Gussy holding two Bagley balsa crankbaits

You would think January would be a quiet time of year for me but it is surprisingly one of the busiest. As I get ready to hit the road for Florida at the end of the month to begin the new 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series season I’m burning up my time getting my boat rigged up, organizing and working on my tackle, booking places to stay on the road, making travel plans and taking care of all the bills and things around the house because I’ll be gone on this first trip for about a month or so. It’s a lot of preparation at the start of the year to try and make sure everything goes smoothly once we get rolling.

In between all of that, I’ve been trying to get out on the ice to catch a few fish. I love ice fishing and living on the north end of Lake of the Woods, I’m blessed to have some great action literally right outside my door. My adventures have mostly involved catching walleyes, crappies, perch, and lake trout. It will be March before I get back on the ice again so I’m trying to get in as much as I can now, especially with all of the mild weather we’ve been receiving.

The biggest off-season news for me and my career was the addition of Bagley to my list of sponsors. Bagley has a long history, in bass fishing, in particular, so for me, it was a brand that I knew had a good product and a bunch of baits that will be able to help me catch more fish. To be able to work more closely with my friends at Northland (who have been one of my longest-running supporters) was a perk to the deal. I was proud that they wanted me to be on the team.

An interesting aspect of my career is that I would consider shallow water cranking a bit of a weak spot so it’s exciting for me because I now have access to premium baits for shallow crankbait fishing. I have been fishing pro tournaments for long enough to know that when the crankbait deal is happening, you aren’t going to beat it with any other techniques. It’s something I have acknowledged over the past few years and something that I’m going to work on more in 2021. Because our schedule has quite a bit of fish a week, get a week off, and fish a week this year, I’m going to put some time in on good crankbait water this spring during some of our downtime.

Getting the chance to play around with some of the baits this past season gave me confidence in their quality and fish-catching ability. Around home on Lake of the Woods, a brown crawfish Sunny B crankbait was a smallmouth and walleye killer. It’s a small profile balsa crankbait that dives six or seven feet deep and is perfect around the boulder and sandy areas where these fish were feeding on crayfish. It’s great in current as well.

Gussy holding the Bagley Bait Sunny B crankbait

Looking ahead to the Elite Series season, the Bang O Lure Twin Spin (one of the most famous baits in the Bagley line-up) is sure to see some action in Florida. This bait is a proven fish catcher when Florida bass are hanging around beds.

The Flat Balsa B2 is a deadly cold water crankbait, one that will surely get some action from me and other anglers at the Tennessee River and Pickwick Lake events in February and March. It is available in some of the new Bass Pro exclusive colors and they look beautiful.

I expect the Balsa B or Diving Balsa B to be tied on a rod at every venue because of their versatile nature and ability to catch largemouths, smallmouth, and spots. Having a great assortment of crankbaits won’t be a problem for me!  I did get a chance to show off some of the new colors from Bagley Baits in the Balsa B lineup.

I’ll check back in after our Elite Series season gets going and let everyone know how I’m catching my fish. Until then, tight lines.


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