Friday, February 15, 2013

Why do I bother?

I have been staying with my efforts in building good and productive lures despite (or perhaps because of) the hell that is winter. I am not a fan of frozen lakes. I know people that enjoy ice fishing more than they do open water. I have also heard some people will not eat bacon or drink alcohol. It is difficult to understand why people are as they are.

In an attempt to learn how to mold and cast resin hardbaits, I molded a Black Dog Shellcracker. I rationalized this two ways. First off and most importantly, I do not intend to gain financially from this transgression. And secondly, after buying several of the damn things at a not insignificant price, I have determined that I am not destined to get one that has been properly constructed. Maybe I would have better luck with the injected model? At any rate, if I can use the mold to build myself one that actually swims properly and has paint that does not look like it was done by a penguin, I consider that fair play.

Beyond that, it has been useful for me to have the opportunity to play with different resins and processes. I finally got around to molding a bait I have been working on, in fits and starts, for a couple years. I started off thinking I would carve and finish a wooden bait, but after the carving turned out pretty good I decided that it would be a waste to destroy it by using it to catch fish. So that led me to investigate the techniques involved in molding original masters to create fishable duplicates.

I got the mold for the bait in question done a couple days ago, and today I got the sections cast for the first time. I intend to continue experimentation with different processes, but I am pleased (in a hesitant way) with the results so far. I still need to attend to some cosmetic imperfections, mostly due to not being able to pressure cast the bait yet. I'll need to get a compresser and a pressure pot for that. Still, nice to see it finally in the real world instead of my head.

I intend to add fins of some sort, though as a rule I dislike the rigid fins found on most hardbaits. I plan on using some sort of flexible translucent material. This bait is about seven inches in length, a size I consider to be in the "sweet spot" locally, as it gets both decent numbers as well as attention from the big girls. The resin needs to outgas for several days before it is painted to ensure good adhesion of the paint and topcoat. In the meantime I will experiment with ballast. 

I am pretty eager to be out throwing this. 

These are the softbaits I have been pouring the last year or so. I have done well with them as have several of my friends, and I am stoked. I will be incorporating a couple minor changes, adding  hook slot and changing the tail slightly, but overall I am really happy with how these have turned out. They track dead-straight even at blistering retrieves when they are rigged properly, and the soft eyes get bit through by pike, but not torn off. One of my biggest gripes with soft swimbaits is that the eyes all too often get ripped off after a fish or two, and these stay put. I am using an Owner 6/0 weighted Beast Hook with a spring coil keeper, a bloody expensive hook but the best by far for the purpose. 

The master in the background is resin. I use it to make duplicate molds. 

I am also working on a spinnerbait design with the gracious help of my friend Ken Iles. He has contributed several hours to the CAD drawings needed to get aluminum molds cut. I will be showing that as soon as possible, but I can say it is a compact hidden weight design with a large eye. It is intended to be fished very fast at the surface to fish busting bait, or dredged in water deeper than is typical for a bait its size. I am excited about that as well. The nascent TOADWERX marches on.


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