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Lure Review

Rago and Velvick's Winning Combination : The BV3D


Date: 1/10/11
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Rago Baits
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.17 + EDITOR'S CHOICE!

Swimbaits have been part of the Western bass fishing landscape for well over ten years yet they've only just recently caught on nationally. The early popularity of trout profiled baits really slowed the adoption rate of these big baits because most anglers outside of California refused to throw them in waters where trout were not native or stocked. Never mind that trout are not stocked nor are they native (at least not in large numbers) to one of the more famous swimbait lakes out west, Clear Lake, California. It seems the whole edict of big fish eat little fish just escaped most anglers.


What bait did Velvick use enroute to his Elite Series Golden State Shootout win on Clear Lake California in 2010?


So for years, the big bait market in the States was limited to the West Coast. Anglers in Japan had caught on early as well, but their success was not publicized as greatly as that of the anglers in California, or really, Southern California.


Rago Baits BV3D Swimbait Specifications

Type Soft Bodied Swimbait
Depth Any
Class Soft Plastic Paddletail
Size (approximate weight) 7" = 3 oz : 5.5" = 1 oz
Supplied Hook Owner 3x
Colors / Patterns 7
No. per pack one
MSRP 7" = $24 : 5.5" = $16


Another factor slowing the spread of the big bait frenzy was and still is the incredible secrecy behind the big bait industry. Trophy fishing for any species is a highly clandestine pursuit, and anglers pursuing big bass are not immune. Envy, jealousy, pride, still dominate the scene so anglers who are simply wanting to increase the quality of their catch, and who are not actively pursuing the next world record are left in the dark when it comes to finding out information on the latest baits and techniques that actually work. With a few exceptions, names like Huddleston, Whitmer, Cole, Shaw, Rago, Ellis, and more are relatively unknown to these anglers and information about their baits can be even more scarce.


It's little mystery that the bait was the new Rago Baits BV3D.


What greater stage, then, is there for an avid bass angler to learn about an effective big bait than the triennial Bassmasters Elite Series tournament at Clear Lake, California. In 2007, Steve Kennedy launched the Bruce Smith, Basstrix paddletail craze when he used that bait along with the already well known Huddleston Eight Inch Deluxe Trout enroute to a record setting four day winning limit of 122 pounds, 14 ounces


Jerry Rago debuted this bait in November 2009 at the Outdoor Pro Shop Bass Jam and quickly renamed the bait during Velvick's wire to wire win at Clear Lake.


So the bass angling nation was paying very close attention in 2010, when BASS returned to the Golden State and the record setting venue of Clear Lake, California to see if another big bait name and product would rise to the forefront of a hungry swimbait audience. For those who were paying attention, you already know the result of that story as Byron Velvick led from beginning to end to celebrate the tenth year anniversary of his year 2000 record setting win at Clear Lake with another big bait victory. In the year 2000, Velvick won with a tophook Basstrix bait. His bait of choice this time around? The brand new Jerry Rago BV3D.


Ultimate Bass Radio show host, Kent Brown, checks out one of the early prototypes of this bait Rago sent to TackleTour in October of 2009...


Now available in both line through and top hook versions, the configuration Velvick used to win the 2010 Golden State Shootout was the seven inch, line through in a “match the hatch” light hitch colored bait.


... and attempts to bite off the bait tied on with a 20lb fluorocarbon leader!


We were on the water the very same day Velvick won his second Clear Lake title in 10 years, and were actively throwing this bait as well. Though our results were not nearly as momentous as Velvick's on that day, we've been fishing this bait on and off since that time and here now is our review of this new bait by Jerry Rago.


Velvick celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his record setting win on this lake back in the year 2000 with a follow up win in 2010!


Available with either a single or double paddletail. In the natural evolution of the marketplace, it seems the single paddletail version won out over the double as well the bait is now available in a mini, five and a half inch version and in either a line through or top hook configuration.


And we were on hand to congratulate him on the victory.

Field Tests: The original, seven inch version of this bait weighs in right around three ounces. For this reason, it is a product best suited for a traditional big bait stick and not recommended for standard heavy powered bass rods. It will easily overload a standard stick. Any of the rods in our 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars “All Purpose” classification will suit as well as any rod with similar ratings to these sticks (general range of 1.5 to 4.5 ounces in lure rating).

The original BV3D is a 7" line through bait.


The majority of finishes are translucent.

My setup of choice over the past year when tossing this bait has been the Daiwa Zillion TDZL74XHFB paired with the Daiwa Megabass collaboration Monoblock Bespoke Racing Condition casting reel, but also in the mix was the Shimano Cumara Reaction Series CUCX711MH paired with a Shimano Calcutta 201DC.

Rigged and ready to go aboard a Daiwa Zillion swimbait stick.


A closer look at the entry point for your line.

Based off of Velvick’s success, there’s little doubt this is an effective bait, so casting and retrieve notes are all a bit irrelevant. The bait casts well and you can retrieve it at just about any sensible speed though it does seem to excel in slow to even slower retrieves.

Let's see what we can get.


Winding up for a cast ...


... the release ...


... off to the edge of the tules.

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