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Cullerton On Bagley: Initial Actions, Future Plans. BassFan Q&A — Part 2
(Editor's note: This is part 2 of a 2-part Q&A with new Bagley ownership partner Bill Cullerton, Jr.)
BassFan: Can you talk about your industry experience a little bit? Your father Bill, Sr. started one of the best-known rep groups ever in the business, right?
Cullerton: My father started the Cullerton Co. back in 1964, which was a rep company. In 1985 I bought the company from my father, and owned it up until a couple years ago. Then I sold the company and got out of the rep end of the business. So I owned it from '85 until 2 years ago.
Why did you get out of the rep business? Did you just want a change of scenery, or did you see a fundamental change in the business?
It was really both. For a long time I wanted to be on the manufacturing side and there was an opportunity to do that. I bought Cotee – an inshore saltwater jig and soft-plastic company. They make the baits right here in Port Richey, Fla. It's real well-known, but a regional product. I liked that, but there was the opportunity to get out of the regional thing and get to the next bigger stage of fishing lures. When Jarmo and I talked – we'd been friends for years – and we saw that Bagley was on the market, we decided to make some serious moves there.
Will Bagley serve as the company for the next wave of Jarmo's designs? In other words, is Bagley a pretty permanent home for him and his ideas?
Oh sure. Truthfully, the first job for us was to fix our balsa baits and bring back the traditional Bagleys – get them in stock. The previous owners hadn't stocked in the U.S., so shipments were tough – fulfilling orders and so forth. So we did the basic blocking and tackling – making sure the lures operate correctly, making sure they're priced right.
As far as new product, with a guy like Jarmo, you can only imagine how many really good ideas he has for lures down the road. With any lure, it really takes 2 years to take the idea to the retail shelf. It doesn't happen overnight, but we will have new lures coming down the road.
Cullerton On Bagley: Why, When, What First? BassFan Q&A — Part 1
(Editor's note: This is part 1 of a 2-part Q&A with new Bagley ownership partner Bill Cullerton, Jr. In observance of the Independence Day holiday, part 2 will be published Tues., July 5.)
Bagley, one of the cornerstone hardbait brands in bass fishing, largely fell off the radar the past several years. Ironically, Bagley's fade coincided with the current crankbait renaissance. In other words, as crankbaits became the dominant bait in bass fishing, one of the formerly dominant crankbait companies pretty much disappeared.
Two men aim to change that.
Bill Cullerton, Jr. and Jarmo Rapala closed on their purchase of the Bagley Bait Co. in March of this year. News of the sale didn't reach the public at large until this week, but the duo's already deeply involved in the effort to return Bagley to glory.
Jarmo, a celebrated lure designer, is the grandson of Rapala founder Lauri Rapala, but is no longer associated with the Rapala brand.
Cullerton, Jr. is another industry veteran. His father Bill, Sr. founded the Cullerton Co. rep group, sat on the In-Fisherman board of directors, hosted a long-running outdoors radio show and was a World War II Army Air Force hero. Cullerton, Jr. then purchased the Cullerton Co. from his father and operated the business for 25 years.
BassFan sat down with Cullerton to learn more about the Bagley purchase: Why he and Jarmo bought the company, when they bought it, their strategy, their goals and more. That conversation is summarized in the Q&A that follows.