Bagley Diving Balsa B1 Review with Tony Hatten

In the Midwest, crankbaits are often an overlooked art that has proven to catch fish of almost any species for years.

In an age of plastic and mass production Bagley Baits has been able to maintain their unique balsa shape, build, and action that has been putting more fish in the boat for over 50 years.

The Balsa B series of baits is a staple in the lineup and a favorite amongst bass anglers across the country. Bagley Pro and Champions Tour Veteran Tony Hatten gave us his take on the Diving B1, a bait he often utilizes during his time on the water.

“Really the Diving B1 shines when you’re in the shallow to mid-depth rock, looking for deflection bites. The key to crankbaits is deflection and I love the balsa properties this bait has because it will rise back up off cover faster than other crankbaits which allows for a quicker stop and go retrieve and constant changing of direction which draws more strikes.”

Hatten also noted that on lakes with higher weed growth he will “stair step” the bait in and out of the weeds with that quicker rise action. This is particularly effective in the later summer months when baitfish like bluegill are sitting higher in the water column.

Hatten also cited the balsa action as fitting his style when crankbait fishing because of the slower wider wobble that really provides a different look over other conventional crankbaits. This slower approach to cranking can be key when dealing with pressured fish or fish that may not be actively feeding and must be coaxed into biting.

“When you pair all of this with the new colors that are coming out you really have a match made in heaven for us northern guys, Bagley has done a great job giving us options that are staples in the Midwest whether that be crawdad colors, olives, or even bluegill colors.”

For his setup, Hatten recognizes that he tends to fish a little heavier gear than most for this smaller profiled bait but says he won’t leave anything to chance when it comes to making sure he gets a good hookset on a fish. His normal setup is a 7’6” medium heavy crankbait rod with a low stretch 12-pound monofilament line. The forgiveness of mono lends itself well to this application and for smaller baits in general especially in windy conditions. In areas where heavier cover is present Hatten will go up to a jig rod so he has the power to snap his cranks out of the weed quickly and will also go up to 15-pound mono to keep the bait running shallower.

The Diving Balsa B1 is just one of the many fish-catching options in the Bagley lineup, but it certainly has earned its place in the rotation of some of the top bass anglers in the country and for good reason.

You can learn more about this bait and browse the rest of the Bagley Balsa options at their website