Can the plastic bill on a crankbait be shortened to make it retrieve and a shallower depth? I was thinking of putting several that I don't use often on a grinding wheel because the water I like to fish them isn't deep enough for them.....
Rich, the answer is YES. I modified many of my striper baitssuch as bomber (shortened the lip to almost nonexistent), YoZuri L-Jacks, Tobis, DS, Empes-all modified.
My suggestion is to swim them in a swimming pool where you can see exactly what they do. Make notes as to how deep they go, how far they wobble side to side, etc. Then I would make sure that you make subtle changes (like fractions of an inch at at time and try to maintain the original lip's shape. Don't square off a rounded lip and a rounded lip that comes to a point at the bottom needs to finish off that way. Use a file at first and take small amounts off. A bench grinder will destroy the lip.
You don't need much.....taking a sixteenth off a bomber lip shaves a foot from its depth but does not hamper its action. Taking an eighth off makes it dive two feet less but kills its action pretty much. Never fear though. Lures that lose their action make really good topwaters and some of my bombers that I screwed up have been converted to topwaters. In fact the ones that had screw eyes have props on the tail and catch fish.
Sky's the limit here. Make sure you take notes so you remember what you did....you think you will but you won't.
Dave, Thanks for that advice. I have a lot of luck with Bomber Flat A's for fresh water. I fish here and also in Iowa (my wife's place of origin) and go to Canada with Iowa guys. One Flat A got so destroyed by northerns in Canada that it now hangs from my car's rear-view mirror (hooks cut off!). I have a bunch of 4-8' Flat A's but want to alter those and will take your advice. Thanks.
I will also start targeting muskie for the first time and read your posts. I think I have a rod/reel and some baits to get started. Your advice is appreciated. I'll send you some pics - I hope - when I catch my first!