Making A Classic Waker

By Capt. Steve Chaconas

Get out your crankbaits and rearrange the rattles and ballast for baits that will go from fine to fantastic.

Charlie Campbell - An Original

One of the original wake baits had to be the Mann's 1-Minus. Not to be confused with its much smaller cousin the BABY 1-Minus, this bait is 3-1/4 inches and weighs in at 5/8 ounce! It can be fished as a surface lure to about a foot deep. It will cast a mile! It is a proven fish-catcher. But a professional tinkerer has made this bait different if not even better!

Pro Staff for Nitro and Bass Pro Shops, legend Charlie Campbell is one of the founding fishing fathers. Not a lure goes into his tacklebox or on the end of his line that hasn't been tweaked in some manner to make it a better fish-catcher. In the golden years, crankbaits were few and far between.

The transition from wood to hard plastic crankbaits was underway, but anglers were always seeking an edge to capture the allure of old fashioned lures in the midst of mass produced lures intended to catch fish ... and fishermen. Buoyancy was achieved with hollow chambers in the new plastic crankbaits. Rattles were added for noise and ballast.

Why mess with a good thing? Charlie is the kind of guy who takes things apart to see what makes them work. In doing this with a Mann's 1-Minus, he noted three rattle chambers that also served to balance the bait. The lip of this lure has a built in side-to-side action, but Campbell wanted a bait that pulled and made harder side-to-side turns. Drilling out the middle chamber revealed two steel balls. These were also the belly ballast weight and were about 8mm in diameter. Removing these two balls, he drilled out the tail section and inserted them to join the smaller rattles in the tail. Campbell didn't care what the bait looked like in his hand, but what it did in the water. He used some epoxy glue to hold two plastic beads to plug the holes. The result is a hard pulling, hard waking lure! This will out perform other wake baits as it has the shape, the rattles and now the rear balance to force that bait to move water! Moreover, it would outcast the original.

A Different Spin On The Original

Using a 7/32 size drill bit, carefully drill a hole on the belly just behind the mid hook hanger. You will have to use the drill bit to slightly widen the hole to allow the 8mm metal balls to fall out. Save them! Drill another hold near the tail section of the bait, again, this hole will have to be widened a bit to allow the insertion of the 8mm balls. Take care to avoid losing the smaller rattle balls in the rear section.

Here's where I differed with Campbell. Take an 8mm round plastic bead and insert a nail that is a bit bigger than the hole in the bead. Tap with a hammer and the bead will split in half. Now carefully use some epoxy to glue the half beads into the holes to seal them. Allow to dry and harden, then you can lightly sand to even them out and touch up with some paint. I used Jig and Vinyl paint from Jann's Netcraft where I also found the plastic beads. Charlie just jammed the beads into the holes, leaving a bead bubble. He also drilled into the side of the bait for the rear chamber. I opted to keep both holes on the bottom for aesthetics.

Replace the rear stock hook with a Number 2 KVD Mustad Short shank triple grip treble, the belly hook with a Number 2 red round bend treble, and the nose split ring with an oval split ring or a large snap. The larger snap will allow for the very wide swings this bait will make. Tie it to GAMMA 60 pound test Torque Braid and cast a mile on a 7'2" medium heavy Quantum Tour KVD rod. Keep the bait moving even if a fish misses, it will come back. Also try jerking the bait to create a hard wobble!

This easy modification will change this bait to create a new bait that will draw up big bites. Use it over grass and through pads, as the braid will allow the bait to be ripped free! It is very effective in open water and around wood, especially at night! Braided line will also allow for good hooksets on long casts. So get out your baits and rearrange the rattles and ballast for baits that will go from fine to fantastic! Thanks to Charlie Campbell for sharing this long lost "secret" among others in his Classic Tacklebox!