Tune a Crank-Bait

How to keep your lure running true.

Field & Stream Online Editors

The effectiveness of a crankbait depends primarily on how straight and deep it runs during a retrieve. Because anglers often bounce crankbaits off rocks, logs, or other bottom cover, these lures frequently get out of tune-which means they'll begin running to one side, rolling over, vibrating improperly, or simply staying too shallow. Some lures even need to be tuned right out of the box. Here's how to get that crankbait into fish-catching shape:

**[BRACKET "Step 1"] **

With a pocketknife, scrape the paint away from each hook holder (and the hook if it's a particularly sloppy paint job). This ensures that the trebles will swing freely from side to side, which allows maximum vibration of the lure and will help prevent it from rolling to one side.

[BRACKET "Step 2"]

Replace the round split ring on the line-tie eye with an oblong one. Available in tackle shops, oblong rings prevent your line from sliding into the split, which can keep a crankbait from diving properly. Some pros (and manufacturers) also use oblong split rings to attach the treble hooks, ensuring complete freedom of movement.

[BRACKET "Step 3"]

If the crankbait runs to one side, say to the right, hold the lure with the bill facing you, and with a pair of needle-nose pliers, gently rotate the line-tie eye clockwise, so that the bottom of it (the edge facing you) moves slightly to the left. Don't bend the eye; rotate it-and only a very little bit. Make a short cast and retrieve quickly to see if you've corrected the problem. Repeat, if necessary, until the lure runs straight and true. Then use your perfectly tuned crankbait to catch some summer lunkers.