Jim Bagley, a master electrician, from Winter Haven, Florida dreamed of starting his own fishing lure company. In 1951, he purchased a Pork Rind bait company that had gone out of business. Bagley continued to work as an electrician during the day, but at night he focused on creating his own fishing lures.
In 1955, Field and Stream magazine printed an article highlighting Bagley's Black Magic Eel Pork Rind lure, which brought popularity to the small bait company.
Jim Bagley's bait business put him in contact with a number of famous people including President George Bush Sr. who he met in the Oval Office. After the meeting, Bagley kept his picture with the president hanging in his own office. Additionally, he was friends with comedian Foster Brooks and Charlie Hunter who is actress Holly Hunter's father.
He sold the bait division of the Bagley Bait Company to William Stuart in 1988 and continued running the manufacturing section of the company's fishing line called Silver Thread until 1992.
Sadly, the Bagley Bait Company failed and is no longer manufacturing lures. In 1994, Jim Bagley tried to save the company and designed one final lure named the Meer Kat. Unfortunately, the lure was never mass produced. However, several thousand Meer Kats were given away to test the lure's abilities. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1995.
Bagley lures are still popular and collectors will be able to find numerous pieces from this line. For example, the famous Lottery Lure is a desired collectible. The top of the lure is red, which fades into a light orange and anglers can recognize the lure by the flamingo and palm tree design that is depicted on the right and left of the device. The lure has the saying "Take A Little Chance" printed on the top of the lure.
Collectors who invest in the rare Bagley Rebel Florida fishing lure will own a unique piece of fishing equipment. The Rebel lure is red with the blue Rebel flag symbol painted on each side. Additionally, it features two shiny silver hooks with clear plastic lips.
The Chug-o-Lure is a vintage piece of fishing equipment that Bagley designed to pull across the top of the water. Later on, Bagley changed the lure by attaching a skirt and named it the Pop-N-B. The B-Flat 2 is an additional item of fishing tackle that measures ½ inch wide and has the appearance of a flat minnow.
The Bagley Bait Company was known for its willingness to experiment with its products and one innovation included the company's plastic lure creation. Designers glued two plastic sections together with a strong epoxy to make this lure. Jim Bagley named it Top Gun due to its lustrous shape. Moreover, traditional wood bait took the company 12 days to construct while the plastic lure was finished in just three.
The vintage Bagley BB1 Square Lip lure is two and a half inches long. Additionally, anglers who purchase this lure will own a piece of history that is still effective at enticing fish. Another classic Bagley lure is the Balsa B, which is a striking piece of fishing tackle. The lure has a dark green back with lime green on both sides. Furthermore, it features a bright orange belly to attract the big ones.
Another popular lure is the Mighty Minnow. Fishermen will love the flexibility of this two inch lure. Several versions of the Mighty Minnow had spinners and the bait could be snapped out of the water in the same way that top water lures are designed to move.
Jim Bagley was friends with Guy Eaker, the distinguished spinner bait fisherman, and together the pair designed the Eaker Eater, which was a Bagley spinner bait. The innovators even added a rubber skirt to guard the hook from lake debris such as thick grass.
Anglers who prefer to fish for trout and redfish should invest in the Finger Mullet. This vintage lure was designed with scales, realistic eyes and different colored heads that included white and yellow. Another antique lure that will complete a fisherman's tackle box is the Diving Bang-O-B. This lure is constructed from hard-wood and includes two hardy hooks. Anglers can locate this item in a six or eight inch size.
The company's "Dredge" edition was built with stretched out lips to give it the force it needs to hit a sandy lake bottom and grab the attention of the big fish hovering there. Also, fishermen with an extensive tackle box will need The Chatter Shad for completion and to ensure that they have the right bait for fishing different types of water. The Chatter Shad was constructed from balsa wood with a noisy rattler placed inside, which is the perfect device to gain a fish's attention.
Jim Bagley had unique names for his fishing lures and often interesting stories behind his name creations. For example, the Smoo lure was named after the small round creatures from the "Lil Abner" comic strip. The lure had big round eyes and was produced in a number of colors including purple, blue and yellow. Furthermore, the lure was known to help a fisherman reach his limit.
The Bang-O-Lure was the fish enticing device that made the Bagley Bait Company successful for a while. The lure was initially sold in three lengths, which were three inch, four inch and five inch. However, the lure's popularity caused Bagley to manufacture a seven inch lure later on to attract larger sport fish. Further developments were made to the lure including the addition of plastic lips. This addition allowed the lure to dive shallow or deep underwater.
Jim Bagley designed his lures to last, and anglers looking to add valuable tackle to their collections should include a number of Bagley lures.