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The Making of a New Crankbait

By: Mark Romanack


In this picture the author has just landed a nice walleye on a prototype version of the Precise Walleye Crankbait. Notice the unpainted bill on this digital 3D printed prototype. Finished baits will feature vacuum metallized chrome and gold finishes designed to maximize flash.


Ever notice how some crankbaits catch fish routinely and others only catch the occasional fish? Unfortunately, crankbaits are not all created with the same degree of precision or dedication to quality. The majority of crankbaits hit the market having never been exposed to the time consuming and expensive prototyping process.

Crankbaits, especially cheap imports, hit the market almost as fast as they can be popped out of the molds, painted and packaged. Manufacturers who take the time to build and test multiple prototypes before settling on versions to mass produce are the companies that routinely produce “winners” in the crankbait world.

When Bill Lewis, makers of the famous Rat-L-Trap lipless crankbaits, approached Jake and myself with the idea of designing a new walleye crankbait, we were all in. During the first conversation we explained to Wes Higgins of Bill Lewis Company that the process of building a walleye crankbait that catches fish routinely is going to take a few years.

The only way to manufacturer a crankbait that catches fish consistently is to build a sample prototype, test it, make new prototypes, these them and on and on until a version surfaces that gets the job done! In the case of the Bill Lewis Precise Walleye Crank or PWC for short, it took more than two years and half a dozen prototypes before we settled on a bait we could be proud of.


PRECISE IS IMPORTANT

The Precise Walleye Crank comes by it’s name naturally. We wanted first and foremost to create a bait that fishes true right out of the package. While all crankbaits will at some point need to be tuned to keep them running true, a new bait out of the package should run straight every time!

Baits that run straight out of the package naturally have more action and they achieve their maximum diving depth on shorter leads compared to baits that are not tuned properly.


SPEED TOLERANCE

The best crankbaits have good action at a wealth of speeds, making them useful for slow trolling in cold water and also fast trolling in warmer waters. The PWC not only runs true it has great action at all common trolling speeds.


The author is obviously pleased with the performance of the Bill Lewis Precise Walleye Crank or PWC for short. The HP designation on the bill stands for the high pitch rattle sound on this prototype. During the prototyping process Mark and Jake Romanack tested several different bait variations before settling on the one that produced walleye consistently in warm and cold water trolling situations.


SOUND CHAMBER

Many anglers may already know this, but it was Bill Lewis Company who first pioneered the use of sound in crankbaits. The famous Rat-L-Trap creates a rattle frequency that closely replicates the sound of thread-fin shad a common baitfish species.

The PWC features a sharp rattling sound designed to help walleye zero in on the bait in stained or murky water conditions and also at night when trolling for trophy walleye.


QUALITY MATTERS

Crankbaits that feature quality finishes, hardware and hooks are the baits that routinely produce the most bites and landed fish. The PWC features premium oversized wide-bend treble hooks designed to stick walleye and keep them stuck.

The finishes on the PWC are also second to none. The PWC is currently available in 24 stock color patterns including solid chrome and solid gold for those custom lure painters who want to create their own “original” color schemes.


DEEPER IS BETTER

Crankbaits that feature a steep Dive Curve are especially useful for walleye trolling. Baits that reach substantial depth on modest trolling leads are efficient in reaching the primary depths walleye are found, notably 15-25 feet down.

The PWC reaches 25 feet down just 100 feet back when fished on 10# test monofilament. The other advantage of crankbaits that feature a steep Dive Cure is they also easily reach deeper depths when fished in combination with the Precision Trolling Data 50 Plus 2 trolling method. Adding a two ounce Snap Weight to the PWC gets this bait down over 40 feet with just 150 feet of trolling lead out!


SUMMING IT UP

The PWC has been two years in the making. Good things come to those who wait! Dealers should have the first production runs of these new crankbaits in stock yet this fall, just in time for the best walleye bite of the year.

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