Making Crankbaits - Super Shad Rap Copy

My Super Shad Rap Copy

'Shad Rap' Type Crankbait
Well unfortunately it has been quite some time since I have put pen to paper, or rather fingers to key board, to add something new to this blog of mine. A busy work and family lifestyle along with my involvement in other sports has meant that opportunities to get any lure making or indeed lure fishing done have been few and far between this year. 

Although this particular project is not quite yet completed (the lure needs testing) it is almost there. If you are a fan of the very well known Rapala Super Shad Rap or similar type of crankbaits then this project will be of great interest to you. The idea for this lure was simple. A local estate lake which is very much choked to death with weed growth contains pike and roach. 

Those pike can regularly be seen chasing the resident roach to the water's surface and snatching at them as they try to to escape. I need a lure that will imitate a roach, float above the weed and dive just deep enough beneath the surface with an enticing action to tempt any mid water pike that are on the prowl. Reading the manufacturers description of the Rapala Super Shad Rap this lure would seem to fit the bill nicely so I decided to try and make my own.

Every Lure Starts With A Template

My Super Shad Rap Template
(Edit - If you'd like a copy of the lure template just CLICK HERE)

Making the template for this project was pretty simple. I took a photo of a smaller shad rap that I own - a shot from the side and one from above. I copied those photos into a Microsoft Word file and used the drawing tools to trace the outlines of the side view and top view of the lure. I then deleted the photos from the Word file and was left with the outlines of the lures which would form the templates. A bit of editing of the Word file resulted in the Shad Rap template pictured above.

I'll write a full blog post at some stage in the future to show you exactly how to make a lure template in this way - it's pretty easy once you have some basic computer skills.
The printed out template was glued to some cardboard and cut out using a scissors to result in the lure templates pictured above.

Marking Out The Lure Blank

Since I've had pretty good results with poplar so far it will come as no surprise that I chose poplar again as my wood of choice for this particular lure making project. My chosen piece of wood was cut to length and a centre line was marked along it's top, bottom and ends. The side profile template was then transferred onto the lure blank by drawing around it using a pencil. The positions of the diving lip, hook hangers and front tow point were also marked onto the piece of wood - see picture below.
Marking Out The Lure Blank
The next step I took was to drill out holes for the tow point and hook hanging eyelets. For this project I had decided to try using home made eyelets rather than through wire construction. I figured that drilling the holes for the eyelets now while the lure blank was still square would make for more accurate positioning of the drilled holes.
Holes Drilled For The Eyelets
I also cut the slot for the diving lip at this stage. Again I find that it is much easier to get a true square cut with a hand saw when you make the cut while the lure blank itself is still square - see below.
The Diving Lip Cut

Shaping The Lure Blank

The Side Profile Was Cut Out With A Jigsaw
To make life a little easier this time around I used a jigsaw to cut out the side profiles of the lure - see above. You could of course easily do this job by hand using a coping saw but since I have power tools available to me that's what I chose to use.
Transferring The Top Template
After the side profile had been cut out I gave the cut edges a light sanding to take the roughness off the lure blank before marking out the top profile using the template. Note that I accurately marked the centre line of the lure at the nose and tail before transferring the top profile template. To cut out the top profile I used a coping saw rather than the jigsaw as this gave me much more control over the smaller cuts this time. The resulting shape of the lure blank can be seen in the picture below.
Lure Blank With Top Profile Cut Out
At this stage the piece of wood is now starting to look a lot more like a fishing lure. There's still quite a bit of shaping left to be done though. The next step is to 'knock the corners off' the lure blank. Parallel lines were drawn adjacent to all of the edges of the lure as shown in the picture below. The material between these two lines was removed using a wood file and coarse sandpaper resulting in the lure blank that can be seen in the next picture down.
Parallel Lines Are Marked Along All 'Corner' Edges

The Corners Are 'Knocked Off' Using A Wood File
Once the Corners are 'knocked off' the lure blank the procedure of drawing parallel lines along the lure body is repeated and more material is removed using a combination of wood file and sandpaper to create a more rounded fish-like lure body. This step is something that you will just have to gauge by eye and involves a certain amount of trial and error. The important thing to remember here is that you must keep the lure body as symmetrical as possible. With practice this step becomes easier. On your very first attempt this step might just cause you some grief!

The Almost Finished Lure Blank

Making And Fitting Eyelets

Generally there are three ways you can go about adding the tow point/hook eyelets to your homemade lures. You can use through wire construction, you can buy screw in eyelets or you can make your own push in/screw in eyelets. Since I had used the through wire construction method for all of my previous lure making projects I decided to use the homemade eyelets method this time for a change.

Making Eyelets By Twisting A Wire Loop
Eyelets are pretty easy to make. The first thing that I did was find a nail which had a diameter that I considered to be about right for the eyelets for my lure. I then drilled a hole in a piece of wood which was slightly larger in diameter than the nail so that the nail could easily be pushed into and taken out of the wood - see picture above. 

I then simply cut some lengths of galvanised gardening wire that I had used for previous projects to good effect. Each piece of wire was folded around the nail which was pushed into a piece of wood. The free ends of the wire loop were clamped in a pliers and twisted under tension to create the wire eyelets picturesd below.
The Homemade Eyelets
Fitting the homemade eyelets to your lures is pretty easy - certainly less work than the through wire method of construction. For most lure making applications my glue of choice would be some sort of two part epoxy. For this project however I decided to give a product called Gorilla Glue a go for fitting the eyelets. The great thing about Gorilla Glue is that it does not need to be mixed - so less mess and less waste. The glue is also easy to use - you simply dampen one of the surfaces to be bonded, apply the glue and then push the two surfaces together. The glue then reacts with the moisture which causes it to expand and fill out any voids in the bonded area/surfaces.

To attach the eyelets to my lure I used a piece of wire repeatedly dipped in water and then into the holes I had drilled in the lure body to dampen the insides of the holes which would cause the glue to react. I then poured some glue into the holes and used a piece of wire to make sure the glue was fully covering the insides of the holes. An eyelet was then pushed into each of the three holes in the lure using a pliers. Note that the eyelets were a very tight fit. 

It is important that you experiment with drilling different sized holes in a scrap piece of wood to figure out the correct sized hole to drill for your eyelets. You should just about be able to push/twist/wiggle the eyelets into the hole by hand. If the eyelets are a loose fit in the holes you have drilled in your lure blank then I would suggest using a two part epoxy rather than Gorilla Glue. Gorilla Glue is very strong stuff but it definitely works best in tight fitting joints.
Eyelets Fitted Using Gorilla Glue

Making The Diving Lip

On my previous crankbaits I had used some clear plastic as the material for the diving lips. For this project I decided to try something new and made the diving lip out of metal. Most lure makers turn to some sort of sheet aluminium as their material of choice when making their crankbait lips out of metal. I couldn't help wondering though, if something even lighter such as the tin lid from a paint can would do the job. Having not tested the lure yet I'm still not sure if this lighter material is 'man enough' for the job but the following description and pictures will show you how I made the diving lip.
Tools And Materials For Making The Diving Lip
The first step I took was to get a paint can lid, stick on a piece of masking tape and drill a hole through it. The idea of using some masking tape is simply to make the eventual marked out lip easier to see. Pencil lines are very difficult to see on metal. 
Masking Tape Was Used To Make The Pencil Lines Stand Out
The reason that I drilled a hole first is to ensure that the hole would be accurately positioned in the centre of the the diving lip. If you try to mark out and drill a hole in a piece of metal you will find that the drill bit will tend to wander slightly off the marked position no matter how careful you are. By drilling a hole first and then positioning the template on the centreline of that hole as shown in the picture below you will get a diving lip with the hole in exactly the right place every time.
Using A Template To Mark Out The Diving Lip
The Marked Out Diving Lip
A Tin Cutters Was Used To Cut Out The Diving Lip
The Straight Edge of a Flat File Was Used To Fold The Diving Lip As Shown
The sequence of pictures above shows how the diving lip was marked out, cut out and folded to give the desired Super Shad Rap diving lip shape. 

Fitting The Diving Lip

Once I was happy with the shape of the diving lip I removed the masking tape and did a trial fit of the lip into the slot in the lure blank to make sure everything was sitting nicely before mixing some five minute epoxy and glueing the lip in place.
A Trial Fit Ensured The Lip Was Sitting Correctly Before Glueing
Five Minute Epoxy Was Used To Glue The Diving Lip in Place
A Generous Amount of Epoxy Was Smeared Into The Slot in The Bait Using A Piece of Wire

The Lure Blank With Diving Lip Attached
Even before I fitted the diving lip to the lure blank I had a feeling that the light tin material I made the diving lip from might just be a bit on the flimsy side. With the lip attached it was apparent that the part of the diving lip at the point where the diving lip fitted into the wooden lure blank would just be way too easy to bend. This problem was solved by mixing some epoxy putty and moulding it around the juncture of the diving lip and lure which would hopefully strengthen up the diving lip.
Epoxy Putty - A Useful Lure Making Material
Moulded Epoxy Putty Added Some Support to the Base of the Diving Lip
With the diving lip properly fitted and the issue with the weak joint between the lip itself and the lure body resolved it was time to seal the lure in preparation for the process of balancing. The method that I use for balancing my lures requires the lure to be set into the water so the wood must be water proofed first. The lure was dipped into some thinned down oil based paint (thinned with white spirits) three times allowing usually 48 hours between coats. 

There are of course other products that can be used for sealing a lure which would speed up this process - since I am in no particular hurry with my lure making projects and have plenty of left over oil based paint lying around the workshop that's what I use!
The Lure Blank was Hung to Dry Between Sealing Coats 

Balancing The Lure

The process that I'm using at the moment for balancing my lures is pretty straight forward. Basically I attach a loop of fishing line to the bait being balanced using an elastic band and then place the bait in some water. I then cut some narrow little strips from a scrap of sheet lead (which I usually scrounge from a building site I'm working on) and fold them over so that I can hang them from the fishing line loop on the bait.  I continue to add strips of lead to the loop on the bait and move the loop along the length of the bait until I get the balance that I'm looking for.

In the case of this particular lure the balance I'm trying to achieve is a bait that sits horizontally in the water with just a small amount of it's back sitting above the water line when at rest. The few pictures below will give you a fairly clear Idea as to how I went about achieving a nicely 'balanced' lure.
Bait with Line Loop Attached, Scrap of Lead and Tin Shears for Cutting the Lead

Strips of Lead Hanging from a Loop Attached to the Bait

The Bait Sitting in Some Water During the Balancing Process - In this Case Not Balanced Correctly Just Yet!

When the Required Balance was Achieved the Position of the lead was Marked on the Bait

Weighting The Crankbait

The procedure I use for balancing my baits results in me finding out exactly how much weight will need to be added to the lure and exactly what location along the length of the lure that weight will need to be added. Once I know these two things I can then proceed with drilling out the body of the bait and melting and pouring the lead weight into that bait. 

With my earlier lure making projects I had made a lead pellet out of the balancing weight of each lure and then fitted those pellets to each lure. With this lure I decided to just pour the lead straight into the body of the crankbait. This required a bit of guess work as to the diameter and depth of hole that needed to be drilled into the body of the lure but since I had made similar sized baits before I was able to make a fairly well 'educated guess'. 
The Lead was Cut into Smaller Pieces to Make it Easier to Melt Down
You can of course buy special tools and equipment for melting and pouring lead but for the moment I'm quite happy to use my own homemade melting pot (made from an empty food can) and the kitchen hob to do the job of weighting my lures. 

Please note that there are some mildly toxic gasses released from lead during the melting process so if you are going to do as I do and also work in the kitchen make sure that there are no children or pets in the vicinity, that there is no food being prepared at the same time and that the area is as well ventilated as possible (turn on the fan and open a window).
My Homemade 'Melting Pot' and Lure Body Ready to Accept the Lead
With the strips of lead cut into tiny pieces in my melting pot it only took a few minutes for it to melt down enough to be poured. The molten lead was carefully poured into the hole in the body of the lure and set aside to cool off for a few minutes. You will find when doing this job yourself that you need to work fairly quickly when pouring the lead because as soon as you take your melting pot away from the heat the lead will begin to solidify. As you can see in the picture above I had my bait at the ready right beside the heated melting pot so there was no delay in pouring the molten lead.
The Lead Hole was Sealed with Two Part Epoxy
If you have drilled the correct sized hole in your bait to accept the lead weight you should have a gap of about 1/8 inch (3mm) or so left to be filled after pouring the lead. I like to fill this hole with two part epoxy as it helps to make sure that you lead weight will stay where you put it and is also quite easy to file down and sand smooth.

The Lure Was Dropped into Some Water to Test the 'Balance' - in this Case Exactly what I was Looking for!
Once you have completed the weighting process it is a good idea to test that you actually got the balance in your lure that you were looking for. Simply attach the split rings and hooks that you plan to use for the lure and drop it into some water. As you can see in the picture above I got exactly the balance I was looking for (sitting horizontal with some of the back of the lure just above the waters surface). 

This will not always be the case however. In some cases you may need to add some more lead and in others you may need to remove some (by drilling it out). If you need to alter the balance in some way now is the time to do it before you go making a nice job of the paint work! 

It is also worth noting that a few coats of paint and in particular the epoxy clear coating will add some weight to the lure and may affect the balance. With lures like this six inch (150mm) crankbait this will not be a problem but with much smaller baits it is something that you would need to pay particular attention to.

Time For Painting

There are quite a few different ways to paint and finish off your lures - air brushing probably being the most popular method with more experienced lure makers. Since I myself am pretty much still at the beginner level of lure making I'm quite happy with the results I'm getting with aerosol spray can paints so that's the method I used for this project.

Before painting of course the lure needs a good sanding so you have a nice smooth 'blank canvas' to work on. This is the time to be fussy with the sanding as doing a bad job here could ruin your chances of getting a that perfectly finished lure that we all hope to achieve.
The Lure Gets A Thorough Sanding Before Painting
For this lure I was looking for a fairly simple roach pattern so nothing too complicated in the way of painting or stencils. A simple silver scale pattern and maybe a bit of detail around the gills and eyes would do the job. After sanding and before painting the lure was dipped several times in some thinned down white oil based paint. This for my lures acts as a sealer primer and undercoat all in one with the white colour being the actual belly colour of the lure.
The Method of Dipping Gives Nice Smooth Even Coats of Paint
The lure was given a very light sanding between each of the dipped coats of paint. For this I used some very fine grade sponge sanders. Generally I find that I get best results with oil based paints when I leave them for at least 48 hours between coats. There are other products I could use to speed up the process but since I'm in no particular hurry with my lures I'll stick to oil based paints for now.
The Lure is Dipped Several Times and Hung Up to Dry For 48 hrs Between Coats
The first step in achieving a roach pattern is to spray paint the sides and back of the lure in black. The belly of the lure was already the white colour that I wanted.
The Lure Fully Primed and Undercoated and Ready for Painting

The First Step of Painting - Black Sides and Back
As with my previous lure making projects the scale pattern on this lure would be achieved by using the mesh from a supermarket fruit bag. These mesh bags can be found in a wide range of sizes - simply find one whose mesh matches the size of scales you would like on your bait. 
Some plastic Mesh was Used to Achieve the Desired Scale Pattern
It is important when using mesh on you baits to create a scale pattern to pull the mesh as tightly as possible to the body of the bait. This can be tricky but if you want a nice continuous scale pattern it is important that you take your time with this to get it right. You can see in the picture below that I used clothes pegs to keep the mesh tight on my lure which did an okay job - I'm still trying to find a better way to do this though.
I Used Chrome Paint To Achieve the Silver Roach Pattern
Using a chrome coloured aerosol spray paint to spray over the plastic mesh resulted in a nice silver scale pattern. The next job was to create a solid silver head/gill area on the bait. This was simply done by printing out a picture of a similar sized lure and cutting out the head area from the bait to create the stencil you can see in the picture below. This was then held over the bait using elastic bands and again sprayed with chrome paint to achieve the result in the second picture below.
A Simple Stencil for the Head/Gill Area of the Lure

The Desired Solid Silver Head/Gill Pattern
With a solid silver head the bait now needed some gill detail, a fin and eyes. The pictures below will give you an idea of how these details were achieved.
A Simple Cardboard Stencil was Used to Put a Red Line on the Gill Cover
A Cardboard Stencil Added a Red Gill and a Nail Dipped in Black Creates the Base for the Eye
A Dab of Orange Adds a Ring to the Eye
A Black Dot For the Eye and a Black Line Along the Gill Cover Completes the Paint Job
With each new lure I make I try to experiment with different ways of painting the details on the lure. Some mistakes were made but overall I'm fairly happy with how this lure turned out. I painted the eyes on this lure a little differently to my earlier lures - adding three 'dots' of paint rather than two to create an outer ring around the eye. This worked okay but could have been done better. I also hand painted the black line along the gill cover - this did not turn out very well at all but I guess that's another lure making lesson learned!

Clear Coat and Final Fitout

With the paint job completed the next task was to apply a tough epoxy clear coat to the lure to make sure that the lures paint job stays the way it's meant to be and also to protect the lure from the abuse it will get during the course of many a days pike fishing. 
Clear Coat - Envirotex Lite Resin And Hardener are Mixed 50:50
There are a number of different products that can be used for clear coating lures- the one I'm using at the moment is Envirotex Lite. This is a clear finishing two part epoxy which consists of a resin and hardener which are mixed in a ratio of exactly one to one and painted onto your baits. I generally leave at least 48 hours between coats and at the moment have settled on applying three coats to my pike fishing lures. There is quite a learning curve involved with using Envirotex Lite which I wont go into in this blog post but with a little patience a lovely looking and tough clear coat can be achieved.
Envirotex Lite Epoxy Clear Coat Being Mixed
One thing I must mention about Envirotex Lite especially for those readers who may be about to try it for the first time is not to worry about the bubbles. When you mix the resin and hardener it turns into a terrible mess of bubbles as you can see in the picture above. The first time I did this myself I was sure I had done something wrong but proceeded to paint the bubble filled mix onto my lures anyway. By just following the instructions and blowing some hot air over the epoxy mix all of the bubbles disappeared in an instant leaving a beautiful flat clear glossy finish on my baits.
My Crankbait Hanging to Dry Between Clear Coats
With three carefully applied coats of epoxy on the lure all that was left to do was add some hooks and take the lure for some testing. I chose a pair of size 2/0 hooks which I took from another lure I have. I'm pretty sure they are VMC trebles, I'm not sure what pattern though. I'm fairly confident that these hooks are a good match for this lure but only time spent testing will tell for sure. Getting the hooks wrong is a mistake I made with my very first jerkbait making project so I have started to pay a little more attention to the hooks I choose for my homemade lures now. After all there's no point in building a great lure and then putting hooks on that lure that won't even hold the fish that bite on it.
The Finished Lure Ready for Water and Pike!
Well there's another lure making project brought to completion (eventually). All I need now is some time at the water to put this lure through it's paces. Fishing time has unfortunately been very hard to come by this year but with the Christmas holidays not all that far away I'll be thoroughly testing this lure and a few others I'm currently working on. If you have read this far down the post then I hope you enjoyed the read and maybe even learned something new. As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to shoot me an email (see my contact page) or post a comment below.


P.S. If you want the lure template just go here.

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Mr.Cuttrell said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

Once again awesome job not just on the lure but on the presentation of the construction technique as well. I wrote to you a coupe of years ago, I do a fishing lure project in my intro to engineering class with my students ( High School juniors in a magnet school for science and engineering) they design a prototype of the lure by researching a fish and then brainstorming types of lures and then lure finishes. I give them wooden blanks they cut down and then sand to shape. I then have then do a buoyancy calculation on the blank using the weights of all the hooks , wires, lips and anything else they are putting on. Then they finish them. i tried to put in a picture but it didn't work as a comment. I just wanted to say thanks for posting all this stuff it's a great resource and shows what to expect during construction which helps many of my students.

Joe said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

I'm glad your students find my blog posts useful for their lure making engineering/science projects. I certainly wish I had a teacher who taught lure making when I was in high school! I'd certainly love to see some pictures of your students lures. If you go to my Contact Page you could send me some pictures from there. I'll post them them on my Readers Pictures page. Thanks for your interest in my blog.


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips [Reply to comment] Best Blogger Templates

Great ! Salute from Malaysia.

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