Every angler knows that proper placement of their lure can be critical. At times, a bass' strike zone will shrink to a matter of inches. Miss your target and you'll miss the bite. Practice helps, but even the best have trouble with some lures. Small, lightweight balsa wood baits are the worst. The slightest breeze will push them off target.
Elite Series pro, Jim Murray, was frustrated by this. "I like to throw Rapala Shad Raps in the fall and during the postspawn. They're great lures," he says, "but they can be a problem in the wind. Number 5s and 7s are real bad; they're almost impossible to cast accurately. They just don't have enough weight."
And so, this Georgia angler — a custom lure painter by trade and tinkerer at heart — developed a way to add weight to these baits so they'll cast better but at the same time not destroy their delicate balance and action.
"I put a little Sticky Weight to them, right on the top of the back, about a quarter-inch in front of the back hook. It causes the back of the lure to shoot forward on the cast and lets me cast them accurately in the wind. They'll cut right through it and go exactly where you want them to go. It can make a big difference in how many bass you catch."
Murray cautions, however, that this modification takes practice. Too little weight and the lure will move around on the cast; too much and the action of the bait will be ruined. Either way you won't catch very many fish.
"I start with just a tiny dab and then add to it as necessary depending on conditions," he says. "Try it at home in the evening or over the winter when you have time to mess around. Test them in a bucket of water or the bathtub. That way you'll have an idea of what to do when you're on the water.
"The great thing about this technique is that it isn't permanent. Keep a little Sticky Weight in your tacklebox and, once you have some experience, you'll be able to add or remove weight as conditions change without permanently altering the bait."
Although Murray first developed this modification for Shad Raps it will work on almost any lightweight fishing lure. Minnow imitating plugs, flat-sided crankbaits and very light topwater lures are some of the most obvious. Experiment ... you never know what might come of it.