July 30, 2021
When Melissa and I went fishing on the White River last year I checked online to see what was the most effective artificial for the big Brown Trout that famously stalk the waters. The local guides recommend two baits, depending on the type of fishing you do. For baitcasting they recommended a trout magnet, and for fly fishing it was a sow bug. Since I prefer fly fishing, I looked in the local stores and everyone was sold out of sow bugs. I finally found a few online and had them shipped well before we left for the river. It was not until this year that I again thought about the trout magnet. I had received a gift card from my son Alex for Father’s Day to one of the big outfitters and stopped in Tulsa to see what they had. When I came across the magnet, I decided to buy several and see if they really worked.
To be clear, a trout magnet is not a magnet. It is a small split tailed plastic that is reported to attract fish “like a magnet.” When I checked online, I found it was part of a series or plastics that are configured slightly different to attract a variety of fish (i.e., crappie magnet, panfish magnet). The magnet is said to be irresistible because its “balanced design allows it to fall with a lifelike horizontal profile rather than a vertical plunge.” It can be used with or without a float, and like natural forage, it flows along with the stream. The trout magnet has quickly become one of the most successful baits for trout when fishing in creeks, rivers, and even lakes. It worked for me.
Even though the magnet was recommended to be tossed on the end of a bait casting reel, I decided to try my magnet on a fly rod. I attached a thing-a-ma-bobber to the line to get the right depth and cast along the shoreline of the lake. I quickly caught four small but aggressive bluegill and got even more strikes. I took a morning trip this week when the temps were still low (fells like 95F) to see if my earlier outing was a fluke or a valid technique. Once again, I immediately got strikes and quickly caught four more fish. It was the sun and not a lack of fish that finally forced me off the water. It seems the trout magnet is effective for panfish as well.
Thoughts: It has been so hot that I had not been too keen on fishing. I decided to stay close and try the bluegill at the “tiny fish” pond near our house. When I approached, the fish franticly scooted away from the shore, but the heat had caused the pond to be covered in a layer of scum. Every cast came back draped with water grass. I left to go to the small lake nearby which is where I again caught fish. Prior to fly fishing I rarely used artificial bait, and live bait are still said to have the advantage. The plastics, like my magnet, are becoming so lifelike they are giving naturals a run for their money. The science that goes into these baits requires years of research and testing, but once the basic concept is developed it can be quickly adapted for the type of fish you are hoping to catch. That is also the reason for the rapid development of the covid vaccine. The years of research had already taken place, it just needed to be adapted to the specific virus. Like my magnet, the vaccine works. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.