Regardless of whether or not your go-to crankbait is fresh from the tackle shop or gently used after multiple fishing trips, tuning can be an issue. Every angler has had the experience of dropping their lure in the water and watching it veer off to the side instead of diving straight. While an out of tune lure is not ideal or useful in any situation, it is able to be corrected.
Tuning a crankbait requires its eye-tie to be tilted the opposite direction in which the lure is veering. This means, the little metal half ring attached to the lip of the crankbait needs to be turned a bit to the right or left, whichever is opposite of the direction it is swimming. This tweak to the lure should be microscopic. If you can visibly tell the eye-tie was moved, you may have overcompensated and the lure might veer off in the other direction. Be careful with how many times you turn or bend the eye-tie, as this motion can cause the metal to become soft and break.
There are two popular tools for anglers to complete a proper tuning of their new or old and out of tune crankbaits. The first, and most common, tool is a pair of needlenose pliers. Most anglers have a set of pliers in their tackle box to serve multiple purposes. One of the more precise tasks pliers can be used for is to bend the eye-tie on a crankbait and tune it perfectly. Pliers can allow for a better grip on larger crankbait eye-ties and they are great for making large adjustments to lures. When making small tweaks or working with small crankbaits, though, pliers can be more of a hinderance by getting in the way and obstructing the angler’s view of the eye-tie.
The second tool, the Reef Runner Tune-A-Fish Crankbait Tuner, is specifically designed to make tuning crankbaits as easy as possible. The compact, stainless steel tool has two different sized cutouts, one on each end, allowing anglers to make a more exact adjustment when tuning crankbaits. The Tune-A-Fish sits perpendicular to the lure and the eye-tie slides into one of the cutouts. The design of this tool allows anglers to have a clear view of the eye-tie as they tune. The tool also comes attached to a lanyard for easy storage and retrieval. Since there are predetermined size cutouts on the Tune-A-Fish, some crankbaits may be too small or too large to fit properly. Ill-fitting eye-ties can make tuning harder and cause more bending and twisting than pliers. This could also cause the eye-tie to snap or break if manipulated too often. This specialized tool will only work correctly when the eye-tie is mounted on the bill or lip of the lure.
FishUSA recommends anglers have both a set of pliers and the Tune-A-Fish in their tackle box or on their boat. This will allow you to easily and effectively tune any lure, new or old, small or large, while on a fishing trip.