The Rago Live Trout Soft Bait is the sister bait to the hardbait. They are basically from the same mold and were released in the fall of 2003. This bait is a medium sinking bait that can be fished from the top on down about as deep as you care to let it sink. This is a fairly heavy bait requiring a solid swimbait setup and it measures in at 9.5” long.
This bait fits a very interesting niche in the swimbait world. It’s weighted so it sinks and stays down, and it also has a bill which keeps it down even on a medium-fast retrieve. Before this bait there were no other baits I can think of that fished deep with a trout tail and stayed deep even at a fast retrieve. The knobby tail baits stay deep, and the stocker trout fishes well deep, but the faster you reel those baits, the more they plane up. On the Live Trout Soft Bait, the combination of the weight and the bill, make it an excellent choice for deep fast fishing.
The other things to talk about are color and durability. The colors on the baits are very subtle trout colors. They don’t look flashy on the shelf but in the water they really look like a fish. I’m very happy with the colors. When you put your bait in the water, I think you will see what I am talking about.
The bait seems pretty durable so far. It seems to be about the same durability wise as the stocker trout, meaning that with luck you might get 10 fish on a bait, and without luck a big fish might rip it on the first shot. So I’d rate it as pretty decent in the rubber bait category.
The main thing about this bait though is the way it moves through the water. You put it in the water at the side of the boat and move it along and it just looks incredibly real. The bottom fins swish back and forth and the overall movement is very very trout like. I’m going to go out on a limb here and proclaim this the most realistic trout imitation there is in the rubber bait category.
So with realism there is always a price. And that price is usually hook up ratio. The bait comes stock with a large VMC hook, looks like a 3/0. It’s a decent hook but you must sharpen it or replace it with a premium hook.
There will always be debate about whether to use a stinger hook or not, but for me this is a bait that absolutely requires a stinger hook. I rigged mine with 40lb coated wire using size A3 crimps. I rigged off the eye of the stock hook about 2” to the eye of a 2/0 premium hook. It’s simple and easy to rig with crimping pliers. With the stinger, between Nico and I we went 3 for 3 on the first trip out with the bait. You will lose fish on this bait, but because the body of the bait is relatively narrow, the fish will be able to get their mouth around it better than the fatter rubber baits. I give it a B for hookup ratio and recommend a big net with a long handle!
The other cons for this bait are that you cannot fish it slow and you really can’t fish it very shallow. If you throw it into 3’ of water with weeds, you’ll catch weeds. If you want to crawl it along, it just doesn’t swim. So be aware of what it can and cannot do, and use it where it does best which is deep and fast.
This lure has been discontinued from production as far as I know.