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Crankbait Tuning with the EZ Crankbait Tuner

By: Mark Romanack


Learning to tune a crankbait is a “must master” fishing skill for anyone who hopes to become successful trolling with crankbaits.


Everyone who has spent much time trolling or casting crankbaits knows these lures are fish catching machines. The problem is sometimes the machine breaks down. All crankbaits are subject to being knocked out of “tune” a term that indicates the bait is no longer running straight in the water or diving to maximum depth.

Most crankbaits feature a wire molded into the diving lip or the nose of the lure that is designed to be the center of the bait and also the point where the fishing line is attached to the lure. If this wire becomes bent for any reason, the bait will run to the left or to the right when trolled or casted and retrieved.

A crankbait is typically knocked out of tune while removing the lure from a fish’s mouth or when the bait becomes badly tangled in the landing net. Even a powerful fish can put enough pressure on the “line tie” to tweak a crankbait and render it temporarily “out of tune”.

Thankfully crankbaits that become “out of tune” can be “re-tuned” to run straight by simply bending the wire eye tie back to it’s original position. The process of tuning a crankbait is a trial and error event that requires the angler to make a minor adjustment, cast the lure and retrieve it to see how the lure is running and then make another adjustment to correct issues.

If a crankbait is running to the left of center, the wire eye tie will need to be bent slightly to the right. If the bait is running to the right of center the wire eye tie will need to be bent slightly to the left.

A little goes a long way when bending the eye tie on a crankbait and too much bending can soften the wire to the point the bait can never be kept in tune.

The EZ Crankbait Tuner is a tool designed to help anglers tune crankbaits using small adjustments to the eye tie wire. Similar to a pair of pliers, the EZ Crankbait Tuner has two jaws. One jaw is long and is designed to be positioned on the edge of the crankbait’s diving lip. The second jaw is short and is position against the wire eye tie of the crankbait.

The short jaw features a slip clutch mechanism that can be set to deliver very precise amounts of pressure to the wire eye tie. A small tension dial on the EZ Crankbait Tuner makes it easy to increase or decrease the slip jaw pressure so that crankbaits large and small can be effectively tuned.

Tuning a crankbait with the EZ Crankbait Tuner requires a few simple steps. Start by resetting the slip jaw. Squeeze the short jaw until it snaps shut against the long jaw. Next point the crankbait towards you and line up the long jaw on the edge of the diving lip and the short jaw on the wire eye tie. The third step is to squeeze the handle on the EZ Crankbait Tuner until the slip jaw pops. When this occurs a noticeable click can be heard.

Next, make a cast and watch closely as the bait is retrieved to see if the adjustment has made a difference in how the bait is running. If no adjustment occurred, tighten the adjustment knob on the EZ Crankbait Tuner one half turn clockwise, reset the slip clutch jaw and try again. If a large adjustment to the crankbait is noted, back off the tension knob one half turn and try again.

Once the tension adjustment is set properly, tuning crankbaits becomes a simple matter of making a few adjustments and testing the bait to confirm the results are a perfectly tuned or straight running crankbait. Compared to a pair of pliers, the EZ Crankbait Tuner makes it much easier to apply consistent pressure to the wire eye tie so as to make small and controlled adjustments.

Any crankbait from small panfish sized lures to the oversized musky and saltwater baits can be tuned using the EZ Crankbait Tuner. This unique tool should be in the tackle box of every angler who fishes with crankbaits.


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