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Rago Baits - Real Trout

Author: Rob Belloni

Overview/History:   The first prototypes of this lure started trickling out around December 2006.  These were garage style baits, 3d molds, with no painted on spots or colors.  The first baits I played with were very heavy.  On the order of ROF20, to use the Huddleston nomenclature.  There was a single top hook on the proto baits, and no wire loop on the belly.

The production lures that came out months later were similar, but different in some important regards.  The production lures, like you see photographed here in this review, were OEM’d through Castaic Softbait and painted, not poured to get the color.  They had less weight in them, and were made from an injection type plastic.  The lures measure 8" and came in two sink rates, a heavy (denoted by red dot on belly) and medium denoted by a green dot.  There were several trout patterns available including the Castaic ghost rainbow pattern.

Pros:  I don’t often talk about color first.  But color is one thing about these lures that I do like.  The Castaic ghost rainbow color has a very appealing look both in and out of the water.  It’s a dark bait, but the transparency gives the lure a finesse feel.  Transparent lures give you such nice adaptability in varying light conditions.

As a rule, I like painted lures over poured lures, and feel that they give better detail with smoother transitions between the colors.  Airbrushing will do that for you.  The Real Trout looks legitimate under water.  If I was a bass, I’d take interest.

Cons:  When these lures came out in production, I bought a pile.  We had caught fish on the prototypes, and I expected these painted lures to work even better.  I’m looking for an edge and felt this could be the deal.  My first trip out with the production stuff was a disappointment, and it was everything to do with the action.  These lures did not swim.

I tried all of my baits again a few months later and they still didn’t swim.  Disappointed I put them away for over a year.  Finally I had the time to tinker and see if I could make a few of them work.  I went to the local pond with all my modification tools and sat down on the shore.  Half an hour and 4 lures later I was still disappointed.

I cut all the fins off.  I cut the lower jaw of the lure off.  I put mojo weights up and down the lure, varying the position to try to get a decent swimming action.  I tried the lures on a snap and on a direct tie.  I tried gluing fins back on in different positions to see if I could get the darn things working, but it was all to no avail.  I got bad lures.  It happens sometimes.

If you could get swimmers, I think this lure has potential, but even with a swimmer, there are still drawbacks.  There’s no wire loop on the belly for one thing.  Incomprehensible to me.   I like to fish for big bass, but I don’t like to lose them when they jump.  Just being honest here.

Another issue is the visibility of the lure harness inside the bait.  In the ghost colors, there is a glaring chunk of lead visible from behind the gills back toward the anal fin.  This is the part of the lure the bass looks at as it approaches, and something really should have been done to color match or hide the harness.

Last complaint from my point of view was the weight of the lures.  Because the pec fins are flared to the sides, these lures need a lot of lead to keep them from planning up on the retrieve, and even the heavy sink models don’t have enough to fish effectively in those 20-40’ depth ranges where so many big bites come.

Overall this was a lure with potential, but one that was poorly executed in production.  A few more months of testing and tweaking and refinement of the weighting and construction could have helped a lot here.  As fas as I know these baits are no longer in production. 

Average Rating out of 7 voters
Matt Peters( Roswell, GA) Nov 14, 2008
I'm going to try and remain professional during this review. I own about 10 of these baits. Looked good, sounded good, but they aint so good IMO.

Yes, very realistic. Good paint jobs. The fins are good idea, but everything about this bait points me to Mr. Huddleston.

First off, no belly ring. I ranted about this immediately on the forums. Unforgiveable, unbelievable, and absolutely inexcusable. I guess maybe they added them now, but I have a bunch that don't have them. The top hook sticks way too far out of the top of the bait (Reaction Strike style!). I would have to have a perfect bite to land a fish on the bait basically. I don't want to cut off the top hook and rig a top trap. The Hudd single hook on the ROF 12/16 is lethal. Like asking you to replace your stock engine in your truck to get it to drive. Dumb. You can't rig a trap hook under the bait without rings or super advanced rigging. Without a belly ring underneath, it went all down hill from there with me.

So, I cast the bait around anyway. It sails in the wind a bit more with the pectoral fins, but manageable. The bait definitely planes in the water with the fins. The bait will only run straight at crawl speed. The open mouth is a straight mistake. The realism is the bait's downfall. The open mouth and fins on the underside look great, but keep the bait from swimming right. That open mouth is a joke. Super soft rubber lip gets all distorted and screws with the tracking of the bait thru the water. Looks good in the pictures, bad for swimming.

It basically reminded me of why Ken made the Hudd like he did. Of course he tried adding more fins for realism, but left them off because he knew it would mean less baits that swim perfect, no planing effect in the water or thru the air, and it just wasn't necessary. The open mouth thing, Ken likely explored that too, but knew it would only alter the swim, and be a negative, so he has a closed mouth, very tight and compact, few fins as possible (in the rear), bait that swims and casts very well, and has stellar realism by color and shape.

I don't know all the drama and to what extent Rago got screwed by Castaic or vice versa. Bottom line, buy Huddleston, and let the kooks and posers out there buy Reaction Strike and these baits and catch very few fish. Apparently some guys get them on this bait. I'm glad. I'm going to have a fire sale on my baits, most of which are still in the package.

There, I'm done. ZERO stars out of five.

GGR( Cen, CA) Feb 26, 2008
Rago Real Trout
When I first saw these baits I was supper pumped. I bought six of these baits. Slow fall and fast fall in both colors available. When I received my baits I noticed the fins and tails were bent. I tried to fix a couple of the baits by dipping the tails in hot water. I have done this with similar baits and have been able to fix the problem. The problem with the Rago's was upon handling them the paint rubbed off. I was not able to fix the tails or fins.

I did take the baits to the lake to see how they would swim. Every single one of them rolled up on their side. Not one of them swam straight.
The tails on four of them would not kick at all. Also, the first one I casted the eyes fell out first cast.

I would like to give Props. to the shop I purchased the baits from, Tackle Warehouse. They let me return the baits and apologized for the problems. Very nice people, great customer service.

Very dissapointing. Bait looks awesome. I own other Rago baits and they fish great. I thought that maybe I just got ahold of a bad batch but just recently a shop in my area started selling the Real Trout. Upon inspection these baits all have bent tails and fins also.

I would suggest you avoid this bait, buy a Huddleston.
Alex( San Jose, CA) Jan 05, 2008
I was really looking forward to this bait when I first heard about it. The first time I saw it in a package, I was a little dissapointed in the way it's jammed in and all the fins as well as the tail are bent. Huds usually look perfectly straight in the package. The third cast I ever made with this bait I caught one that was like 6 pounds...I was really excited until I opened the fishes mouth to to find the white part under the belly used to weight the bait had snapped off. Fortuneately the tackle shop I bought it from replaced it for free and I have had the new one for months without a problem.

The open mouth is cool, but it seems like it's what makes the bait not swim straight at high speeds, but I do like it because you can fill that mouth with megastrike!


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