Do Trout Magnets really work?

The Trout Magnet is a soft plastic trout lure that has become very popular in some parts of the US over the last few years. It probably helps that these lures can be found at every major retailer from Wal Mart to Bass Pro Shops. But the question is, do Trout Magnets really catch fish?

There are all sorts of lures designed more to catch fisherman than fish. We also have the trendy stuff that comes and goes from year to year. Anyone remember the helicopter lure or the Banjo Minnow?

The Trout Magnet is a pretty simple lure but it actually does work. You can absolutely catch trout and other fish like crappie and perch on Trout Magnets. You still have to fish them in the right way though. They aren’t necessarily the best soft plastic lures for the job either.

What is the Trout Magnet?

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The trout magnet is basically a small piece of soft rubber. There isn’t much more to the thing. It is a shaped something like a carrot. There are rings imprinted around the body and a slit towards the back to make a sort of tail. It is normally rigged on a 1/64 shad dart jig head that is included in most Trout Magnet packages.

trout magnet jig

The normal way to fish a Trout Magnet is to peg an EZ Float from the same company above the Trout Magnet. Then cast out to the head of a pool or run and let the whole rig drift naturally with the current. Trout see the drifting lure as something like a dislodged caddis larva or small minnow.

You can also fish the Trout Magnet like a little jig. That means casting it out with or without a bobber on light line and jigging the lure back. This will temp fish to bite in situations when the dead drift won’t work.

Does the Trout Magnet catch fish?

The Trout Magnet itself doesn’t catch fish. Anglers do that. Can anglers catch fish with Trout Magnets? Absolutely! My dad caught the biggest rainbow of his life on a black and green Trout Magnet. According to this, one of the biggest steelhead caught in Pennsylvania in 2019 took a Trout Magnet. They definitely work.

More important than the lure itself though is the basic principle. It is like fly fishing to a large degree. You are dead drifting something that looks like food. Trout sit in the current all day watching things go by them. If the things look like food, they snap them up. If they don’t look like food, they let them go by. So while a Trout Magnet will catch trout so will a number of other lures and flies fished in the same way.

Since that is the case, why not throw something that looks more like what trout actually eat? Most of a trout’s diet consists of insects. Especially aquatic insects. Lures like a Nikko Hellgrammite or a soft plastic mayfly nymph are a lot more realistic than a nondescript piece of plastic.

I will say that the EZ Floats by Trout Magnet are some of the best strike indicators you can find. I even know fly fisherman in the Great Smokies who use them when fly fishing nymphs! They are easy to place on your line, easy to move, and easy to remove. They’re also quite inexpensive. So I personally think the floats are even better than the lures they are meant to accompany.

Trout Magnets work, but I don’t necessarily think they are the best choice in any given situation. I would rather throw something like a soft plastic stonefly or a bead head San Juan worm when I am drift fishing for trout.

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