I was first exposed to the Bagley Rattlin' B Minus Lipless Crankbait on a recent fishing trip with professional angler Scott Canterbury. We got together to shoot some video footage and photos and the bite was surprisingly tough. We caught a few that morning, but nothing to write home about. He then tied on a lipless crankbait from Bagley and proceeded to unlock their jaws in a big way. That naturally piqued my interest in the bait, so I took a closer look and this is what I found.
Weighing in at 1/2-ounce, the Rattlin' B Minus is a full-size lipless crankbait but Bagley has distributed the weight to where it fishes like a 1/4-ounce bait instead. What I mean by that is the bait doesn't run very deep and fights to stay up high in the water column but still runs true and upright. They even have the lure labeled as a slow-sink bait.
Though I saw this in person, I still did some digging to try to find out exactly how they did this so I could relay that information here. But I found very little information on the innards of this particular bait despite my efforts. I realize now that might be for good reason. With so many companies in the game now, it's very hard to create something different. Based on what I've witnessed with this bait so far, it is different and they probably want to keep it that way.
I can only speculate that there's some sort of air pocket within the bait that helps keep it from sinking as quickly as other lipless crankbaits, but again that's just my best guess. Regardless, this bait is fantastic for fishing shallow flats and offers a slightly different presentation that I'm looking forward to applying to the shallow fields of hydrilla during the prespawn on lakes like Guntersville, Chickamauga and Sam Rayburn. Having a lipless bait that won't bog down in the vegetation when bass push super shallow on those types of fisheries is a game changer.
Wood or plastic?
Though Bagley is known by most primarily for their extremely popular balsa crankbaits like the Bagley B1, the Sunny B and the Kill'r B, they have added an impressive lineup of plastic baits over the last few years as well. The Rattlin' B Minus is one of those baits.
Bagley has created an innovative process of heat pressing two halves of balsa wood to create chambers so they can add weight to their wood baits. This is a unique process and one that adds a whole new array of possibilities to the balsa bait world. But for this bait, plastic was the way to go so they could create the right combination of the sound, vibration, tight action and weight distribution this lure possesses.
Bagley did the little things right with the Bagley Rattlin' B Minus. The bait comes with beefy split rings for the hook hangers and an oval-shaped split ring for the line tie which I prefer. The bait also comes with round-bend, thin-wire hooks that are sharp and ready to stick whatever passes by.
These hooks are perfectly capable of handling the work load that most anglers will use the Rattlin' B Minus for and I applaud Bagley for not throwing a set of high-dollar trebles on the bait which would result in a drastic increase to its overall price. Most hook junkies have a particular treble hook they love and would change the hooks out no matter what came on the bait, so keeping the bait around $6 with a basic set of quality round-bend hooks was the right call.
If I were to take this bait and go to one of those type fisheries with super thick vegetation and big fish, I would probably upgrade the hooks to a set of beefier ones. Especially taking into account the braided line that I would recommend for that type of fishing.
The Bagley Rattlin' B Minus gets an A+ for me. It's a well-built bait with a wide array of paint schemes and it comes with adequate hardware for almost any scenario. The bait has a great action and sound but really sets itself apart from other lipless crankbaits when it comes to the depth at which it can be fished.
Where many other 1/2-ounce lipless crankbaits sink like a rock or blow out to the side in 1 to 2 feet of water, the unique weight distribution of the slow-sink Bagley Rattlin' B Minus allows you to fish the bait upright in that super-shallow water while still presenting the fish with a full-size profile. This gives you the perfect tool to eliminate one more range of refuge for big bass.