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Lure Review

Instruments of a Legend, Introducing Jerry Rago's Baby Tool

Date: 12/11/06
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Jerry Rago
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.83


Introduction: We here at TackleTour are now in full swimbait mode. Just a few short weeks ago, we brought to you our story of arguably, the most popular big fish bait out there today, the Huddleston Deluxe soft bodied swimbait. As the season for these big fish baits continues, we decided to check in with another pioneer of this so called craze. He is a person whose reputation precedes him not just from the quality and diversity in his product offering, but from his ability to apply the baits he makes to some real trophy catching success. We are speaking, of course, of the legendary Jerry Rago, and the first of his baits we've chosen for review is the Baby Tool.

Jerry Rago Baby Tool Specifications

Type Swimbait
Depth Any
Class Floating / Sinking (version tested) / Diving
Size 8" / 4.5 ounces
Colors/Patterns Approximately 11 different color patterns
MSRP $100

Impressions: The Baby Tool is not for the faint of pocket book, but with a retail price of an even one hundred dollars, the cost may not seem that extreme if you keep in mind each of these eight inch baits are hand made and painted by Jerry himself. The results are simply astounding. So much so that the very first thing I did before fishing my sinking version of this bait was order a set of heavy duty LureSaver split rings because this is one bait I simply could not bear to lose. And to think, the Baby Tool is the smaller version of Jerry Rago's original Trout Tool - a thirteen (13) inch hard bodied bait weighing in at a full eight (8) ounces and retailing for about three hundred (300) dollars. Why not start there you ask? Well, maybe next time!


Introducing Jerry Rago's Baby Tool.

Note the proportionately correct, ultra-realistic detailing of the Baby Tool's head

The Field Tests:
I fished the Baby Tool over the course of about three months and where normally, I try to throw a bait on a couple of different rigs to get a feel for it, this time, I was more concerned over the risk of losing the bait more than anything else, so threw it on one and only one rig, my custom built G.Loomis GL2 BB964 swimbait stick paired with a Shimano Calcutta 201DC reel spooled with 50lb test Suffix Performance Braid. Off to the California Delta we went.


Complete test rig for Jerry Rago Baby Tool Field Tests

Rod Custom Built G.Loomis GL2 BB964
Reel Shimano Calcutta 201DC
Line 50lb Suffix Performance Braid


Rigged and ready to go on a custom built swimbait rod by George Roth

A close-up of the bait's soft tail section and jointed body


Casting: Eat your Wheaties and work out your hands and arms if you want to get into some serious swimbait fishing because baits like the Baby Tool will flat wear you out. The proper stick will be of immense help in your efforts, but the overall weight of both the heavy duty combo and bait does take its toll. Oh yeah, and you can forget about soft, quiet landings. There is nothing subtle about this bait. The good news is, armed with the proper gear, the Baby Tool can be easily thrown with a sidearm, overhead, and, perhaps my favorite, the good old "golf swing" cast. The key is to get close enough so you can cast well beyond your intended target because the bait does enter the water with a very loud and disruptive splash! The best way to get this distance is with a very long rod.


Taking a deep breath before the cast

Launching the Baby Tool out past a tule point

Retrieving: I used two methods of connection with the Baby Tool: tying direct, and making use of a heavy duty snap. In either instance, the connection method of line to lure didn't appear to have an effect on the action of the Baby Tool at all, and the action of this bait is incredible. On a slow or fast, steady retrieve, the bait will swim in a very realistic, tight s-motion. Pause your retrieve on a slack line and the bait will stop, and turn back in a letter "c" to stare down any would be pursuers! A quick twitch of your rod tip and it will snap back forward and scurry at an up angle as if to make a getaway move! Impressive does not begin to describe the action of this lure.

The sinking version of the Baby Tool descends at a slightly head down buoyancy and comes to rest on the bottom very softly

This is how the bait came down to rest when we dropped it into our test tank. The hooks touched down and the bait simply stopped sinking and just sat there!


Weedlessness: The last thing I expected the Baby Tool to be was weedless. With its two, exposed treble hooks underneath the body, I was prepared for frequent weed pulling and the occasional hangups. What I was not prepared for was the way in which weeds tended to catch in the bait's open mouth. In fact, this happened more frequently than having the hooks catch on weeds. Weedy areas may not be the best environment to fish the Baby Tool, but in the California Delta, there's little getting away from them.


An unexpected complication was the ease by which the mouth on our Baby Tool caught weeds

A mouthful...

Of course, one of the downsides of fishing big swimbaits is keeping the hooks clear of debris

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