1977 Bagley's Ad from American Angler Magazine.

We’ve written a couple pieces on the Jim Bagley Bait Company over the course of the last couple years, but I personally never get tired of looking at their ads from days past. Recently I was scouring all my 1977 magazines for another piece and noticed after a while, how many ads Bagley had placed in the various magazines at the time and decided to scan them all. Here’s Bagleys – 1977

The years 1976 and ‘77 were a banner years for the company due to Rick Clunn winning back-to-back Bass Masters Classics and caught some of his fish in each event on Bagley’s baits. This seems to have done a couple of things – namely provide a bunch of sales for the company which, in turn, allowed them to step up their ad campaign to sell more.

After going through nearly 75 magazines, I would say I could count on one hand the number of issues that didn’t have a Bagley ad in them. Most of those ads were the same ad placed over and over but this ad-year they really stepped up in the marketing department by designing several new ads.

Most of the ads that were placed in Bassmaster Magazine are fairly well known. It’s the ads that were placed in magazines such as American Angler, American Bass Fisherman, and National Bass that are really cool – ads I’d never seen before. Maybe you haven’t either?

The first ad, at the top of the article, is one I’d never seen. Although the baits weren’t really known as saltwater lures, you can get the gist of the ad in that the baits were little treasures. After two big wins within a year, who could argue?

That ad featured BB2s, KB2s, Honey Bs, Bang-O-Lures, Balsa Shiner, and what appears to be the full line of DBs, lead pellet in the lips to boot.

The second ad, one we’ve all seen, is of Rick Clunn and makes special note of his 1976 Classic win using the Honey B. The curious thing about the ad is Clunn reported in Bassmaster Magazine that he caught his fish on a crawdad-colored Honey B. Yet, there’s a picture of a Tennessee Shad model in the ad, model HB1-TS to be exact.

The ad reflects on Clunn’s Classic, how he was in 3rd place on the first day but rallied the second day with a 33-pound 5-ounce sack the second day to take a commanding lead. They then state that Clunn relied heavily on the Honey B the third day to bring in another limit (16-01), win the event and break the all-time record for total weight in a Classic.

The third ad, again a Honey B ad, was showing customers that they didn’t just have to throw the shallow-running Honey B. If they needed to go a little deeper, they could fish the Diving Honey B.

This is a great ad in that it shows a number of Bagley’s color patterns complete with their model/color number. Out of that bunch of baits, my favorite color pattern was the Golden Shiner (DHB1-GOS). It mimicked the color of a certain species of crawdad we had on one of the local lakes to a tee. The fished chewed that color.

The fourth ad in the mix is another ad I’d never seen and came from American Angler. It was a picture of a coloring book, opened to a page featuring a bass. The ad was featuring Jim Bagley’s new “little bass” color pattern on the new KB2, or Kill’r B II. The text says:

“Nothing could be more appealing to a largemouth bass than another bass – fingerling size. That’s why Jim Bagley has just introduced his newest color, the “little bass,” to his complete line of famous balsa wood lures. This new life-like color combined with the fantastic action of the Kill’r B II is the most taste tempting morsel ever to swim thru a brush top. Try it…you’ll it. The bass will too!”

I have to say that the color baby bass was not in my top-5 or even my top-10 color choices. I can count on one hand the number of fish I have caught on that color over the 50 years I’ve been casting for bass. But that probably has to do with the lakes I fished. Your results may vary.

I do wish I had this coloring book – if it ever existed.

The final ad is yet another I don’t recall ever seeing. It again featured the “NEW” Kill’r B II but also another not-so-well known bait, the new Balsa Shiner – their version of the Cordell Spot and soon-to-be popular Rattle Trap.

The writeup for the Kill’r B II says that it is a smaller brother of the 3-inch Kill’r B, or what should have been called the Kill’r B III. I need to go back and investigate whether the original Kill’r B was given a number or if that came after the advent of the KB2.

Then there’s the Balsa Shiner. Advertised as the newest in the balsa wood family, the Shiner was designed for both fresh and saltwater. The bait would dive no deeper than 2-1/2 feet and was touted as a great fats bait to be fished over grass.

As we find more Bagley ads we’ll post them up. In the meantime, if you remember one we haven’t touched upon, send us a note and let us know about it.

1977 Bagley's Honey B ad.
1977 Bagley's Ad featuring the Diving Honey B.
1977 Bagley's ad from American Angler Magazine.
1977 Bagley's Ad