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I came to write this article after deciding to try my hand at making some crankbaits of my own. I wanted something no one else had. So I rounded up the materials I thought I would need: a few pieces of basswood, a piece of lexan, some screw eyes, and a few simple tools. I now had a pile of materials and no idea where to start. That's when I found Tackleunderground.

I spent the next few days reading thread after thread. I was amazed at all the great tackle makers out there and how willing they were to give out their expertise. I was now filled with more questions than ever. Do I even have the skills to make a bait? What style bait do I want to try? Rattles or no rattles? What color? and the list went on. I decided that I had to at least give it a try. A four inch shallow running minnow bait with no rattles and a black and silver shad style paint job. Sounds easy enough.

So I was off and running like a heard of turtles. I made a pattern out of an old cereal box (I prefer Cheerios), traced the pattern onto the basswood block and began to cut it out. I don't have a band or scroll saw, so a coping saw did the trick. Now on to the shaping of the bait, my Dremel tool and some 150 grit sand paper did the trick. I was amazed how easy it was to get the desired shape. I now thought how do I cut the slot for the bill? So I was back to Tackleunderground. After reading a few posts I realized I should have done this prior to shaping. Now what? Do I start over or try to cut the notch on a round surface. I chose the latter, needless to say it didn't turn out so well. I was now back to square one ( the turtles had now passed me by). I managed to get another bait cut out with the notch. The shaping went well and I now had a bait ready for a bill.

The bill shaping was another animal to tackle. How would I do this? What shape? So back to Tackleunderground. Again after reading a few posts I was able to come up with a plan of attack. I made another pattern and traced it onto the lexan. I used my coping saw to cut out a rough shape. Next I shaped the bill with my Dremel and wow how easy that was. I was now ready to attach the bill to the bait. I mixed up a small amount of epoxy and placed the bill in the slot. A little eyeballing and it was straight. Now I had to wait for the epoxy to set-up. This was the best part of bait making, I sat back with my favorite adult beverage and watched glue dry. Next, I attached the screw eyes with a little more epoxy. The bait was ready for paint.

Since I am definitly not an artistthe first step of painting was to go Tackleunderground. I read many posts on painting baits. I thought I had a bunch of questions before, but that was nothing compared to what I have now. What kind of paint? What primer? What clear coat? I decided on createx for paint and primer. I primed the bait with two coats of white. Next the silver,started on the back and faded to white on the belly. A little black over the back, and now it was starting to look like a real lure. I added some gills with red, and eyes with white and black. The painting was done. It was not as elaborate as most of the baits on Tackleunderground, but it worked for me.

Last but not least it was on to clear coat. I had read that Devco 2 ton epoxy was the clear coat of choice. I don't have a turner. So a little research and I found a jig and lure finish in Jannsnetcraft. It is a one part epoxy that brushes on smooth (no brush marks). After a few coats of the finish, the bait was done. All that was left was to add split rings and hooks.

I could not have done this with the help or Tackleunderground. I want to say thanks to all of you for posting on this site. I have learned a lot and now have an addiction. I have made more baits over the winter and found that with the more I make the faster it goes ( I am now just out in front of the turtles) Keep up the awesome work, and thanks again.


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