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Lure Review

Rago and Velvick's Winning Combination : The BV3D (continued)

Most questions about this bait will surround rigging and actual weedlessness. Each bait comes with an Owner 3x strong hook with a split ring installed on the hook, and we followed Velvick’s lead in adding the Owner stinger kit to the bait by looping the leader around the main hook’s shank, and then extending the stinger down towards the bait’s anal fin and securing it there.

Tied without the split ring ...


... and with. The split ring provides an extra degree of flexibility between your line and the hook.


Rigged with the Owner Stinger harness.

The bait’s pectoral fins serve not only to stabilize the bait, but also to somewhat guard the main hook against weeds while crawling the bait along the bottom, at least that’s the theory. Naturally, we were able to hook up with plenty of weeds while fishing the bait in this manner, so if best possible performance amongst weeds is your goal, we’d recommend the top hook version.

There you go!




Pfft.. not so weedless afterall ...


... not only are the hooks susceptible, but you can catch weeds at the head of the lure as well - just par for the course really.

Design: The line through version of these baits feature a weighted cavity that doubles as the passage for your line through the bait. This prevents your line from ripping through the bait when you catch a fish and increases the durability performance.

Velvick shows how he rigs the treble ...


... he aligns the exposed prongs as closely as possible to the bait's pectoral fins to help guard against weeds.


... it helps, but the configuration is certainly not 100% weedless.

If there’s one area of criticism for these already proven baits it’s in the finish. Unlike the Huddleston product that features highly realistic surface finishes, Rago’s soft plastic baits are all about translucency and profile patterns of the bait when seen from an almost backlit perspective, the supposed perspective a bass views its prey when ambushing it from a dark hiding spot. There’s little arguing the success either approach has as both have proven effective, so it’s just a matter of which approach catches more fishermen.

Rago's approach is to provide a translucent bait so when a bass is in an ambush position looking from a dark environment towards the light, the bait provides a realistic profile.


Whether you prefer realistic finishes or not, the BV3D certainly catches fish.

Durability: We’ve had a handful of baits and fished them all year without need for replacement. This is both good and bad news. The good news is the baits seem to hold up to long term use, the bad news is we didn’t exactly set the year on fire with these baits, so really, we’re not sure how well they hold up to a hot bite and multiple fish. One factor in the line through version’s favor is the bait gets sent up the line and out of harm’s way while fighting a fish, so they really do not get beat up as much as other baits with fixed hooks.

Another look at the line through point of entry.

Availability:  As if Velvick’s win at Clear Lake was not enough, Skeet Reese followed up Velvick’s big bait success with one of his own just one week later at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. Where Velvick’s bait has a hitch profile to match the predominate big bass forage in Clear Lake, the SKT Swimmer has a more generic trout or shad minnow profile.

The tail kick of the BV3D provides a good deal of disturbance in the water.


Velvick used Extra Edge's Hot Sauce Gel on his baits. Our scent of choice has been Smelly Jelly.

As with any tournament winning bait produced by a small manufacturer, supplies of both baits were in short supply early in 2010. Jerry Rago saw the writing on the wall early and knew he’d have a tough time keeping up with demand.

Zander's preferred rig when throwing the BV3D is his Dobyns Rods 795ML along with a Shimano Calais 200 casting reel.

At ICAST 2010, it was announced he’d partnered up with Roboworm to help produce a new 5.5 inch version of the BV3D and the original 6 inch version of the SKT Swimmer, so supply issues will no longer be a problem! Rago will continue to pour the larger version of both baits, but with the support of Roboworm, the sure to be more popular smaller sizes should be easily sourced at any of your Roboworm and Rago Baits authorized dealers.

For us, the bites were still few and far between, but when we did get hit, Owner's Stinger Harness helped to make sure we caught what bit.



Rago Baits BV3D Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality These are solid baits 9
Performance Swim well at all speeds, but most effective slow 8
Price Not great, not terrible 7
Features Line thru or top hook options, two different sizes 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Realistically the SKT Swimmer and the BV3D are the same baits, just different sizes and profiles. Both have excellent match the forage profiles. 8.5
Application Excellent bottom or midwater column baits 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Tournament proven bait on the biggest stage possible - If you're into realistic finishes, this may not be the bait for you
+ Line through design prolongs life of each bait  
+ Thanks to industry partnership with Roboworms, supply should not be an issue  


Conclusion: As anyone who has ever fished big baits for an extended period of time can tell you, bites can be and more often than not are few and far between. Throwing a bait you have confidence in is more than half the battle because in order to get bit on a big bait, you have to be fishing a big bait, and it's tough to stick with a bait that may only produce one bite all day, if you're lucky. In tournament conditions, these anxieties are heightened, but as Byron Velvick, and just one week later, Skeet Reese, demonstrated on bassing's biggest stage, the Elite Series, these new baits by Jerry Rago are tournament proven baits.


It's hard to argue with these results. The Rago Baits BV3D is a proven bait!


Now, thanks to a partnership with Roboworms, Rago's baits are more available than ever and in sizes that even the most skeptical swimbait fisherman can have success with! With the big bait, big bite season quickly coming around, the only question remaining might be which color of these baits will you be throwing?


Looking for the BV3D and other Rago Baits? Try Monster Fishing Tackle










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