Weighting questions??

Discussion in 'Tackle Making' started by fugarwi7, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. fugarwi7

    fugarwi7 Lumberjack

    Okay all you pro crank builders, how do you determine where and how much weight to place in a crank bait? I rough cut 8 baits yesterday and I need to add weight (and will substitute/add rattle tubes in two). What things should I consider before adding weight? Two baits are large shad style baits for musky made with cedar and two smaller versions made with poplar. I also made four minnow baits (Reef Runner style), two with poplar and two with balsa (rattles for these 2). If I guess at the weight, do I do a float test first with no lip or hooks? Will those two components change the attitude of the bait if added later rather than tested with them attached? Should I seal the baits with a sanding sealer prior to a tank test or will they dry without worry? What affect will three coats of epoxy have on bouyancy...I assume it will add a little? If I need to add additional weight after the fact, what is the best way to do this...drill out and start over?

    I understand how to drill, glue and seal...I am more concerned with placement and how to determine how much weight. My initial thought is to acheive upright bouyancy and maybe even neutral for the musky baits...I realize there are several questions asked but any thoughts, tips or recommendations to point me in the right direction is greatly appreciated.

    And one last comment on my thoughts at this point of my newest obsession (lure building): Reflecting back on my weekend spent building a drying wheel, gathering specialty finishing goodies, placing a $100 order for components from Rollie & Helen, cutting these 8 lure bodies and now asking all of these questions, I can't help but recall a quote from a very early post in this forum (paraphrased): "...soon you will be the guy covered in sawdust checking out the tool section of the local hardware store....be very, very careful, this stuff is addicting" Well, I can't think of any truer words spoken!! Thanks Vince! ;)
  2. And the next thing you know, you're in the fabric department fondling the lace you're considering for painting scale effects, while all around you middle-aged women stare at you and wonder about your masculinity.:D :D :D

    Fugawari, I usually only weight my cranks if I have a problem with them staying "centered" while trolling at high speed. Over all, I've had to weight very few of my cranks, especially those made of poplar with the appropriate lip size.

    However, as you said, you can get a bit more depth, more control out of an "edgy" bait (that wants to blow out of control easily while retrieving or trolling), and neutral buoyancy for cranks and larger minnow-shaped baits which can be deadly for casting applications.

    Its hard to speak in general terms because each bait configuration is different, but there are a few rules.

    Try to keep the weight in the lower half of the bait. In other words, toward the belly of the bait. Otherwise, it will tend to roll over.

    For musky cranks, I like muzzleloader roundballs and other muzzle-loader bullets. They're easy to find, uniform in weight and if you get a couple different sizes of forstner bits, you can drill just the right size hole with a minimum of "tear out" around the hole.

    How much weight? That's the magic question and you'll have to experiment a bit. Generally, I like to use only as much as absolutely necessary to stabilize the bait or get the desire buoyancy or diving effect.

    Where to place the weight? I'm sure there are a variety of opinions, but placement is a key question because it can have an effect on the action of the bait.

    For diving cranks, I like it behind and in front of the belly hook. That way the bait tends to want to go down naturally.

    For Grandma style baits, which I call "minnow baits" I like some forward and some toward the tail, but not too far back. You don't want the bait to fall back tail down when you pause.

    For jerkbaits, I put it in front of the front hook and about 2/3 of the way back toward the tail. I like the jerks to maintain a bit of a nose down posture, so that when you jerk them they tend to dive and suspend and then VERY slowly rise during that extremely short pause between jerks.

    Other times, I purposely break the placement rules by placing two weight in the middle and pretty close together to create a "center axis" around which the bait can pivot during the retrieve.

    I also use Mojo bass weights for smaller or thinner baits.

    You might want to keep notes and create files so that you can duplicate postive results. Its hard to remember which bait has what amount of weight and where after you've covered it in paint and clear.

    Hope that helps.

    Rjbass and some of the others are very familiar with weighting also and I'm sure they'll be able to help too.

  3. fugarwi7

    fugarwi7 Lumberjack

    Hmmm...I've already done that too! :p

    I am taking pictures as I go and taking notes for each as well. When I finish each style of bait in each wood species, the picture(s) along with all notes will be loaded into a word document and a sheet will be created. Then I can print each page and put into a binder for reference. Duplicate copies will also
    be placed near my shower, the throne ("thunder box" for Hazmail ;) ) and one in my truck. When fishing weather allows time on the lake, a copy will also go with me for field notes as well. So much to do and so little time...until my wife divorces me because nothing else is getting done! :D :D

    Thanks for the insight on weighting...I am still hoping to get other opinions and ideas so keep 'em coming!
  4. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    From what little experience I have, I've found all but 2 I've done haven't needed weight added to sit straight in the water. Now how they swim is yet to be seen. I believe the taller flat baits are the ones that will need the weight added or they will lay on their side, like the walleye I made did. However, the long skinny stickbaits like you and I are making for walleye, the hooks seem to be enough weight to keep them sitting upright. My first one, the curved one like the Reef Runner also needed weight just in front of the front hook hanger or else it would lay on it's side. Like I said, I have yet to see how they swim, and I may have to eat my words and add weight to them yet if they are too erratic. We'll see come spring. :D
  5. How do you guys test if it needs weight before the epoxy? Wouldn't the wood just swell up?
  6. I'm sealing mine with Minwax sanding sealer now. Before I started using the sanding sealer I would just put a couple of coats of primer on it and get it out of the water asap and dry it off. I think some of the guys put a seal coat of epoxy over the wood before it gets painted. I'm sure one of the more experienced builders will comment.
  7. If I am building a bait that I haven't built before, I finish it all the way to the epoxy coat before paint, put hooks on it and put it in water to see how it sits. I keep hanging different weights off the belly hook until I get the correct attitude. Then I drill my weight holes and cover them and test it once again. If it is right I mark everything down and build them from scratch drilling the weight holes while the bait is still square. I have done plenty of experimenting testing baits and it can be a process.

    Baits that you turn on the lathe normally do not need weight because the hooks and lips will be enough ballist to keep them straight. Those type of baits would need weight if you want tail weight for top water "walk the dog" type of baits or if you want a crank bait that suspends.

    Hope this helps.

  8. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    Same as rjbass, I put on an epoxy coat, hooks, etc. before testing. If you need to drill a hole for weights, it is much better to do it before applying a detailed paint job. Unless I'm foiling, I'll put white primer (krylon fusion) directly on the wood before the first epoxy coat, or epoxy over foil before painting. So either way, there is a coat of epoxy before paint, and for me, that is the best time to test.