Recently, we spent a couple weeks thoroughly testing the MagLip to find out. Read on for the full review.
Let’s back up here just a second. The MagLip isn’t exactly new to the market, but it suffered from a bit of an identity crisis for several years as the “M2 SP Flatfish” before legendary salmon and steelhead guru Buzz Ramsey joined Yakima’s ranks and decided to give the plug a new name…and a new lease on life.
Features & Specs
For comparison’s sake, the MagLip is roughly the size of a K14 Kwikfish and a tad longer than the original M2 Flatfish (Ramsey says that there’s a larger size…think K15 or T-50…and also a steelhead model in the works and those may be out next year). It’s key feature is it’s bill: Yakima says that the deep cupped design allows the lure to get down as deep as 20 on the troll or flatlined. Once it’s down in the “zone,” the lure is said to have a “skipbeat” action.
The MagLip also comes in just about every color a salmon angler could want…
On the Water Test
I busted out the Mag Lip recently while working for a fishery agency that wanted spring Chinook for tagging purposes. Initially, I only fished the plug on one rod, trusting my job performance to my tried and true K15 Kwikfish on the other sticks. While not yet a believer in the bait’s ability to catch fish, I was immediately impressed with its diving ability…it got down in some really hot water and stayed there…even after the other plugs got overwhelmed and kicked to the surface (we primarily flatlined).
It didn’t take long for the plug to get bit, but bugle-lipped brown trout weren’t on the list of target species. Oh-oh…not a good sign!
The sucker wasn’t exactly a big confidence booster, but least I knew the MagLip was getting down to the bottom!
Okay, so fast forward a couple days. The solo MagLip started getting the lion’s share of the grabs each day. Pretty soon, I had them on two rods every morning…then three. Soon, they were all I was running. And I’ve got to say that the fish love these things! I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking here…
Okay, so obviously the MagLips catch fish. The spring kings here absolutely mobbed them as you can see by all the chew marks and worn paint on this one…
I have yet to run them on fall fish and am anxious to do so. Until then, let’s take a look at the claims Yakima makes about this lure and how it stood up…
Doesn’t need tuning
The package says the MagLip doesn’t need tuning…something that I’ve never really bought into…But, after running these things for three weeks straight now, I’m pretty pleased with how little I need to tweak ‘em. Wrap ‘em up and throw ‘em in the water and they run!
Of course, you can tell a lot about a plug’s action by checking the wear pattern on the leading edge of the bill. All but one of mine look good and symmetrical like this one:
According to Ramsey, you have to check the action on the MagLip a little differently than you would with other banana plugs:
“Realize that the erratic skip-beat Mag Lip action should not be confused with it being out of tune,” he says. “Rather than pulling this lure beside your boat, to check its action: place Mag Lip behind your boat and observe its wiggle and how it tracks in the water.”
Dives 20 feet
Though Yakima recommends letting out 120 feet of braid to get the lure down to 20 feet on a flatline, we gt bit several times in one particular hole that is 17-20 feet deep using 50-lb. braid (and 25-lb. mono leader) out 85 feet on a Shimano Tekota 300 linecounter reel, so this thing does get down! If using a sardine wrap, the designers recommend that your fillet should measure 1 3/4 inches long by 5/8 inches wide, but I’m here to say that the plug dives just fine with a much larger slab of meat on the belly.
You can really see how well it dives when you reel the MagLip back to the boat. When it gets to the boat, your line angle will be straight down! I’d imagine that its diving capabilities would also make this lure a sweetheart of a plug for trolling northern lakes for big macks in the spring, too.
In one area we fished, the kings were stacked in 8 to 12 feet of water but the current was too slow to backtroll. Instead, we fished ‘em like sardine-wrapped bass plugs — casting and retrieving. The cool thing about the lures is they dive deep without having to crank too quickly — so I could get a nice slow ”thump” while keeping contact with the bottom. Not only was that one hell of a fun way to catch salmon, the MagLips proved to be an extremely deadly tool in that situation, which kinda opens my mind up to several other places where that just may work.
Has a “Skipbeat” action
Call it what you will, our spring kings really, really liked the way the MagLip wiggles. When fished on a slow grind or backtrolled in soft water, it has a nice, wide wobble at slow speeds (for all you fans of the K16 out there, it looks like a smaller version) but it also hangs extremely tough down in fast water. As far as skipbeat action goes, I can see it…the MagLip has a bit of an erratic wander to it now and then, but it always comes back “home.”
As of now, I really can’t find much of a downside to the MagLip. About all I can come up with is maybe the paint jobs, while nice, aren’t quite as durable as other plugs. But, if the thing’s wiggling properly and getting bit, who cares? I’ve now got a few that have very little paint left (from getting bit so frequently) and the lack of color hasn’t stopped the takedowns…
The stock No. 1 roundbend treble hooks on the MagLip are actually pretty tacky, but I always change out the hooks on all my plugs. Apparently, you can run double 1/0 or 1/0-2/0 (2/0 on tail) siwash on the thing, but I went with No. 1 Owner 2x Stinger Trebles the first go around and found that the extra stout hooks were a bit heavy and made it ride a little lower in the water. Though pretty flimsy, Gami No. 1 EWG trebles were deadly, but I had to change them out every a fish or two.
To allow the hooks a nearly 360-degree range of motion when fighting a fish, I added an extra split ring between the hook and the lure body, which kept out hooked-to-landed ratio very high.
I’m buying more, what can I say? And I’m really looking forward to fall Chinook and coho to do a little more “testing!”