Early fishing magazines


Courtesy of Dennis Emerson

If you follow this column, then you know I have a strong passion for the history and lore of our sport. Part of that includes an appreciation for early fishing magazines.

Just like Bassmaster or B.A.S.S. Times, these vintage publications featured where- and how-to stories to catch more bass. Yet their message spoke to a simpler time … long before trolling motors, global positioning or hydraulic anchors ever hit the scene. 

Back when the sport of bass fishing was truly in its infancy. 

Among these early publications were Forest and Stream, National Sportsman and Hunter, Trader, Trapper — all dating to the late 1890s, early 1900s.

They served as platforms for legendary writers James A. Henshall, Zane Grey and Jason Lucas, all of whom helped the black bass achieve its prominence as a true gamefish — which in turn, helped shape the sport. 

A Book by Its Cover

Perhaps what appeals most to me is the cover art that was created to lure the reader. Illustration was the dominant medium in those days, and some of the images were truly captivating.