Prior to the introduction of Fishing Lures using balsa wood, fisherman used live bait, metal spoons and spinners or they used wood baits shaped from hardwoods. Those early hardwood baits were durable but they often lacked the desired life-like swimming action. Then balsa wood came onto the scene. Balsa wood comes from the very fast growing balsa tree which is grown almost exclusively within the rain forests of South America. It is a superlight softwood that has very low moisture content and provides tremendous buoyancy in water – in many ways a perfect material to use in replicating the authentic action of bait fish when swimming. However, the counter to using balsa as an artificial bait is that its high buoyancy requires that the lure be weighted or combined with other hardwood strips to provide stability of flotation and enhanced durability so that the lure can be easily casted – something required of most modern sport fisherman.
Bagley started making balsa fishing lures in 1960 with the introduction of the Original Bang O Lure and then followed that lure with many other sensational fish catching balsa lures, notably the Balsa B, Kill’r B and Honey B, among many other over the next 50+ years. One of only a few balsa wood lure manufactures, Bagley used a more Traditional Balsa Manufacturing Process. Bagley perfected mass production techniques and produced millions of quality baits still coveted today. The traditional process has many merits but also some limitations, some of which are the inability to precisely weight a lure and requires many handling stages to bring a carved lure into final fishing form.
However, Bagley has always been a company to champion innovation and in 2014 Bagley began implementing a new manufacturing process called HCM – Heat Compression Molding. It is a unique process that is only used by Bagley and represents Bagley’s legacy of exploring new ways to design and build superior balsa wood lures for the traditional fans of Bagley’s lively balsa swimming action as well as for a new generation of Bagley balsa lure fans. It’s hard to beat the action of balsa and it’s also hard to ignore the continuing fish catching tradition of Bagley balsa baits.