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Lure Review

The Return of Rago Baits

Date: 1/11/09
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Rago Baits
Reviewer: Cal







Introduction: In December of 2006, we debuted our review on the eight inch Rago Baby Tool - the biggest, baddest, craziest bait we had tossed up until that point in time. Now, just a couple of short years later, and after our big bait intensive 2008, that eight inch bait looks quite ordinary in size. It's amazing what a little time and experience can do to your perspective.


The Original Jerry Rago 13" Tool .


Concurrent with our immersion in big baits, a lot was happening in the Rago camp as well. Or rather, a lot was not happening. For a period of about six months to a year, Rago hard baits were nearly impossible to come by and the general consensus around the industry was that Jerry Rago had molded his final bait and moved on to other endeavors.


The three-piece Tool series in all three sizes, eight inches (bottom), ten inches (middle) and thirteen inches (top).


We are happy to report, this is not the case and Jerry Rago is in fact, back in his shop designing, creating, and building new baits. The product we're most excited about is the extension of the Tool to a nine and ten inch four piece design. But before we take a look at those baits, let's take a little journey back to the bait that started the Tool madness, the original 13" Rago Tool.

The 13" Tool rigged on our Dobyns Rods 807MAGH for some on the water tests.


Background: I recently had the opportunity to purchase a used 13" Rago Tool in near mint condition and was I ever delighted when this bait showed up at my doorstep. First of all, it is massive at a true measure of 13 inches and a whopping 13.4 ounces. When we spoke to Jerry Rago nearly two years ago on the cusp of our eight inch Baby Tool review, he told us his favorite method to fish the thirteen inch tool was to leave it out over a point and just dead stick it (it's a floating bait) while he made use of his California Fish and Game Two Rod License Stamp and actively fished another bait.


Though a very rare bait, there's just no way we couldn't throw the 13" tool out on the water to see what kind of action it has


After seeing and holding this bait in hand, we can understand this approach because the original Tool is an absolute monster and if it's hard for you to imagine a bass engulfing an eight inch bait, imagine a bait that's more than 50% larger and at least twice as heavy!


Finally a bait to really test the limits of our 807MAGH.


But sheer size is not the only story to this bait. With perhaps no more than a hundred of these baits ever made, there are some truly interesting aspects to the Tool. Certainly the now signature gaping open mouth of the bait is intriguing, but it serves a functional purpose as well shielding the line tie from sight and adding a bit of protection to your knot. The line tie is not as concealed in the smaller versions of this bait.


The 13" Tool is a surface bait that, from a distance, resembles a shark more than a trout!


The soft tail section at the back we remember from the 8" tool, but this was where the concept originated. Then there are those pronounced dorsal, ventral and pectoral fins that only add to the storage nightmares a bait of this size creates. A closer look reveals the two pectoral and ventral fins are actually attached to the main body via spring hinges! The thought process here, no doubt, was to give the fins some flexibility to move out of the way once a fish strikes.


Originally introduced late in 2007, here is the 9 inch four piece tool.


Many of these details were lost or abandoned in the smaller versions of this bait which now, along with the 8" Baby Tool, includes a ten inch version. To the best of our knowledge all of the three-piece designs have been discontinued as of the end of 2007.


Four Piece Tool Specifications

Type BigBait
Depth Any
Class Slow Sink
Size (Weight) 9" ( 4.9 oz) : 10" ( 8.4 oz)
Colors/Patterns Light and Dark Trout
MSRP $100 (9") : $110 (10")


On Jerry Rago's return to bait making late in 2008, he debuted the ten inch four piece tool. This bait has a little more girth than the 9" and a more rounded head.


The Four Piece Tool: This news not withstanding, fans of Rago Baits, and more specifically, his Tool series will be happy to know all is not lost. Recently debuted were the four piece versions of this bait or rather, more correctly - redebuted. The nine-inch four piece Tool came out shortly before Jerry Rago's recent hiatus but now that he's returned, he's not only building this bait again, but has introduced a ten inch version to this series as well.


The four piece Tool looks even more natural in the water than the three piece.


While the eight inch Baby Tool was available in two fall rates, a diving version, and a floater, both the nine and ten inch four piece tools are available in slow sink only. We've thrown this bait and the extra joint in back gives it a bit tighter, more slithery action over the three piece version, otherwise not too much else is different so another full blown review was not warranted.

 The choice is difficult between the ten inch four piece tool (left) or the nine inch (right) but of course, you could always purchase both!


Conclusion: Ever since my introduction to Rago baits with the eight-inch Baby Tool, I've been a fan of this manufacturer. I was disheartened to hear early in 2008 that they were no longer making baits but then late that summer, the baits began to re-emerge online. He has also re-introduced his Rat series including a new, walk the dog version of the rat, but as soon as the four piece Tool became available, I scooped some up for myself and while my time on the water with these baits has been somewhat limited thus far, I plan to correct that in 2009. Even so, I've thrown them enough to know, if you're a fan of the original three-piece series, you're going to want to get your hands on these four piece baits soon. The extra joint really does make an already realistic looking bait appear even more natural in the water. Welcome back Jerry Rago!


Looking for Rago baits? Check out Monster Tackle.










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