Bagleys Divin' Balsa B spread in the 1977 Bass Pro Shops Catalog.

Back in January 2021 we posted a piece titled Bagley’s – 1977 where we discussed some of the ads from that year found in the various bass fishing magazines.  Well, today in Bagley’s 1977 – Part Two, we’re going to do the same except all of these ads, or spreads, came from the 1977 Bass Pro Shops catalog.

As I was digging around for yesterday’s post on the Rapala Fat Rap, I ran into this series of pages with all of Bagley’s offerings for 1977.  Some of these images we’ve used here before but there are others that we’ve never posted.

By 1977 Lee Sisson was in Winter Haven and had taken control of all manufacturing and design.  When he initially got there, Bagey was only making the Bang-O-Lure, BB4, and BB3, not to mention his plastics.  Sisson first designed the DB3 and then went about designing the BB2, BB1, Kill’r B2 in both the shallow and diving versions, the Balsa Shiner, and both versions of the Honey B.  In the 2-plus years he was there, he was a busy guy.

All of these baits are represented here in these pages from the Bass Pro hops catalog.

In the opening image, we start off with one of the most important baits of the day, the Deep Divin’ Balsa B.  We’ve written extensively on this bait as well as conducted an interview with Sisson where he explained how he came about the bait.  It’s a great story and if you have 15 minutes we suggest you watch it.

The two-page spread shows four different sizes of baits but if you look closely, the bait in the upper left is not a Diving Honey B but the standard shallow runner.  How they mixed that up I’m not certain.

On the right page is the colors Bass Pro Shops had available for purchase.  There were 10 colors offered but as any Bagley’s collector knows, there were many more than this.

Bagleys Original Balsa B spread in the 1977 Bass Pro Shops Catalog.

The second spread below features the Original Balsa B and its now four sizes.  When the whole alphabet lure craze started in 1972 with Fred C. Young’s Big-O, Bagley was given a Mike Estep Big-E by Roland Martin.  Jim Bagley took the Big-E and fashioned his own bait, which became known as the Big B, or what’s shown in the catalog as the BB-4.  Within a year Bagley had a BB-3, and then when Sisson joined, he designed the BB-1 and BB-2.

This squarebill became one of the most treasured baits of all time and was one of the few baits made out of balsa wood at them time.  Fred Young’s Big-O and Estep’s Big-E were the only others and the wait time could be months.

Bagleys Kill'r BII, Balsa Shiner, and Diving Honey B spreads in the 1977 Bass Pro Shops Catalog.

Three more new designs were presented on the next two pages.  In the upper left, there’s the Kill’r B2 in the shallow version.  This was a design that Sisson brought with him from Louisiana and started making it for Bagley.  It had a slimmer profile than the Balsa B series and a slightly different lip and lip angle.

Below that was the Balsa Shiner, a bait designed for the saltwater, specifically for speckled trout, snook, and redfish.  Talking with Sisson, they never intended it to be used in freshwater but it caught its fair share of bass.

The opposite page was devoted to the Diving Honey B, Bagley’s smallest crankbait.  The Honey B had played a part in Rick Clunn’s 1976 BASS Masters Classic win so there’s no doubting why Bagley devoted an entire page to the bait.  This little bait was offered in 11 colors.

The final spreads of lures is shown on the next two pages, featuring the Bang-O-Lure and the Diving Kill’r B2.

Bagleys Bang-O-Lure and Diving Kill'r BII spreads in the 1977 Bass Pro Shops Catalog.

The Bang-O-Lure was the bait that got Bagley into the hardbait market in 1964.  Prior to that, Bagley had been mainly selling pork rind and plastic worms.  But the Rapala was released in 1960 and since it was expensive, if you could even find them, he decided to make his own.  The result of that was the Bang-O-Lure.  It was an instant success in Florida and quickly made its way into other parts of the south.

On the facing page was the introduction of the Diving Kill’r B2.  Again, this was a design Sisson brought with him from Louisiana.  It had the same body as the KB2, with the difference being the deep diving lip.  The lip angle was the same as the KB2 which, coupled with the long lip, gave the bait a very wide action.  It didn’t dive as deep as the DB2, but would run an intermediate depth between the DB2 and the BB2/KB2.

I hope you enjoyed this look back in some of the early Bagley’s baits.  Please check out our videos on YouTube with Lee Sisson and Mike Estep.  They’re packed full of history.