need to be a specific type of wood?

Thanks again!

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I've drilled and dripped into balsa and it works but it's not secure. If you slap the bait on the water to clear weeds, it will slap the ballast out. So it's prefereable to epoxy in the ballast. And if you're going to the trouble, you may as well split the bait and install a thru-wire for the hardware too. It's as easy to do that as to patch the ballast hole. IMO, soft balsa baits are not very strong unless they are split and thru-wired. Gluing the halves together gives the bait a durable backbone. The new Bomber balsa baits with the polycarbonate backbone use the same principle. The secret for splitting is to scribe a center line around the bait while it's still "square", at the same time you cut the lip slot and before you begin rounding anything. Run a single edge razor blade around the guideline to split the bait neatly.

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All the replies are good....for me I do not melt lead. I think the steps involved to use split shot or other preformed lead are less time-consuming than pouring the lead in. Also, don't have to worry about fumes or burns.

Keep in mind you can take any shape of preformed lead and alter it easily. For example, take the small cone-shaped bullet weight, place on a hard surface (metal table, etc.) and whack it with a hammer a few times. You can make the lead fit the hole you drilled.

You can fill holes with many substances. Melted candle wax, glue, Devcon (also glue, I guess), wood filler, wood plugs, etc.

One note, when working with lead. Doesn't matter whether you are melting or forming. Lead will leave tiny particles on your skin that can be absorbed into the skin. Also, think how many times you touch your mouth, pick your nose, rub your eyes, etc. If you do this on a production basis you need to think about precautions.

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You can use mojo weights (cylinder shaped weights) cut them to lenth and epoxy them in. Then epoxy in the screw eyes after painting.

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kbhere if you put the belly weight a little farther back from the lowest part of belly will you get a tighter wobble and then the oppposite foward more of a wide wobble ? kb

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I've used shot from various shotgun shells. Any where from size 6 to OO. Pick up some cheap boxes from your local gun shop. Carefully cut off the top and remove perectly round pieces of lead. Hope this helps.

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I'm not sure how much effect ballast placement has on the width of the wobble; that seems to be more a function of bill design, though l agree with DD that everything affects everything else. If you ballast after a bait is finished with bill and trebles, and then put the ballast at the point where the bait naturally balances, you get a bait with "X-ing" action, i.e., wobble centered on the natural balance point. That's probably the widest wobble from a given body and bill design. That's just an observation, not necessarily how I want my bait to swim. A majority of wood baits have integrated belly hangers/ballasts, and so are ballasted forward of the natural balance point. And that forward ballasting also pulls the balance point forward. So, you need to experiment. I know everyone tires of hearing that. Along with others, I'm waiting for a Lure God to respond to one of these posts with the Wholistic And Inarguably Correct Theory of Crankbait Design. Lay it out clear and straight. While we're waiting, I have to believe that NOBODY can say for sure how a changed bait will react until they fish it. You may get a desired effect in one area only to find another area is compromised. It's a puzzle you'll never completely solve. That's the fun part.

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You can make your own cylinder weights using Do-It Lure Body Mold Go one step farther and insert a twisted wire hook hanger instead of the pull pin and you have a weighted hook hanger ready to insert and glue in the belly hole

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Drill your placement holes then seal the bait with a bottom coat of paint. After that I take the lure to the lake (with attached hooks and rings) and test different weight and placement locations with those sticky weight strips to get the balance I want. Went the lure looks good in the water, dry it off and use super glue to over coat the strips and see how the lure runs. Make corrections with the weight if it not working and try again. Then when back home, 2-ton the weight strips in place.

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MidMO, what you are getting is a description of how we all say "trial and error" experience. I think that we are all saying is that whether you carve a bunch and weigh them differently in the shop, or carve some and weigh them on the water, that it takes trial and error to get it right. Nice tips on weight and tie at same time, though.

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