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Upgrading and Tuning your Woodchoppers 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:53 pm Reply with quote
Art Weston
Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 238
Location: United States
After many many hours of trial and error, I am able to make a hardware upgrade and tuning recommendation for the following woodchoppers:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/827/20111016006.jpg/

- Luhr Jensen - 6 3/4" Big Game Woodchopper - Most recent models sold (can find them on EBay by searching "Woodchopper Slim")

- Luhr Jensen's 6 3/4" Big Game Woodchopper - Circa 1997 (still being sold, but a a bit longer and slimmer than those above)
[url]http://www.barlowstackle.com/Big-Game-Woodchopper-from-Luhr-Jensen-P2381.aspx
[/url]

- Caribe Pavon Prop 7"
http://www.caribelures.com/Catalog_Main1.php


- High Roller's Rip Roller 6.5"
http://www.highrollerlures.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=3_17

==============
Equipment Needed:

- Split Ring Pliers (I love Texas Tackle's Large Pliers in Green Handle)
http://www.tackletour.com/reviewtexastacklesplitringpliers.html
- Lure Parts Online 3X Super Split Rings in Size 5
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1378
- Lure Parts Online Chopper Props (Comes in a pair, but only use the "B"s)
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=628
- Lure Parts Online Cup Washers size 5/16
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=624
- Lure Parts Online .092" Magnum Screw Eyes Closed Eye 2"
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1439
- Lure Parts Online .092" Magnum Screw Eyes Closed Eye 3/4"
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1439
- VMC 8527PS Gladiator 6X Treble Hooks in size 4/0, 3/0, and 2/0
http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1428

============
Rational:

One thing that took me a while to learn was whether or not it mattered how the chopper would float when stationary. If any given chopper has no hooks on it, it will float flat in the water. Usually, when you get them with factory hooks, they float a tiny bit tail down. Be careful, some factory choppers have oddly weighted wood, and float nose up (those I just toss, b/c nothing will make those work well).

What I learned is that you can be more tail down than you might suspect, and that depends on the lure brand. So you don't need to have hook combos that make the lure lie flattish as they do when come from the factory. I wish I knew this before, b/c that is what I had been doing.

Here is a picture of the final configurations for each brand floating:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/692/20111016004.jpg/

It does matter that you taper your hook sizes as you go down from the nose to the tail. However, I found a particular combo that works for all the brands I tested, which is nice.

Here is the hook recipe:
- At the head, use a VMC 6X in size 4/0 (VERY strong and large hook), then a VMC 6x 3/0 in the middle, then a VMC 6X 2/0 on the tail. I have tested most of the major 4X-7X treble hooks, and the VMC are unbeatable (the Daiichis can tie them, but 2x as expensive ... and the Owner 4X's of similar visual size are NOT as strong and WAY more expensive).

Split Rings:
- The Lure Parts Online 3X Super Split Rings in Size 5 are basically indestructible ... they show some deformation when you get over 90lbs of pressure, but will hold up to at least 110lbs of force (most people line will fail before that). However, if you want the best of the best, go with the Wolverine 3X split rings, as they tested a bit better.
http://www.wolverinetackleinc.com/rings.htm

Screw Eyes:
- The Rip Roller's eyes on head and body are too small for the 3X rings, so I change them out with the Lure Parts Online ones. You don't have to change any of the other brands out if you don't like to, but the Lure Parts Online ones are much stronger (so I did it anyway). The same goes with the tail eye ... the Lure Parts Online 2" eye is much more robust than the factory ones, so I changed them out.

Here is a photo of the Rip Roller with a changed out screw eye to accommodate a 3X ring.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/829/20111016012.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/683/20111016016.jpg/

To change them is really easy. Take off all the hooks and rings, then use split ring pliers and twist them off (the tooth of the pliers goes right in the eye hole perfectly). You can buy a Screw Eye bit, but unfortunately it does not fit over the Magnum eyes.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/9/20111016014.jpg/

http://lurepartsonline.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=623

Props:
Ok, here is where it gets really important. I spent nearly 7 hours (wife and kids out of town) testing out different props (including double props) on ALL of the woodchoppers I reviewed, and there really is only one good choice, and it is not the factory prop. Go with the monster Chopper Prop from Lure Parts Online ... which are bigger than any prop I have seen. They come in pairs, but only use the "B" one, the "A"s are for if you want to do a double prop, which I determined you don't need.

As an aside, the Luhr Jensen factory props that have a hole in each blade were the best out of the box compared to the other brands.

Tuning the woodchoppers:
Let me tell you, when your blades are not tuned, almost any chopper out of the box or upgraded stink (short of the Luhr Jensen ones I mentioned above with the holes in the blades) ... SO, don't judge your chopper until the blades are tuned!

Everyone tells you to tune your lures ... but most don't really tell you how to do it. I didn't know if it meant to bend the tail screw eye up or down (which I tried) or somehow bend the prop blades. I mean how much difference could it make?? Well, it makes a HUGE difference when you bend the blades correctly, and no material difference when you bend the eye.

Good news is it is really really easy to tune them, especially when using the replacement prop I recommend (it is big and easy to bend). All you do is bend each prop side up towards the nose about a 1/4 of an inch. I bend the blades as close to the center of the blade as possible so the majority of the blade is bent forward. They will almost look like they are pointing a bit forward toward the nose. Even if you don't do it perfectly, it should still make a massive difference and mimic that wonderful whoosh whoosh whoosh that a great woodchopper makes. Then all you do is just bend a bit more forward or back until you get the most noise, water splash, and stability ... only should take a few casts to get it right. Try to bend each prop blade the same amount.

You can tune the factory blades in the same way, but none of the ones that came with my choppers was as good as a replacement blade.

Here is a photo of a tuned replacement blade:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/20111016009.jpg/

Issue:
I did run into one issue. The tail hook can catch on one of the blades and make the woodchopper spin in a circle and twist your line. I fixed this by using two split rings on the tail to make the hook essentially a bit longer and the hang ups should be very infrequent. A secondary benefit of this longer tail hook presentation is I hope it will aid in a better hook set, as the prop blades might get in the way during a strike when the hook is closer to the prop (even though most times the peacocks will hit the head of the chopper first).

Supplemental finding:
One way to keep your chopper from getting hung up on the line when it hits the water, is to apply thumb pressure right before the lure hits the water, making the lure land tail first. This is an important finding for me at least.

Optional Treble Hook Covers:
I love Owner Safety Caps in the Blue (XL) and Yellow (L) sizes. All you really need is the Yellow to cover hooks from sizes 1/0 to 4/0, but I use the Blues for 4/0 VMCs.

http://www.hooksettersupply.com/Owner_Treble_Hook_Safety_Caps_p/owner-5112.htm

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/542/20111016011.jpg/

-Art
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:50 pm Reply with quote
Rick Klotz
Guest
Art:

In general I'm glad I get to spend more time fishing and less time on scientific pursuits. More power to ya.

Your advice on the following has another benefit:
Supplemental finding: One way to keep your chopper from getting hung up on the line when it hits the water, is to apply thumb pressure right before the lure hits the water, making the lure land tail first. This is an important finding for me at least.

A little pressure using thumb or rod causes the bait to hit the water in a more subtle fashion. In shallow water situations it won't spook the fish as often. Having said that, there are times when aggressive fish don't much seem to care so it's case-by-case depending the mood of the fish.
choppers 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:27 pm Reply with quote
Bob Daly
Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 255
Location: Whiting, Indiana
I always bent the tips of the prop blades in/out to give the right sound. Art, after you test the choppers you definately will know the right sound! Thanks for all the great info
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Upgrading and Tuning your Woodchoppers 
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