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  1. Typically, I see short strikes as an indication that you're close to what they want, but not quite there. When I'm running into this, my two moves are generally to change color, or speed up my retrieve. But on the water, I don't usually have the option to redesign a lure like you're talking about. To me, short strikes are a day to day thing, but you seem to be experiencing it across multiple fishing trips, so I'm thinking maybe the action needs to be either amplified or toned down a bit. You might consider moving your ballast forward or rearward in the bait just a tiny bit and see if that makes a difference.
  2. Looking at the shape of the front section, the middle of the bait is the highest point, and the ends are the lowest, meaning you have buoyancy low (the ends) and weight high (the middle). My thought is to distribute your weight more to the ends, but not necessarily the same at each end. You might need more to the front and less to the back. It might even mean using a less dense wood, so that you can have a greater difference in density from top to bottom.
  3. You will find that different colors, even in the same brand, need widely different amounts of air pressure and thinning. I use a lot of Createx and Wicked, and some colors like moss green are fine at low PSI straight from the bottle with my setup, but other colors, especially anything with pearl, needs a lot of pressure and thinning. Along with that, I need to get up around 20 or 30 PSI to shoot well for some colors, but others shoot better way down around 5. It also depends if I'm throwing down a solid base coat on a whole bait (higher PSI) or trying to do small details (lower PSI). Taking notes and recording what gives you good results and what didn't work will help a lot.
  4. If you have a good centered reference point at each end, use something with a straight edge that will cast a straight shadow. If you can get your bait securely held in place, you can use the shadow to draw your line. The trick will be keeping everything squared up and aligned properly. That said, I only make flat sided baits, or paint plastic blanks, so it might not be as simple as it is in my mind.
  5. Have you ever thought about angling the bill backwards just a tiny bit to get a wakebait? It seems that might give it just a tiny bit of lift, and you could keep the same slim profile you want. Think of a Jitterbug lip. You wouldn't want to go that extreme, but it's angled backwards like that.
  6. Just got back to checking on my experiment. Left a Z-Man TRD laying in a mixing cup of hardened epoxy for a month. No reaction at all.
  7. That's the explanation I was expecting! Thank you! The first one left me a little disappointed...but you didn't let me down.
  8. The part of getting into painting that was the hardest for me was choosing a clear coat. There are tons of options, and they all have positives and negatives. I'm going to guess that at this point you don't even know enough to know what terms to search for. Here's some quick guidance on topcoats. There are tons of options. Concrete sealers - I started out using these (try searching concrete sealer or GST) It was really easy to use, dip and hang, and gave me great results, but I didn't care for the fumes. Epoxies - The downside is you have to mix two parts together, and it's a brush on application, so you can't dip baits. Some require a lure turner while they dry, others don't. But they generally don't have dangerous levels of fumes, and the results are really good. (Search for epoxy, Devcon, there's are several others) There are some others that I haven't tried yet. Good search terms would be Moisture Cure, Etex, Dick Nite, KBS, or MCU.
  9. Predator's blanks are the real deal. I have vacuum formed stencils made from a pre-rap wart, and they snap right onto his blanks. Putting them on a more recently made wart, you can feel the stencil flexing to conform to the lure. I think part of it is the bill angle is slightly different. I can't see the difference with my eye, but it's there.
  10. That's good to hear. I've been leaning toward epoxy as a topcoat anyway. It seems to be more durable than anything I've tried that was dipped. I generally don't store them together either, but sometimes rods get shoved into the rod locker in a hurry, and plastics come in contact with other baits. Better safe than sorry.
  11. Since I'm working from home "until further notice", I have some extra time to play around. No more hour drive to work and back. Doing an experiment this week to see if my epoxy topcoat will react with traditional soft plastics or elaztech baits. Going to leave them in contact for a week or so and see what happens. Has anyone tried this with other topcoats? Looking for good and bad reactions. Stay safe everyone!
  12. I agree with Mark. Your lure is too hot. I used to do that all the time. I actually found that the powder coating stays on better in a thinner coat. Thick coats tended to chip off easier. Some of my best jobs, the powder just barely starts to melt when I dip - it still looks powdery on the surface. Then it fully melts to the surface hanging in the oven. I usually do six to ten dozen 1/8 and 1/4 oz jig heads once a year, in multiple colors. I find that different colors of powder take different amounts of heat to start melting to the jig. It's just trial and error to figure out how many seconds to hold each one over the heat to get the perfect result.
  13. Just a thought...If you suspect your band saw is not cutting perfectly straight, could you cut the lip slot, then flip the bait over and repeat the cut from the other side? If that evens it up, compared to baits cut once, then you're probably right about it being out of kilter. If there's no change, that probably isn't the problem.
  14. Paint sounds expensive, but 2 oz. paints a lot of baits. Even for doing a full white base coat, I only use 5 to 8 drops per bait, depending on bait size. And I still end up shooting some into my waste jar. It ends up being one of the least expensive items once you are stocked up. Blanks, clear-coats, and hooks will all set you back way more than the paint.
  15. For your first baits, use Devcon 2 Ton. There is a ton of information here about it - what people like and don't like. The reason I suggest this for your first baits is that it is the low cost, and that it's easy to find, and the finished product is high quality. There also isn't a lot of equipment needed to do a few at a time. Some other clear coats require turners, UV lamps, or special storage. It wouldn't be my choice if I were doing hundreds of baits, but getting started it is a great option. Do a few baits, and if it's something you will stick with, then get a turner and start exploring other options.
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