Personally, I love to make my lures from scratch, almost every part lovingly hand crafted. And to be honest, wood lure blanks have always seemed like a bit of a cheat’s way into lure making. After all, you just buy, sand, paint, add some hooks, maybe a diving lip and then start catching fish, right?
Errrr… not quite!
Pre-shaped wood lure blanks might save you a bit of work on shaping lure bodies. They’ll certainly help ensure your wooden lure bodies are properly shaped. And they make it easier to create lots of identical lures (or close to it).
But wood lure blanks are still not a never-fail silver bullet! You still need to figure out how to get the best out of them. It’s rarely just a case of adding hooks and paint. There’s usually quite a bit more to consider
5 Tips For Using Wood Lure Blanks
Here are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind once you’ve bought a pile of wood lure blanks:
Tip #1: Weight Makes A Huge Difference.
Correct weighting is often required to get wooden lures swimming properly. How much weight you’ll need and exactly where it needs to be added depends on your goals.
For example, if you are making casting poppers your wood lure blanks might be weighted more heavily towards the tail. For glide baits you might need to get the blanks sitting horizontal in the water. And for crankbaits you might want some weight strategically placed to balance the diving lip.
If you’re experimenting with weight, don’t forget to take into account the weight of through wires, hooks, screw eyes and rings, rattles or any other hardware you might use.
Tip #2: Tow Point And Hook Hanger Location
Where you locate your tow point and hook hangers makes a huge difference to the action and balance of your finished lures. In fact, you can create two completely different lures just by changing the configuration of your tow point and hook hangers.
For some lures, like the good old lipless crankbait, the tow point is on top of the lure. But for others like wakebaits it might be just beneath the tip of the nose.
Tip #3: Get Your Through Wire And Bib Slots Straight
When you hand make your own lure bodies it’s easiest to cut slots while the wood is square. Then you can shape the body afterwards knowing the slots will be straight and properly aligned.
But with pre shaped wood lure blanks things can be a little more challenging . Mis-aligned diving lips, in particular, are a major cause of crankbait failure. And a mis-aligned through wire can throw just about any lure off balance.
I often use tape to help get this right. Just lay it out, remove and replace the tape until you’re satisfied it’s close to perfect. Then mark and cut and you’re good to go!
Tip #4: Eyes, Weights And Rattles
Once again, it’s important to get these properly aligned if your lure is going to look and work properly. And once again, I’d normally do this and drill any required holes while the wood was still square. Then I shape the body afterwards.
But with pre-shaped wood lure blanks you’ll need to lay these out with tape first. Then mark the locations of the holes with the point of an awl or a nail. During drilling, you need to find a way to hold a non-square blank securely. A good way if you’re doing lots of lures is to make an epoxy jig to hold them.
The location of weights can also be determined prior to drilling by using tape or hot glue. Simply attach the weight with the tape or glue and place the lure in water. If it doesn’t float the way you need it to, remove the weight and move it around until you’re happy with the result. Then mark and drill.
Tip #5: Buy More Wood Lure Blanks Than You Need
Be prepared to experiment until you get your lures working the way you want them to. That may mean screwing a few up along the way.
Commercial lure blanks are pretty cheap, so the best tip I can give is to buy a few more than you think you’ll need. This allows you to mess about with weight and hook locations etc until you find what works for a particular blank.
Once you get the results you’re after, be sure to record what you’ve done. Next time you buy the same wood lure blanks you’ll know exactly how to weight them and where to put the hooks!
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