But considering that it's back in production and exactly like the old Bagley Balsa B, it looks like a million bucks.
I had more than one in my tackle box two decades ago, and I have more than one in my tackle box now. They feel just as good casting and cutting through the water on the retrieve as they ever did.
I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Mike Rogan, Bagley Fishing Products Inc. owner, has put the legendary balsa wood crankbait back into circulation, much to the delight of serious bass fishermen everywhere.
Bagley's Original Series Balsa B is a sight for sore eyes and the cause of many sore lips on bass from coast to coast.
It didn't take much prodding from Balsa B's originator, the late Jim Bagley, for Rogan to "get 'er done." Rogan and Bagley, wheelchair-bound and hooked up to an oxygen tank, visited with some of the biggest names in bass fishing during July 2003 at the Fishing Industry's National Show (the ICAST).
It was a special occasion as the show was helping celebrate Bagley's 50th anniversary. Little did anyone know that out of that meeting with pros like Jimmy Houston, Bill Dance, Tommy Martin, Woo Daves, Roland Martin and BASS founder Ray Scott would come the rebirth of the Balsa B.
Bagley's sales manager Hollis Nash remembered that occasion two years later when he told the story about that meeting in Las Vegas. Bagley died about six months after the meeting, but his legacy still swims in the wide wobble of the Balsa B.
Nash said the pros were talking about how Bagley's designs for artificial lures revolutionized the bass fishing industry and caught bass after bass. Bagley listened attentively and appreciatively, but his antennae really went up when he heard people talking about going to Ebay and paying $100 per original Balsa B crankbait.
"Jim looked at Mike and said, 'We need to get that back in there,'" Nash said.
The pro anglers and others all agreed they were unhappy with the way the old model was being treated by manufacturers, and said the product had deteriorated as "everybody wanted to tinker," Nash said. "To a man they said, 'Put it back where it was,'" he recalled.
So the wheels were set in motion for manufacturing Bagley's Original Series Balsa B. Nash said some of the first models hit the water in January 2004. They officially went on the market in July 2004.
"The Original has really taken off," Nash said.
When Takahiro Omori first heard about the reintroduction of the original Balsa Bs, he had to have some. But because he was sponsored by another crankbait maker, Bagley's couldn't give him the crankbaits free, Nash said.
So "Taki," as he is widely known, bought 200 of the new crankbaits from Bagley's to fish with in 2004, according to Nash. The rest is history.
When Taki needed some late fish to win the 2004 CITGO Bass Masters Classic, he tied on an Original Series Balsa B. The crankbait produced, and he emerged as the champion.
That was a chartreuse/black model he was throwing to catch those fish. Chances are good during the recent Classic you saw highlights, along with the crankbait, of that amazing 15-minute rally on the last day by Taki.
And the Original Series Balsa B's claim to fame didn't stop there. Daves also won a BASS tournament on it.
And it was during the CITGO Bassmasters Classic just a few months ago in Pittsburgh that Jim Bagley was inducted posthumously into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. How appropriate, the company notes, because his crankbaits were responsible for four impressive Classic wins (the Original Series Balsa B also won it in 1973 for Rayo Breckenridge).
Nash said the honor is well-deserved for Bagley.
"He really studied what makes fish bite," he said.
For example, Bagley learned that bream are nest-robbers, and he put that knowledge to good use in bream-colored artificial lures.
What makes that particular Balsa B tick? There's the original brass hardware, the original square lip, the original fat body and the ultra-select balsa wood bodies that are super buoyant, bounce better and provide better sensitivity than any other material.
And they are armed with premium black hooks or red hooks.
According to Nash, Balsa Bs have a big, fat tail and a tight wobble with the least amount of water displacement. They work great on bass in cool water, nesting cycles or during lethargic moods, he said.
Original Series Balsa B's are available in 2-inch, 2 3/8-inch and 3-inch models, according to the latest brochure. At first available in only five colors, they are now available in 12 colors, including "Tom," chartreuse/black named after Tommy Martin and changed from 9C4, according to Nash, and "Woo," fire tiger and named after Woo Daves.
"They're named for the pros who have helped make them famous," Nash said.
For more information on Bagley Fishing Products like the Original Series Balsa B, the Honey B and the Killer B, call (239) 693-7070 or visit www.bagleybait.com.