I think there's a lot of polarity in the bass fishing community when it comes to balsa crankbaits. A lot of folks love 'em because they have a definite knack for fooling fish in tough conditions when many other hard baits fail. On the flip-side, however, I've heard a lot of folks complain about the lack of casting distance they're able to achieve because historically, most of these lightweight balsa baits can be pretty tough to cast. I totally understand both sides.
I throw a crankbait all year long and I love to fish quickly and target windblown cover. I'll be honest; I've gotten ticked off at some balsa baits in the past because they were casting like a potato chip in the blustery conditions.
Thankfully, I've been testing the Bagley Pro Sunny B this summer and although it's made of balsa wood, this crankbait casts just as well as any crankbait in my collection. I've been able to make easy and accurate casts to cover while also targeting windblown points and laydowns without any issues or frustrations to speak of.
I'll quickly run through what makes this balsa crankbait such a special option for any cranking guru.
What makes it cast so well?
The Bagley Pro Sunny B is manufactured using an exclusive process called Heat Compression Molding, or HCM. It allows for not only a full wire-through design but also a precise internal weighting system as pictured above. So instead of trying to cast a coffee can lid into a stiff wind, this balsa crankbait weighs a meaty 1/2 ounce and allows even beginners to cast it with pinpoint accuracy while enjoying impressive distance as well.
To further increase your accuracy and distance, I suggest rigging the Pro Sunny B on a 7-foot, medium-action casting rod with 12-pound test. I know 12-pound may seem a bit light for a squarebill but the small diameter will allow for better distance. I normally throw mine on 15-pound fluorocarbon, however, because I love knocking it against thick wood cover and chunk rock.
I haven't had to tune one yet
This is a great-running crankbait that acts right straight out of the package. Admittedly, I get pretty frustrated when I take a crankbait out of the package and have to mess with it for several minutes before even making a cast. A lot of times, those same crankbaits will require constant attention after hard collisions with cover or several fish catches.
The Pro Sunny B is about as straight-running as you can get; especially in the balsa category. Take it out of the box and go fishing. That's as simple as it gets.
It's a lot tougher than I expected
Normally, I tend to baby balsa plugs a lot more than the others in my collection. I have all kinds of broken balsa crankbaits in my shop. I've seen three types of damage more commonly than anything else: The bill breaks off, the back hook hanger pulls out or the body cracks which then soaks the wood and makes it sink.
But thanks to that HCM manufacturing process we discussed earlier, the full wire-through design adds rigidity and durability to the lure. I have absolutely no reservations about banging this thing into dock posts, seawall irregularities, riprap, blowdowns or stumps. I have tried my best to beat the tar out of this plug this summer while testing it and have failed thus far.
The bill is very sturdy and I love that it doesn't have a seam through the middle of it. A lot of plastic-billed crankbaits have that these days and in my opinion, it's just a weak point. The bill on the Pro Sunny B has practically no give to it and no seems to speak of. Bagley definitely didn't skimp on the glue because you can see some excess on every bill I've inspected. Don't worry, though; it doesn't affect the action. I'd rather see a little extra glue and be assured of a solid bill-to-body connection than knock it against a dock post and break off the bill.
Quality stock hooks can be difficult to find when you're crankbait shopping. Of course, companies want to save money and hooks are relatively easy to change, so oftentimes you'll be underwhelmed by the hooks that come on your crankbaits.
Fortunately, the Pro Sunny B comes stock with VMC treble hooks. I have dozens of packs of VMC hooks that I regularly put on my other crankbaits so the fact that the Pro Sunny B comes with 'em is a big bonus in my book.
If you're a shallow cranker, give this plug a shot. It takes a beating, it runs straight as an arrow and you can cast it without any problems. I target the 4- to 6-foot range for the large majority of the year and this crankbait is going to be rigged in my boat whenever I'm beating the bank. After trying it, I'm confident you'll agree with my assessment.
The Bagley Pro Sunny B is available at the following retailers: