What does fish or cut bait mean?

Before I go back and forth about my hobbyhorse, I want to add that this is MY special approach to handicrafts. So don't let my thoughts and considerations restrict you and make your own experiences and experiments. Should you contradict me or have any other suggestions, don't be afraid to share them.

Building instructions for artificial baits can now be found in abundance on the net and you only have to decide on one method. But the actual handicrafts are only part of this lovely hobby. The tinkering begins with the design, the considerations about the bait and the attempt to understand artificial bait as such. Since there is (still) relatively little available on the internet, I would like to contribute something.

Have fun while reading.



One of my big goals when building bait is realism and attention to detail. That is why I have always looked for suggestions from other areas of the art of carving such as the production of fish sculptures or lures for spear fishing.
If you look at these works of art, at some point you ask yourself why you don't try to build bait with the same attention to detail.


However, there is a huge catch from the start, namely that artificial lures should not only look great, but should also have at least a little something that we anglers let pass as "walking behavior".
A real dilemma, because nature has unfortunately not thought of equipping fish with diving shovels, screw eyes or door hinges. So, unfortunately, it has to be stated that the bait, which is realistic in all aspects, will probably never exist. But you just have to take things as they come and should see the necessity of the above-mentioned "appendages" not as a shortcoming but as an opportunity for us hobbyists.

From the head to the drawing board - first attempts at a design

It is doubtful whether the mantra of the fly fishermen "Match the Hatch" can be completely transferred to predator fishing, but it is certainly never wrong for pike and co. To run something that they recognize as their prey.
After I have decided on the type of fish that I would like to imitate with my bait, I look around the Internet for photos and drawings of the fish and also look at what the industry is already offering for bait in this field. For me as a relatively untalented draftsman, it is also important to find the best possible profile pictures for later copying. In general, however, this phase is about capturing the peculiarities of a fish species such as head and fin shape as well as color and body structure.



Now it is a matter of converting these impressions into a bait template.
I start by editing a suitable image with a graphics program and scaling it to the desired size and, if necessary, compressing or stretching it a little.

The crux of the matter is that fish are very different. There are big and small, thick and thin, and all the levels in between. Scaling a meter pike to the size of a jerkbait seems somehow unreal and even a capital roach that is taller than it is long looks like a failed gene experiment in wobbler form. Therefore you should try to use pictures of fish that are perhaps halfway the size of the later bait. Now is the time to “press” the body shape into the desired bait shape.

If I'm satisfied, the stencil is copied or drawn by hand with all the desired details such as gill cover, scales or fins.

Wooden shoe or running miracle effects of designs


Once our desired shape has been designed, we now unfortunately have to think about how practicable it is. My experience now helps me here, but I also orient myself very much towards commercially produced baits. I just don't have the muse to tinker with 10 eye-catching baits to test myself. I also often build one-offs and concept baits, but when I really want a bait for hard work on the water, I rely on the tried and tested.
In this phase I draw the position of the eyelets and blades and think about the number of possible divisions. One eye is always on the stability of the bait as well as the possibility of keeping it properly later.

Since swimbait making has not only been booming in our forum lately, from now on I will pretend I'm building a swimbait. This also has the reason that swimbaits combine a lot of difficulties but the partial aspects can also be transferred to simpler baits.

First I think about the number and position of the incisions on the bait. A central cut is the simplest variant and leads to a relatively jagged action (in English "broken back") or, in connection with a diving shovel, to violent tail wagging. Two cuts lead to a smoother run which consequently gets better and better the more divisions you make. However, this also increases the difficulty of building and weakens the structure of the bait.
It is also not insignificant at what intervals you divide the bait. Equal parts result in an S-like movement, while a larger front section results in a wagging barrel.

Loose like never before - joints and connections

Once I have decided how often I want to share my bait, I am concerned with the question of how I actually want to put it back together later.
The classic solution is a straight cut and a connection of screw eyes. It is functional, resilient and easy to accomplish.
However, in my pursuit of realism, she is very unstatic in my eyes. Therefore, for me connections are more interesting that use V or U notches to hide the elements inside.


Or maybe even hinged door connections that are visually very appealing but very difficult to make.



Here it is important to find the optimal path between optics, stability and feasibility.
It should also be noted here that paint and a protective layer must be applied later, which might inhibit movement.


The inner values ​​- bait remain

With all the games with joints and shapes, I also have to think about the lead of a bait, because without lead, the later run is pure game of chance.



Based on the basic material, we need more or less lead in the bait, whereby light material leads to a fluid run and denser material gives our bait more momentum and dynamism (e.g. when moving).
The most obvious effect of the weighting is the sinking or swimming behavior of my bait. Triplets and eyelets also have to be taken into account here.
Furthermore, the weight stabilizes the bait in flight and in the water, as it allows us to determine the center of gravity of the bait and thus also influence its running behavior.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdAJHkBV-v8I need more details


The gills, fins and eyes are all things one would expect from a realistic fish imitation. Sometimes I have already discussed the subtleties of carving or painting in other threads, so I would like to only highlight the design aspect here.
Fine carvings or even painted details on the surface do not affect the running behavior of our bait. Applications made of rubber, wood, plastic or metal do this very well. In addition, the question arises whether they sometimes hinder the grasp of the hook and whether they can be attached to the bait in a stable manner.
Soft materials such as rubber or even fur or feathers have the disadvantage that they are usually not very resistant. On the other hand, they usually don't hinder the run that much.
Plastic and metal fins, on the other hand, are very durable, but if they are not fitted exactly they can destabilize the bait and have a rowing effect under water. It may also be necessary to adapt the lead scheme accordingly.

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