Here is a Smithwick Rogue that I repainted. There is a little overspray, but it is getting better. I am still using opaque Createx airbrush paint, and am starting to achieve the layering effects that I am after. My suspicion is that once I switch to transparents I will be getting some sick results. I always have clung to the notion that there is merit to doing something the hard way first, then getting lazy about it later.
Top view. Note several changes from the stock bait; first I sanded out the scale texture that the bait comes stock with. I also removed the bill prior to painting, as I like that better than masking the bill against overspray. I always like to tinker, so I made another bill, slightly larger, out of Lexan. I may have to round round the corners to get the sort of "flashing" jerks I am after, but we will see. I think it will dive deeper with the larger bill, and be more snag resistant. In addition, a steady grind on this bait should give a more pronounced side to side wobble. Also, I put inexpensive, thin gauge wire split rings that open at about ten pounds of pressure, as a fairly good way of getting the bait back should the hook snag. I use Gamakatsu EWG trebles on every small hardbait that I own. Alas, they only come in 2, 4 and 6. I would give my front teeth for an 8. This is, in my honest opinion, the best hook ever made for crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters. Treble hooks are notorious for getting thrown by fish, but this hook stays buttoned the majority of the time. Plus, in the event that a fish steals the bait, the bronze rusts very quickly, allowing the fish to reject the bait and survive.
I got a heat gun to help with the bubbles in the epoxy, and it works like a champ. In the past I used the same hair dryer that I used to heat-set the layers of paint, but it pushes too much air and has the unfortunate tendency to make the epoxy sag. Tisk tisk. The heat gun is MUCH hotter, and spits air out with a lot less force, so I can just hit the finish very quickly where there is a bubble, like a half second, and the bubbles pop instantly, without effecting the distribution of the topcoat. On this bait I used 30 minute Bob Smith Industries epoxy, thinned with denatured alcohol, as per the recommendation of Crankin101 from the Colorado Fisherman forum. Thanks for the tip! I have gone through so many different topcoats... I'm still looking for my "perfect" system, but this worked pretty well.
Here is the paint schedule:
- Coat entire bait with an opaque hard white base coat
- Shoot top of bait with a solid coat of chartreuse, allowing some to cover sides to lateral line area
- Mask with scale netting, shoot pink stripe down the top, letting some chartreuse show on side
- Shoot lavender over the pink, again letting some of the layer underneath show at sides
- Remove scale netting, and shoot head with chartreuse in a heavy coat
- Shoot pearl red on the cheeks and throat, allowing the chart to show on the top, back and sides of head
- Add shad spot if you want. Be careful of overspray, I messed up my spots pretty good on this bait
- Add eyes. I hand painted them with a tiny brush, but you can mask and shoot if you want.
- Topcoat with the epoxy of your liking, turn bait if needed to prevent topcoat sagging till cured.