Bagley’s Bait Company – 1977

1977 Bagley's Ad taken from American Angler Magazine.

1977 Bagley’s Ad taken from American Angler Magazine.

We’ve written a couple pieces on the Jim Bagley Bait Company over the course of the last couple years (you can see two of them here and here), 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 of the time and decided to scan them all.

The year 1977 was a banner year for the company due to the fact that Rick Clunn had just won back-to-back Bassmaster Classic 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 in order to sell more.

1977 Bagley's Ad featuring 1976 Classic Winner Rick Clunn.

1977 Bagley’s Ad featuring 1976 Classic Winner Rick Clunn.

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’s 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 making a number of 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?

1977 Bagley's Diving Honey B Ad.

1977 Bagley’s Diving Honey B Ad.

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?

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

1977 Bagley's Ad featuring the new Kill'r B II squarebill.

1977 Bagley’s Ad featuring the new Kill’r B II squarebill.

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 bait featured in the ad was the new KB-II, or, Kill’r B II. The model shown wasn’t the deep diver, I’m not sure it was out at the time, but the shallow square bill. I 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 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.

1977 Bagley's ad featuring the New Kill'r B II and the New Balsa Shiner.

1977 Bagley’s ad featuring the New Kill’r B II and the New Balsa Shiner.

As we find more Bagley’s 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.

  • To my recollection, the Balsa Shiner wasn’t Bagley’s version of a Spot. They did have two different spot/trap type baits for a while — the Shadalac and the Chatter Shad. But the this thing had more of a wide swaying path, not the tight vibration on a relatively straight path of a typical rattle bait. It’s body was too round and wide to be a vibrator, and note the forward location of the line tie. Plus, it floated. I believe the Balsa Shiner caught on pretty strong in the salt, where it became the Pinfish, or perhaps the evolution was the other way around — and attempt to take the SW Pinfish and get it into the bass market with popular bass type color patterns and a new name.

    • Terry Battisti

      Thanks for the info Rich. Having never fished them, let alone seen them, it’s kind of hard to describe. I do remember the Pinfish and it did look a lot like these.