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Lure modification can make all the difference - e

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    Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 10:42am

The following ideas have served me and others well for decades, and though theoretical, put me into a mindset of lure designs and presentations that get fish to strike more often.

There are many reasons to modify lures and since most lures can be modified, one may ask :
are they more successful at catching fish?

In my mind there are basic reasons fish react to lures that simulate life or in other words artificial life objects:
1. something about a lure that's seen and felt by the lateral line triggers a strike
2. fish try to kill objects moving a certain way and at a certain speed
3. fish, to conserve energy, usually suspend, watching the world go by until something provokes them

Even in semi-clear water, fish senses are uniquely capable of seeing and feeling real or artificial life. They have no way of knowing the difference between any moving objects except that they move and look differently. This is not to say that anglers that believe fish ID a lure as some particular prey species and strive to match it are wrong, but omitting that step and concentrating on the following gets to the nitty gritty why some lures work much better than others.

In fact lures that move and look different may still catch fish in the same area and in the same hour, though some maybe better than others. But what is it that separates the modified lures in the photos in the post that follows from each other, yet makes them all equally capable of catching most species of fish?: a combination of lure action, shape, size and sometimes color.

Lure body and body part actions matters:
The fine legs and tail quiver with the slightest lure movement, but so do the thicker, side flappers which add the most visual body part action and bigger profile. Time-in-place motion is extremely important at times when fish will not chase a lure and need that extra-subtle stimuli to provoke the killer to kill. The drop shot finesse technique uses a thin worm that stays horizontal to the line and quivers with the least forward motion of the sinker on bottom. A light jig does the same thing when rigged with soft plastic lure, feather or fur because it can be allowed to stay in the strike zone (once found using the lure), longer than say a floating crankbait.

Size matters (in this case - smaller):
Modification also includes shortening lure length. Even and extra 1/2" may be to large for a fish to consider the object easy pickings. A thicker 3.5" French Fry may do much better if shortened to 1.5" and then rigged on a 1/32 or 1/16 oz ball head jig.

Profile matters:
Adding a thin tail to a thicker grub body (top photo) gives the appearance of a more meatier target challenging a fish's space. To large a profile, same as length excess, may not provoke a suspended fish.

Color can matter:
Any of the above may do fine using certain colors - the range being quite large. But light does things to color as does water clarity and the only way fish see a color's real hue is in clear water and in bright sunlight. Other than that, color brightness (contrast) contributes to lure profile and varying degrees of contrast may matter depending on background to the side or against the bottom.

Plastic softness always matters:
Take note of the cone tail grub in the photos below. The design may seem lifeless, but the use of softer plastic that makes up the cone does wonders for the quiver that drives fish nuts! It definitely matter with most finesse or non-finesse worm designs: too little and the worms is nothing but a stick. Even Senko-like sticks must be of a certain softness to display tip quiver on the drop. Adding a soft part to a firm plastic part is fine as long as it's the tail that's soft.

Do yourself a favor and go through the hundreds of soft plastic baits you've owned and not used for decades. Get yourself a candle, (I also use a battery powered soldering gun to smooth the seam), chose parts of lures you think when combined will make something unique and fish-provoking in action, melt the ends and hold together for 4 seconds. You never know when that combination will blow away most other lures you own.

Other than that, consider shortening a lure that has good action but fish are too finicky to attack or adding a bit of silicone skirt by using a wire loop to pull it through the plastic.

Pictures to follow in the next reply.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 10:42am

Many of my stored plastics haven't done well since I bought them or worked only a few times of year. If a lure can't catch fish, it can't find fish. Sonar can find fish but not necessarily those that will strike.

As mentioned, when it comes to any lure design, what matters most is lure action. If a lure can not exhibit subtle movements on the slowest of retrieves, I've found them to be limited in use. Some lures must move at a certain speed or the action part is dead in the water and though fish will bite them, not when the lure is almost stationary.


All you need is a candle, some plastic lures and a bit of an imagination. Many of my stored plastics haven't done well since I bought them or worked only a few times of year. If a lure can't catch fish, it can't find fish.

When it comes to any lure design, what matters most is lure action. If a lure can not exhibit subtle movements on the slowest of retrieves, I've found them to be limited in use. Some lures must move at a certain speed or the action part is dead in the water.

Here are some ideas to wet the imagination:

 The lures below were assembled using parts from each other or from other lures:

Note the combination of lure parts swapped between the lures shown:


Top photo is of two lures parts were taken from:

... lures made from those parts:


parts taken from a lizard:


The parts added were mostly from the hand poured molds they were poured from:


In the photo below, the lure on the left was the original design and never worked. I replaced the tail using flat and thin tail designs and immediately caught bass spring and then in summer.


I rarely use Mr Twister Grubs but now I do with this mod. into a straight tail which has made a big difference. (Spike-It dye used for a visual effect)


Candle or soft plastics glue can be used to fuse parts together, but certain plastics don't allow glue to work. I also use a battery powered soldering iron to fuse the seams that result thereby making the junction stronger.


There will always be a mystery why fish strike lures but not why they won't. Modifications that improve the success rate is the first step in understanding the effect they have on fish senses and is basic to choosing lures. Modifying lures is instructive and frees the mind of perconceptions regarding color, lure shape and action. Of course I could chose a few lures in a few colors and be confident 100% of the time they will catch fish, but lure variety reveals secrets of the strike that dispels limitations no matter what the authorities suggest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 10:43am

Here are some others:

Some more:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 10:43am
Originally Posted By: collincountytx
"Cool ideas!

One of my best producing lures is a Frankenstein.

Step 1. Choose a lure where you have the most confident in the body design

Step 2. Choose a lure where you have the most confidence in the appendage(s) design

Step 3. Combine the body of lure (1) with the appendages of lure
"



That's the very process I use to evaluate the use of parts from different lures!!! What's more is catching fish on different Frankenstein mods sold no where at any time in the past or present. The originality of the lure and the shear luck that fashioned it borders on the unnatural !

As far as looking or acting natural, I've learned by catching fish on all those pictured that fish in general are unable to care less what the object looks like that provokes them to strike. That little quiver of a lure or lure part is a prime lure feature and that which a strive to create in every lure.

Fortunately I have a pond in my backyard that I can watch a lure in action before I fish it. If it lacks quiver, I destroy it.

The more you create that catch fish, the more you realize how many designs work well - especially originals you create yourself and in colors you never would have thought wouldn't deter a strike (IE bright pink, fluorescent chartreuse). But I have to admit that I am partial to certain color combinations for certain lures such as a pearl cone-tail added to a grub body:

(Kind a looks like a mini-Ned rig which always catches fish.)

Other than adding parts to a lure, just shortening it and rigging it on say a very light jig head can make all the difference! It's something I do when fishing shallow water in spring or early morning in summer.
A shortened Slider Worm caught this 7 lb catfish:


Also, making a lure longer is fine as long as it doesn't compromise its action:


I added the hand poured paddle tail for more action with a twitch & fall retrieve.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 10:47am

In conclusion, the whole reason for using finesse lures or lures that can be used at the slowest speed is this:

Quiver !

Look closely at the above modified lures and note the part or parts that quiverQuiver is the one of the greatest fish provoking actions of any lure made. Other than quiver, any subtle action of a lure gets and holds a fish's attention and if it stares at the lure long enough, is often provoked to attack it - almost as if the object is trespassing in its zone of reverie where it is suspending. I  believe that fish spends most of its life suspended, rarely going berserk attaching a school minnows.

Those of us that have punched jigs through heavy cover and caught bass know what I mean. There's not a whole lot or room for bass to attack a bunch of prey and therefore is hanging out until something comes by to awaken its aggressive nature.  How many times have you caught bass in shallow water an watched the wake of a charging bass torpedo towards your surface lure? That bass was hanging out IMO.

The great thing about suspending crankbaits it the subtle action you can apply with a simple rod twitch. Granted the action is a slight waddle & suspend, but that's all it takes sometimes for a bass to hit the lures as soon as it moves forward. The same floating lure does the same except creates subtle rings on the surface easily detected (tickling) the lateral line.

Take everything above with a grain of salt based on your experience or lack of, but provoking fish to strike is as easy as a simple twitch of the rod tip transmitted to a lure that irritates fish to strike by design. The great majority of lures I own are limited by these features:

1 time in the zone is to short because a faster retrieve speed is needed to get lure action

2 at times not subtle enough

3  the wrong shape (profile), size or action

4 the plastic is too firm (as in the case of Senko-type sticks and finesse worms (forget tip quiver on the drop)

5  at times too much flash (blade too large)

6  a color that may be too dark to display #3

Do yourself a favor and start making few Frankenstein lures. You may be pleasantly surprised what a little imagination can create, reducing the need to buy more lures every year that might not work half as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 11:03am
Oh, and I forgot to address the counterarguments mentioned in another post about lure design being key in getting fish to strike.

1. One position was that fish strike lures because of hunger.
Unless a fish can tell you it did so or there is any scientific evidence to prove it, it's a supposition on the part of the angler.

2. Fish strike lures that resemble or represent a prey animal
Okay, so you use a variety of lures that do so and they don't catch fish. What is it about those lures that failed the taste test? But then you cast a lure that doesn't look like anything that inhabits any water on earth - and it catches fish! So what was it about that lure that provoked a strike?

Could it be lure action, size and profile -strange as they may be?
If you do catch fish on one lure that represents a prey animal, but not on another that is cast for the same reason, what could be the reason(s) one failed and the other shined?

Example: A spinnerbait with tandem Colorado blades didn't get hit, but one with a large willow leaf blade did. Why?

Of all the reasons given for our lure choices, none can stand up to the fundamentals of lure design which includes action, profile, size and color (in the visual sense). Add the presentation that fits each of those designs, and the odds are in your favor of catching vs. getting casting practice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 6:28pm
Originally posted by senkosam senkosam wrote:



Of all the reasons given for our lure choices, none can stand up to the fundamentals of lure design which includes action, profile, size and color (in the visual sense). Add the presentation that fits each of those designs, and the odds are in your favor of catching vs. getting casting practice.
yep!,and dont be afraid to try something that defies ALL  the rules and theories of lure fishing if your not catching fish,after all the only thing we know for sure is that fish never read all the rules and theoriesLOL
that's no how ye make porridge!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2018 at 11:02pm
Great point.

Advertisers - including celebrity anglers - who insist their lures catch fish for conventional reasons, never address lure design as the main reason; they insist that what animal a lure looks and moves like is essential. Making Frankenstein lures allows an angler to become aware of the huge range of lure shapes and actions that fish bite, many of which are unnatural in both which also includes color.

IMO lures aren't appealing to fish as in, "that thing looks yummy!" Every animal has a point of no return when it comes to lure irritation. Animal senses are incredibly fine tuned to an awareness of things moving in water whether on the surface or subsurface. Their survival depends on it. But an object that pushes a fish's buttons forces it to react, provoking it to strike but not from anger - a feeling only capable of animals with far larger brains.

Granted, a DNA programmed recognition of a fish as a fish is possible, but putting fish into specie categories is an unlikely ability. Regardless how realistically a lure looks and moves like a specific animal, fish I believe have no clue what an object is but only that it's moving.

It could be that lures challenge fish to a duel via sense overload and do it in different ways - all related to motion. When an object becomes stationary for a period of time, interest is lost and a fish's suspension is resumed, object sense detection put on automatic. One example that proves this simple phenomena is how easy it is for a heron to walk into a shallow area and then hold perfectly still. Fish for some reason wander close never realizing what belongs to those legs rising above the surface, which ultimately leads to their downfall. If the heron walks, fish stay away spooked by the moving legs and overhead shadow.

Fish senses are tuned to moving objects and oblivious to stationary objects until or unless they move. So if you cast a perfect reproduction of a shrimp or crawfish, it's most likely to stay on the bottom ignored unless moved or moving.

 A stationary skirted jig with trailer does move in that skirt strands wave back and forth from slight water currents. The same goes for a dropshot worm suspended horizontally above bottom - slight motion when moved a fraction of an inch. All a lure needs to attract and hold a fish's attention long enough to get it to strike, is the slightest motion - but not all lure motions are equal. This is what you discover when assembling a variety of lures and catching fish on them, but more important, finding out that the lures you created work better than most and in most waters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2018 at 6:13am
i like your Frankenstiens ,i recon we could have a lot of fun trying these ideas in our watersThumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2018 at 8:50am
Originally posted by puglee62 puglee62 wrote:

i like your Frankenstiens ,i recon we could have a lot of fun trying these ideas in our watersThumbs Up


I guarantee you will and you'll immediately start to appreciate lure actions and shapes that kick A**!!!
Your welcome to try some of mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2018 at 6:05pm
might take you up on that thanks mate,in a month or two i'll be hitting a favorite bream hotspot and you've got a pink one in the pics that'd work well i thinkWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beetle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2018 at 8:54pm
I've Frankensteined many soft plastics together using Senkosam's soldering iron method. The results have been very positive. I have even made moulds of the hybrid plastics so that I can reproduce that particular design in numbers.

It is a lot of fun trying out different things. As mentioned, it is often something that doesn't seem to resemble any food item that gets the most attention. The more abstract, the better.

As is usually the case, fancy fishing lures catch far more fishermen than fish. Something with a different feel/vibration catches the attention of fish, and they often come over to investigate. Given that they have no hands, fish will suck the "strange" thing into their mouths to suss it out and get a feel for it. That is when you've got 'em!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Mar 2018 at 10:17pm
Originally posted by Beetle Beetle wrote:


It is a lot of fun trying out different things. As mentioned, it is often something that doesn't seem to resemble any food item that gets the most attention. The more abstract, the better.

As is usually the case, fancy fishing lures catch far more fishermen than fish. Something with a different feel/vibration catches the attention of fish, and they often come over to investigate. Given that they have no hands, fish will suck the "strange" thing into their mouths to suss it out and get a feel for it. That is when you've got 'em!

Clap

Would you mind posting a few photos?

This isn't to suggest that new or old lures sold should never be bought, but that being selective as to which excel in action and profile should count more than hype. I have 20 yr old valued lures no longer made that I usually don't fish for fear some big pike will snap them off. Other lures were only good for their treble hooks, split rings, blades, beads, and most important - soft plastic parts good for fusing together new lures.

The key is how well Frankenstein lures work year after year and in different lakes or rivers. I haven't tried any on the smallmouth bass in a local river, but will definitely try this spring.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2018 at 7:41am
Originally posted by Beetle Beetle wrote:

I've Frankensteined many soft plastics together using Senkosam's soldering iron method. The results have been very positive. I have even made moulds of the hybrid plastics so that I can reproduce that particular design in numbers.

It is a lot of fun trying out different things. As mentioned, it is often something that doesn't seem to resemble any food item that gets the most attention. The more abstract, the better.

As is usually the case, fancy fishing lures catch far more fishermen than fish. Something with a different feel/vibration catches the attention of fish, and they often come over to investigate. Given that they have no hands, fish will suck the "strange" thing into their mouths to suss it out and get a feel for it. That is when you've got 'em!

Bears worth repeating! Well said! Thanks. 
The thing about lure craft and testing lure designs is a constant reminder of everything Beetle stated, taking nothing for granted and freeing the angler from being boxed in by what others insist are the best lure choices.

Fish see. Fish feel. Fish hear. Stimuli from those three sources forms a picture of a shape in a certain size that moves a certain way at a certain speed. The key is to identify which of those parameters makes a fish strike.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2018 at 7:43am
Of the lures below, one may make the mistake of assuming certain things:
plastics must be round
The lure above has 4 flat sides and catches as many fish as those full round.

Curl tail grubs that have more action get more strikes
The modification of the tail to get rid of the curl, has proven excellent which is why thin straight tails are my preference.

Even cone tail grubs do better for me than curl tails:

Not pursuing different lure designs and testing them would never have allowed me to pursue variety - the spice of fishing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blinky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2018 at 10:21am
Here's one of my lure modifications......the "Hybrid", a hard body / soft plastic union.......
 
Blinky.

Blinky's Lures.
The lures that catch fish, not fishermen.........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote senkosam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2018 at 3:06pm
Nice job! Thanks for going through the trouble of posting the video.
I love the new action.

Not only is there a waddle to the plug via the lip on the jerk or swim, but a tail flutter that drives fish to strike when the lure is barely moved.

Again, well done and I hope you post some fish with the innovation in it's mouth.

Frank
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