Balsa wood crank baits are a main stay in the arsenal of many anglers. All of the major manufacturers produce them. They come in every size and color pattern you can imagine and are amazing fish catchers. However by their very nature they can be extremely fragile. Especially when they are visited by the teeth of various freshwater predatory species. This means that a balsa wood lure is only going to last you a few fish if the bite is on.
At least that's what it used to mean. While attending a seminar this winter I was shown a great tackle tip. It was the use of heat shrink tubing to extend the life of balsa wood baits. As you can see in the picture above, adding a small amount of tubing will keep the lure from being ripped in two when it's struck by a fish. All you have to do is remove the rear hook, slide the heat shrink onto the lure, apply some heat (carefully), and then reattach the hook. It's a great way to extend the life of your lures. It should allow every salmon, walleye, or pike angler to get a few more casts out of their lucky bait.