A couple of B.A.S.S. patch stories are on my mind today. Here's one of them.
Ray Scott called me the other day with a funny, probably productive, way to get those B.A.S.S. decals back on the bumpers of vehicles the way they used to be.
"Here's what we need to do, Jerry," our fearless leader says. "We promote the heck out of the new B.A.S.S. membership for six or eight months, then put the names of all new members in a hat for a drawing. The B.A.S.S. member whose name is drawn wins a fully rigged boat."
That doesn't sound like it has a lot of sizzle to it but here's the rest of the story.
We go to the person's house whose name has been drawn. And preferably we go at around 4 or 5 in the morning. We inform them that they won the rig ... if they can show us the decal on their vehicle.
If they can't — we draw again.
This person is already mad because we woke them up too early but then really upset with us when they are informed that they didn't win.
Ray went on to say, "It just shows how important the B.A.S.S. decal can be."
I truly think he would have been disappointed if the first person whose name was drawn actually had the decal on his truck.
I also truly think that Scott, after all these years, still has a burning desire to see that the decal remains a powerful mark in the outdoor world and stands for something we all believe in.
The other day, after complaining that I don't see them as much as I used to, I was told that people don't put decals on their bumpers any more.
Sorry, I don't buy that.
In all the comments I have received recently, Brian Tutko said he just wanted to belong to something he believed in. I mentioned his comment before in another post.
I have thought a lot about that and would like to know more about that statement. What did he mean exactly and was this just an isolated comment or do more people feel this way?
When I figure that out and still don't see decals on bumpers, then I will agree that people just don't put decals on their bumpers anymore. But I want some time.
Obviously, the decal means you belong to B.A.S.S. which means the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. To me that represents protecting our water, being strong conservationists, gaining knowledge about the sport of bass fishing and doing all of this as an organized group.
Way back in the day, I had one of the very first Ranger bass boats and I had a B.A.S.S. decal on the steering console. The boat is now in Forrest Wood's museum in Flippin, Ark. I bet it still has the decal on it.
Anyway, Bill Dance and I were going out on Lake Maumelle near Little Rock to work on some television footage. I wasn't going to appear in this particular show because I had a broken arm and looked goofy trying to fish. Of course, Dance always looks goofy so I actually would have fit right in. (ha!)
Dance showed up with a shirt that had a Creme Worm patch and a B.A.S.S. patch on it. I, on the other hand, didn't have any patches; and though I wasn't going to make the TV show, I hurried around and found a jacket I could wear. Then sewed the patch on with one hand.
I was either dedicated or I was afraid Ray Scott was going to show up. I have never forgotten that.
These days, I drive from central Arkansas to north Arkansas about twice a week. It's a 2 1/2-hour drive, and I mostly do it real early or real late so there are not a lot of vehicles on the road.
In spite of that, during my trips I'm looking for cars and trucks with BASS shields on their bumper or back window. I have a bag of fishing lures and line behind my driver's seat — probably $50 or $60 worth — and when I spot a decal I intend to run them down and give them that bag of fishing tackle.
That is, if they don't shoot me for running them down. I'll keep you updated on that plan.
Hey, Ray Scott — I'm doing my part!
In all seriousness, being a member of B.A.S.S. is important and let's get to the point where we are all really proud to let other people know who we are.
What's your B.A.S.S. decal story?