Lip Service

By Capt. Steve Chaconas

Sometimes when I am fishing with clients, they either hit the motor with their lure or cast the lure into a rock or other hard surface. In either case my crank baits usually don't survive. Crankbait lips are fairly durable, but will break when hitting solid objects. The result is a perfectly good fish catcher ready for the trashcan, or becoming a Christmas tree ornament.

Don't Trash It - Repair It!

I have a pile of broken-lipped lures in a box and unfortunately this collection is getting bigger. Crankbaits cost $5-15 and even more! I make frequent visits to for other lure and rod building supplies when I noticed crankbait lips. While these are primarily used for building a crankbait from scratch, I eyed them for possibly being able to use them to replace the broken lips on my crankbaits. Jann's has a wide variety of lips in shapes and sizes for just about any lure. They also have the thin computer circuit board lips that have become the rage on high end custom crankbaits as they are very thin and strong ... much more durable than other materials. They also create unique actions!

The broken lure was a Mann's Baby-X. These are a favorite of mine as the shape and rattles fool fish! I measured across the old lip and chose the Netcraft 1" x 15/16 lip. Modifying the dimensions to get a perfect fit and length for the desired fit was easy. Using a pair of cutters, I removed the rest of the broken lip. Next a Dremmel circular saw was perfect for creating a groove for the new lip. Here's where some planning is required. The angle of the existing lip and the new lip needs to be the same or pretty close. Taking a new lure for comparison, line up the angle and gently use the high speed Dremmel to cut the slot for the new lip. A small, thin flat file will slowly remove more of the lure to create the precise angle opening for the new lip.

Insert the new Jann's lip into the slot created to check the fit. The groove was a bit deeper than an 1/8 inch and was deep enough to expose the hollow chamber inside the crank bait. Use the same small flat file to shape the lip for a perfect fit into the slot and a "T" shape to enter the chamber. The file allows customizing the new lip to the receiving body.

Mix either epoxy or JB Weld and paste onto the lip as it is placed into position. Place the lure into a vise with the blade up and positioned to form the preferred angle and allow to dry. A bit of touch up on the excess glue with a file and some Jig & Lure Vinyl paint, also available from Jann's and you are ready to fish.

  • Photo of Using a Dremmel tool on a crankbait
    Photo of a blank crankbait
  • Photo of filing a crankbait
    Photo of the filed notch in a crankbait
  • Close up of the Jann's lip for a new crankbait
    Photo of a new lip inserted into new crankbait

This lure is now a fish catcher, but totally different than the original. This specific lure will run deeper, have more wiggle and deflect more aggressively than before. In about 10 minutes and for less than a quarter, a broken, useless lure has been transformed into a totally new one-of-a-kind tacklebox favorite. I am catching so many fish with my "new" lures that I am actually looking forward to having another one break!