Here’s another watercolor glider. Both of the gliders (this one and the yellow tiger one with the crazy eyes) are both weighted with pistol bullets…Hornady 44 caliber, 300 grain, XTP hollow points, to be specific.
I used three bullets, each in the belly near the forward hook, spaced out about ¼ inch apart. That particular weighting was my first attempt and produced excellent results, although I will probably experiment a bit more with both the placement of the weight and the actual amount of weight on future baits.
I also placed 2 lines ties on this bait so that the user can have a bit more control over how high in the water column the bait will tend to run. The screw eye on the forehead of the bait will cause the bait to run about 2 feet deeper. The nose screw eye will cause the bait to stay a bit higher in the water column so the bait can be worked over top of weeds, stumps, shallow rocks, etc.
Here’s a shot which attempts to show white the pearl belly, which is for esthetics mostly, but gives the bait a more natural baitfish look also:
This is a popper spun on the lathe from poplar. Its 11 centimeters long (about 4 ½ inches) and this one was done in irridescent yellow, irridescent green, florescent orange, and opaque black. It’s unweighted. I tied a tail out of flashabou, which is available at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other sources.
Because of the irridescent nature of the paint, it is very difficult to capture the true colors with the camera, but you get the idea.
For what it's worth this popper actually represents the first time I ever painted a bait with water-based paints. I used the Createx brand of paints and I was pleased with how they performed. I have always painted with enamels in the past and am considering making the switch to water based paints for a number of reasons. First, no nasty solvents, because you thin the paints with water and and then clean up the gun ordinary household glass cleaner. Secondly, the paints are much cheaper to purchase and are available locally in a huge color assortment. Finally, the paint booth scenario would have no fire hazards to speak of such as you have with enamel solvents. The paint seems to “atomize” nicely and produce a fine spray, without any “spitting” in the cone of spray produced by the airbrush.
However, there are several distinct disadvantages to the water-based paints…
The stuff goes on in much thinner coats, which slows the painting process. It must be thinned to a point where “running” becomes something you must constantly guard against. Thus, you have to pause occasionally and “flash” the paint with a heat gun to dry the paint before applying another fine layer. Most importantly, I’ve heard from other builders that you must guard against having the clear coat breached, because water tends to run straight through the layer of paint on the bait when that happens, thus potentially destroying the paint job. That potential issue means the final clear coat is a much more critical process. I’m going to build a few large baits, paint them with the Createx water-based paints, fish with them for musky as per normal and see what happens.
Bottom line on water-based paints in my opinion: Tradeoffs, just like you’d figure. I’m still not convinced that this water-based stuff is superior or inferior to enamel paints.
Weatherby, I'll gladly send you that one if you'd like. I'm going to put another couple coats of clear on it just to make sure its bulletproof and its yours.
I'm gone again this weekend so I won't be able to paint, but I did sneak in some late-night hours this week and managed to get 5 more done... a 4 inch general purpose minnow bait, a musky glider, which is a prototype I made this past winter, a Rocket Shad, and another version of the Pregnant Flatshad.
I'm using a new clear coat material and its a lot slower process so it'll take me a few more days before they're done.
I've got three more gliders that I've put off painting until I got used to painting again and I'm really looking forward to getting those done. One of them ran excellent when tested so I built another on the lathe right away. I love throwing jerkbaits and gliders at the muskies and I cannot wait to start slinging these things this summer!
Here's a 4 inch foiled minnow bait that I hope will look like an emerald shad for the Erie walleyes. Its a metallic green with just a light overspray of purple on the sides and belly. I'm giving this one to a friend who lives for that lake:
This one is weighted with lead but only enough to make it suspend. Its made of cherry and is a shade over 3 inches long. I used Createx acrylic airbrush paint and used the irridescent colors:
This is from poplar off the lathe; amber and gold pearls with a white pearl belly. Lol, I've been on a real pearl kick lately. I'm giving this one to my neighbor who loves bass fishing and is kind enough to plow my drive for me every winter:
Its interesting that the smaller baits are actually harder to build. The work is finer and its harder to carve the baits to the smaller scales. The paint work is also more tedious because even minor flaws tend to stand out a bit more. Despite the extra work and tediousness, I've decided that I'm going to continue to build smaller baits for bass, pike, and walleye. I have some people that I think would like to have a bait or two, but they don't musky fish. And I would like to see what alterations I could make to the commercially available stuff for those species.
Here's a RocketShad (my name for this body style, because my fishing partner insists that I name each body type so I quit saying things like, "You know, the gold one with lateral line and the #5 lip that I made about two weeks ago.") It's got a sort of dispersed lateral line that is supposed to have a watercolor effect. Its pearled and the lateral line fades and almost disappears as you turn the bait. Actually you can see that the front of the lateral line faded a bit just from the angle of the light when I shot the picture of it.
It should flash well on bright days and hopefully get smashed at Leesville this summer. I've already tested this body type and lip style and it trolls at almost any speed, while still casting easily and retrieved in a variety of ways without much effort:
More irridescent colors, this time on a musky class crankbait, a Pregnant Flatshad with a narrow, long, square lip. Since the body is also relatively narrow, the bait tends to vibrate and wiggle at high speed while still running true at speed. Should troll well and cast well from the little bit of testing I did so far:
I have high hopes for this one at West Branch. Its also a RocketShad, but instead of 3/4 poplar, I used 5/4 poplar, which gives it a much wider body. Also used an "L" shaped lip, which I made from stainless steel and secured with pins and screws. I doubt this will be an easy bait to cast because of the water resistance from the fatso body, but I'll probably try it anyway. It is painted with jade green and irridescent yellow, with a goldenblack pearl for the back and shoulders. I also added some details to the belly and used pearls for the fades, except for the red gill effect, which is red sunburst enamel. I also added some white pearl over a silver base just under and around the bottom of the lip:
Because I liked this body style so well...:
...I have made two variations of it. One with a stainless lip as above, (which is finished and primered, ready for paint) and this one with the L shaped lip:
I've taken to calling these "Palm Baits" because they have a nice feel to them when you hold them. This one isn't done yet. I'm considering adding a subtle gill plate and fins just behind the gills. It is also made of 5/4 poplar (that's carpenter's lingo for wood that is 1 1/4 inches thick...sounds like I really know what I'm talking about, eh? Lol, I don't, but I'm learning .It's a miracle that I still have all my fingers.).
This last one is a prototype jerkbait/glider. I carved this one from poplar and weighted it with two 177 grain 50 caliber roundballs, which I had to pound flat before inserting since the bait is so narrow from back to belly. Total weight is about two ounces and I am very pleased with the action. It is one of the easiest jerkbaits I've ever used, very similar in action to a Bert, but a bit less work. It runs about 4 feet deep, which is, in my experience a killer zone for muskies near submerged weeds and weed edges. I tested this last Sunday at West Branch. I'm looking forward to making more of these, which I'm calling "Shovelhead." (Lol, just to get my partner off my back, cause if not, I'd just call it ""that yellow thing.") Its about 6 3/4 inches long and the next one will be 10 inches long.
For the last few days, I've been taking care of a few details around the paint shop and the workbench in my spare time (which is usually after 9 or 10 pm. )
I felt compelled to comment on a few things though. I am always amazed at the people I encounter in the course of fishing and hunting. It seems that these sports center us all somehow and bring out the best in us.
Recently I was contacted by a member of this board who offered a favor to assist in this hobby of lure building. Just out of nowhere, he offered an act of kindness, asking nothing in return. He doesn't know me, never even met me. I'll not mention his name, but I want him to know that I appreciate his offer.
I find it interesting that people do things like that sometime, just spontaneously really. People can warm your heart at times.
Its been interesting to get to know this board a little more. I've found that OGF seems to have a spirit of cooperation to it that is unique in a lot of ways. That's a good thing. I've also heard positive things about the folks that run this place, which I'm sure is a factor in fostering that spirit.
Anyway, I like this site. Good people.
Yesterday, I went to Misquito with my lifelong hunting and fishing partner, Larry. Larry's is diehard sportsmen, as stubborn as a mule, and one of the most honest guys I've ever known. Together we've done a little bit of everything with fishing and hunting too, but with fishing we've sort of landed on musky fishing and stuck with it for quite a few years now. Anyway, yesterday we went walleye fishing at misquito. First time in a long time, we specifically targeted walleye.
The weather was rather foul, like it can be in Ohio this time of year...cold, windy, rough water. I had forgotten how much preparation is required for a successful walleye outing. A lot of detail gearwise, and I had to do a lot of digging to find all my stuff, which I hadn't used in quite a few years.
As usual, we had a few laughs, drank some coffee, and watched the day ease by on the water. We joked about how, in days gone by, we'd sit in freezing rain, if necessary, to weed our way through dozens of 14 and 3/4 inch walleyes at Pymatuning, just get 4 o4 5 "keepers." He commented on how all the smart people were probably at home watching TV in comfortable chair, as we both shivered in the wind when the temps dropped and our hands became numb. But we had a good time and caught a few fish.
We're very lucky here in Northeastern Ohio. We have so many great choices as far a public waters, plus we have farm ponds and strip mines if we want to take our kids out for a day. Erie, Pymatuning, West Branch, Leesville, the Ohio river, Piedmont, and on and on. Within a hour or two, we're blessed with some fine fishing.
Anyway, I hope you guys are getting some time on the water and catching a few fish. I'm looking forward to the musky fishing starting to light up (finally!), and even drinking some of Larry's rot-gut coffee.
I've got a few more baits ready to paint, including a few smaller bass baits, a few poppers, and two large, old style gliders. I'll keep you posted.
I would love to see the work of some of the other builders in Ohio. Post em if you got em.
Thanks, Chemlab. The scales are easy. You paint the bait one color, lay netting over it (its sort of like the stuff wedding veils are made of), then you spray over the netting. The netting allows the basecoat color to show through because it essentially masks it as you shoot the second color through the holes in the netting.
I've chopped up some 2 by 4's for poppers and I'm finding that its sort of fun making them, although smaller baits are usually harder for me.
I'm hoping this one will catch a few smallmouth and walleye at Erie:
This weekend, we're going to officially begin chasing muskies consistently. I have a few musky lures ready to post. Maybe later today if I can get the darn grass cut and finish fixing the regulator on my compressor.
Lol, I'll tell you, I've learned a lot about tools and gadgets from getting into this madness of lure building. I'm finding myself slowing down as I pass garage sales now, thinking, "Hey, there might be some power tools in there..."
Here's a musky popper I've started working with. Its made of pine.
I placed four glass rattles in the head of the bait and I'm going to try to leave them exposed so that they're louder, as opposed to burying them under putty and paint:
I made the bait on the lathe and cut the bowl shape for the head using a bandsaw. No rotary tool work was required, which is nice, because that can eat a lot of time.
The screweyes were glued in with Rhino glue, which expands a bit as it dries to provide a tough, tight bond to the wood, and I angled the belly screweye toward the back of the bait to add more strength and contact with more of the wood surface.
I'm also looking forward to trying it in June and July at Piedmont and Leesville when the muskies are suspending over open water or porpoising as they often do when chasing small schools of baitfish.
I'm still working on a way to cover the rattles during the painting process so that I'll have the glass tips of the rattles unpainted and covered only in the finish coats of envirotec after painting.
Any ideas? I'm thinking I might cover them in some type of soft removable material such as cotton. Whatever I use has to be something that can be removed without leaving a residue, so putty won't work, because the envirotec won't stick to any kind of oily leftover residue.