Here’s a lure making tip for anyone wanting to know how to make crankbaits that track straight, have a strong, consistent action and work over a wide range of cranking or trolling speeds.
Now, some of you are probably thinking “For lure fishing, don’t we want our baits to have an erratic, inconsistent action?” And the answer is “Absolutely!”
A lure that dodges, ducks and weaves erratically is the best imitation of a baitfish, which is our goal. And to some extent that result comes naturally when you are making wooden lures.
It’s the unavoidable inconsistencies in handmade lures that give us the results! It’s one of the reasons I prefer to use a crankbait that’s hand made from wood rather than a mass produced plastic lure.
So why would I write an article about how to make crankbaits perform perfectly? Because as lure makers we need to strike a fine balance. To be useful, a crankbait can’t swim to one side, roll over unnaturally or only work at low speed. It needs to be tune-able (is that a word?)
Often, poor performance gets blamed on incorrect weighting, poor design, bad towpoint or diving lip configuration.
But what if you’re using lure templates to duplicate a previous design? You know your lures should work perfectly, because the weight, diving lip and towpoint combination have previously worked.
So where do you start looking if your crankbaits still don’t perform up to expectation?
Symmetry. It’s How To Make Crankbaits Really Perform
Look at the image at the top of this page and imagine it’s a crankbait being pulled through the water. Notice the lure on the right isn’t symmetrical. See the effect? A crankbait with an asymmetrical body always pulls to one side. The worse the problem is, the harder it is to tune.
I know that this seems like basic stuff – and that it’s not sexy. You’re right on both counts. But it’s key to learning how to make crankbaits perform properly at a range of speeds. Oh, and reach maximum diving depth, of course!
The two halves of your lure body must be perfect mirror images when viewed from above, below, front and back. If not the lure will always be fighting the imbalance and won’t perform to its full potential. Simple as that.
5 Tips For Achieving Symmetrical Lure Bodies (And Better Performing Lures)
Keeping things balanced and symmetrical is one of the first things I teach newbies learning how to make crankbaits. But it’s worth reiterating, even for the more experienced among us.
- Start with square wood. This makes is easier to get your diving lip, through wire, weights, rattles and other fixtures properly aligned.
- Keep the blank square in cross section for as long as possible. This makes it easier to keep the balance, just rounding off the body shape near the end.
- Once you start shaping, remove a little from each side at a time, taking lots of light, controlled cuts.
- As you shape, continuously inspect from above, below, front and back to ensure you’re keeping everything in balance.
- A final check should be done after sanding, in case you’ve accidentally changes the shape while smoothing down the wood.