Ray Scott has the idea for the first modern bass tournament while watching a basketball game in a Jackson, Miss., motel room. He subsequently drafts the rules for competitive bass fishing to foster the ideals of ethical angling, conservation and safety. The same basic rules are used today all around the world.
In June, Scott conducts the All-American Bass Tournament on Beaver Lake, Ark., charging 106 anglers from 13 states a $100 entry fee. Stan Sloan wins the event and earns $2,000 cash and a trip to Acapulco.
Ray Scott officially forms and incorporates the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.). Oklahoma’s Don Butler becomes the first B.A.S.S. member after paying Ray Scott $100 for a life membership.
In the spring, the first issue of Bassmaster Magazine is published.
B.A.S.S. tournament competitors are taught to rig a “kill switch.”
Rip Nunnery brings in a 15-bass limit weighing 98 pounds, 15 ounces at the Eufaula (Ala.) National. It is the heaviest single day catch ever recorded in a B.A.S.S. event.
In December, Bob Cobb takes office as the editor of Bassmaster Magazine, replacing Ray Scott.
In January, Roland Martin fishes his first B.A.S.S. event, the Toledo Bend Invitational. He finishes second and begins one of the most impressive careers in professional fishing history. In his first 25 events, Martin wins 7 times, finishes second 8 times and never places lower than 16th.
In March, Martin claims the first of his 19 B.A.S.S. wins at the Seminole Lunker event in Georgia.
Bill Dance becomes the first Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
Helen Sevier joins B.A.S.S. to develop direct marketing efforts.
Under the 1899 Refuse Act, B.A.S.S. filed lawsuits naming over 200 polluters ranging from laundromats to large industries.
Bass Anglers for Clean Water is created, allowing concerned fishermen and B.A.S.S. members to make tax-deductible contributions toward fishing related conservation causes.
Ranger Boat company burns to the ground in Flippin, Ark. Ray Scott gives Ranger owner Forrest Wood free advertisements in Bassmaster Magazine until his company is up and running again.
Bobby Murray wins first Bassmaster Classic®, collecting $10,000 in the winner-take-all championship on Lake Mead, Nev. Classic competitors were not told of the location of the Classic until their plane was airborne.
B.A.S.S. establishes Anglers for Clean Water®, a nonprofit group to combat water pollution and habitat degradation.
Roland Martin wins the first of his nine Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards.
B.A.S.S. holds the first catch-and-release tournament, the Florida National, on Lake Kissimmee. The event is won by Tom Mann.
Fred Young sells hand-carved Big O crankbaits at the Tennessee Invitational on Watts Bar for $15 apiece, spawning the “alphabet plug” revolution.
Don Butler, B.A.S.S.’ first member, wins the Bassmaster Classic on Percy Priest Reservoir in Tennessee.
Aerators are used in livewells to conform with the new B.A.S.S. catch-and-release tournament rule.
In November, Sports Illustrated features the Classic.
Wendell Mann becomes the first Federation Nation qualifier to fish in the Bassmaster Classic, finishing last among 26 competitors.
Ray Scott testifies in Senate hearings against use fees on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes. Congress overturns the charges.
Dave Zimmerlee catches a 20-15 largemouth bass from California’s Lake Miramar. It is the first certified 20-pound bass since George Perry’s world record catch in 1932 and the first 20-pounder to come from California.
Roland Martin wins his third consecutive Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
George Perry, who caught the 22-4 world record largemouth in 1932, dies in plane crash near Birmingham, Ala.
California’s Dee Thomas, the inventor of flippin’, wins the Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Lake. Bassmaster Magazine introduces the world to flippin’.
Angler of the Year Roland Martin is all-time leading money winner with $47,823.
Bill and Gregory Ward become the first father and son to compete against each other in the Bassmaster Classic.
Tom and Don Mann become the first brothers to compete against each other in the Bassmaster Classic.
Rick Clunn wins Bassmaster Classic VI on Lake Guntersville, Ala., the first of his four Classic crowns.
Rick Clunn becomes the first angler to win back-to-back Bassmaster Classics, this time claiming the title on Florida’s Lake Tohopekaliga. It is the first Classic not held on a “mystery lake.” B.A.S.S. announced the location of the Classic in advance so that media and fans could make plans to attend.
Bobby Murray wins his second Bassmaster Classic, this time on Ross Barnett Reservoir, Miss.
Ray Scott is inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame.
Hank Parker wins his first Bassmaster Classic, taking the title on the Texas-Oklahoma border on Lake Texoma.
The Bassmaster Classic moves north for the first time, to New York’s St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands area. Bo Dowden wins the championship. ABC’s “20/20” broadcasts a feature on the Classic.
In March, Roland Martin wins the Alabama Invitational on Lake Eufaula for his third consecutive B.A.S.S. victory.
At 21 years of age, Stanley Mitchell becomes the youngest angler ever to win the Bassmaster Classic.
For the first time, the Classic weigh-in is held indoors, this time at the Montgomery, Ala., Civic Center.
One of the first national organizations to recognize the danger of acid rain to the nation’s fisheries, B.A.S.S. embraced a public awareness campaign: “Acid Rain Burns My Bass.”
Alfred Williams becomes the first African-American angler to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, finishing 10th.
Oklahoma fisheries biologist Ken Cook turns pro after winning $100,000 in the first Super B.A.S.S. Tournament, the richest payout in B.A.S.S. history.
The New York Times puts B.A.S.S. and the Super B.A.S.S. tournament on its front page.
Rick Clunn sets the Bassmaster Classic winning weight record with 75 pounds, 9 ounces on the Arkansas River as he wins his third Classic title. Honorary weighmasters at the event include future U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
After years of campaigning by B.A.S.S. and other sportfishing groups, the Wallop-Breaux amendment to the Dingell-Johnson Act is passed, clearing the way for billions of dollars to be appropriated for state fishery efforts.
The Bassmasters debuts on TNN as a 30-minute special on the 1984 Bassmaster Classic.
Roland Martin wins his ninth and last Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Helen Sevier and a group of investors purchase B.A.S.S. from founder Ray Scott.
B.A.S.S. holds the first MegaBucks tournament, featuring a links-style fishing course, on the Harris Chain of Lakes, Fla. Roger Farmer takes first place and a check for $101,000.
Kevin VanDam fishes his first B.A.S.S. event, the New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence River. The 19-year-old finishes 110th out of 311 anglers. VanDam becomes a full-time professional angler a few years later and immediately makes his presence known, finishing in the top 50 of 28 consecutive B.A.S.S. events.
George Cochran wins his first Bassmaster Classic, taking the title on the Ohio River.
George Bush is elected president. New York Times correspondent Maureen Dowd reports his favorite magazine is Bassmaster Magazine.
Adweek declares Bassmaster Magazine one of the “10 Hottest Magazines of 1988,” along with Vanity Fair, Parade and U.S. News & World Report.
B.A.S.S. Times, the newsletter for B.A.S.S. club members, is transformed into a tabloid to provide more tournament and B.A.S.S. Federation Nation news, resource conservation information and in-depth fishing tips.
Hank Parker wins his second Bassmaster Classic title, this time on the James River in Va. His margin of victory is just 2 ounces, and he is propelled to the top spot after a keeper bass is accidentally dropped into the water by runner-up Jim Bitter.
Rick Clunn wins his fourth Bassmaster Classic championship, this time on Virginia’s James River. Going into the final round, he was in 10th place, making his victory the biggest comeback in Classic history at that time. (In 2014 Randy Howell made a bigger comeback, then in 2017 Jordan Lee eclipsed Howell’s comeback record).
Larry Nixon wins his fourth MegaBucks event and becomes the first angler to surpass $1,000,000 in B.A.S.S. prize money.
Vojai Reed becomes the first female angler to fish the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, debuting at the Missouri Invitational on Truman Lake and finishing 58th out of 244 anglers.
The first incident of Largemouth Bass Virus is discovered in Florida’s Lake Weir.
Kevin VanDam wins his first Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
Randy Dearman wins the Texas Invitational on Sam Rayburn Reservoir using “Lynch Line,” a fishing line made of high-tech synthetic material used in bulletproof vests. His victory launches the “superline” revolution.
Tokyo’s Norio Tanabe becomes the first international angler to win a B.A.S.S. event, taking the Kentucky Invitational on Kentucky Lake.
In July, 23-year-old Bryan Kerchal becomes first Federation Nation qualifier to win the Bassmaster Classic. Less than five months later he is killed in a commuter plane crash in North Carolina.
Mark Davis becomes the first angler to win the Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and Bassmaster Classic in the same season.
George Cochran wins Bassmaster Classic XXVI on Alabama’s Lay Lake. It is his second Classic title.
Dion Hibdon, whose father, Guido, won the Bassmaster Classic in 1988, wins the closest Bassmaster Classic ever. He defeats Federation Nation qualifier Dalton Bobo by a single ounce after Bobo loses 4 ounces to a dead fish penalty.
Roland Martin wins his 19th and last B.A.S.S. event, the Vermont Top 100 on Lake Champlain.
Mark Tyler catches a 14-pound, 9-ounce largemouth bass at the California Western Invitational on the California Delta. It is the largest bass ever caught in B.A.S.S. competition.
At 54 years of age, Woo Daves becomes the oldest angler ever to win the Bassmaster Classic.
The Bassmasters television program finds a new home on ESPN2.
ESPN, “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” purchases B.A.S.S.
Dean Rojas catches the biggest five-bass limit in B.A.S.S. history (45 pounds, 2 ounces) at the Florida Bassmaster Top 150 on Lake Tohopekaliga. He goes on to win the event with a then-record four-day catch weighing 108-12.
Kevin VanDam wins his first Bassmaster Classic, claiming the crown on the Louisiana Delta.
Kevin VanDam wins fishing’s first ESPY as “Best Outdoors Athlete.”
Rick Clunn’s streak of 28 consecutive Bassmaster Classic appearances comes to an end.
Jay Yelas wins the ESPY as “Best Outdoors Athlete.”
Takahiro Omori wins Bassmaster Classic XXXIV on North Carolina’s Lake Wylie, becoming the first foreign born angler to claim fishing’s biggest title.
BassCenter debuts on ESPN2, becoming the first program to borrow the “Center” name and the SportsCenter theme music.
B.A.S.S. relocates to Celebration, Fla.
Rick Clunn wins ESPN’s Greatest Angler Debate. Roland Martin finishes second.
Kevin VanDam wins the toughest Bassmaster Classic ever with a 3-day total of just 12-15 on Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers. It is his second Classic title and his third B.A.S.S. win in a row, tying a record set by Roland Martin in 1981.
The International Game Fish Association and State of Kentucky reinstate David L. Hayes’ 11-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth bass as the all-tackle world record. The catch had been disqualified in 1996, but new evidence brought to light by an article in Bassmaster Magazine causes the authorities to reevaluate the case.
B.A.S.S. conducts a test event for the Women’s Bassmaster Tour on Texas’ Lake Lewisville. Eighty-eight boaters participate, and Pam Martin-Wells wins the tournament.
B.A.S.S. introduces the Elite Series, the world’s premier professional bass angling circuit bring the best anglers to the best waters at the best times of year.
First place prize money for the Bassmaster Classic is raised from $200,000 to $500,000.
Luke Clausen wins the 2006 Bassmaster Classic on Florida’s Lake Tohopekaliga. Preston Clark catches an 11-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass on his way to a 6th place finish. It is the largest bass ever caught in Classic competition, eclipsing a 8-9 largemouth caught in the 1976 Classic by Ricky Green.
BassCenter airs for the final time after 19 months on the air.
Tammy Richardson wins the first Women’s Bassmaster Tour event, besting 102 other anglers on Alabama’s Neely Henry Lake. Later she wins the ESPY for “Best Angler.”
Dianna Clark wins the inaugural WBT Angler of the Year title.
Mac Weakley foul hooks a 25-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass from Lake Dixon in California. Had the fish been taken legally, it would have surpassed the world record by nearly 3 pounds.
Michael Iaconelli wins the 2006 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Alabama’s Boyd Duckett becomes the first angler to win the Bassmaster Classic fishing in his home state (Alabama).
Rick Clunn fishes in his 31st Bassmaster Classic.
Pam Martin-Wells wins the inaugural Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship on Alabama’s Lake Mitchell.
Steve Kennedy sets a new B.A.S.S. four-day tournament record with 122-14 on California’s Clear Lake.
For the third consecutive year, the B.A.S.S. record for the heaviest four-day catch is broken. Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss., establishes the new record of 132 pounds, 8 ounces, at a Bassmaster Elite Series event on Texas’ Falcon Lake.
Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., earns his fourth Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Kim Bain becomes the first woman to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic in its 38-year history. Bain qualifies when she wins the Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year award.
Skeet Reese wins the Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport, La. Kim Bain is the first woman to compete in the Bassmaster Classic, finishing 47th out of 51 competitors.
Manabu Kurita catches a 22-pound, 4.97-ounce largemouth bass from Japan’s Lake Biwa.
Pam Martin-Wells wins the 2009 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year award.
Kevin VanDam wins the 2009 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award, his fifth and second in a row.
Judy Wong wins the 2009 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship on Louisiana’s Cypress Black Bayou Lake. It is her second WBT Championship.
B.A.S.S. cancels Women’s Bassmaster Tour.
The International Game Fish Association certifies Manabu Kurita’s 22-pound, 4.97-ounce largemouth bass from Japan’s Lake Biwa as a tie for the all-tackle record.
Kevin VanDam wins the Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake. It is his third Classic championship. Pam Martin-Wells becomes the second woman to compete in the Bassmaster Classic, finishing 22nd out of 51 competitors.
Skeet Reese is featured on the cover of Parade magazine (circulation 32 million).
Kevin VanDam wins the 2010 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award, his sixth and third in a row.
Jim Copeland, Don Logan and Jerry McKinnis purchase B.A.S.S. from ESPN.
Kevin VanDam wins the Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta. It is his fourth Classic championship and second in a row, tying him with Rick Clunn on both counts.
Kevin VanDam wins the 2011 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award, his seventh and fourth in a row.
Andrew Upshaw of Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas becomes the first angler to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic through the College B.A.S.S. National Championship program.
Bruce Akin is named Chief Executive Officer of B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. relocates to Birmingham, Ala.
Chris Lane wins the Bassmaster Classic on the Red River in Louisiana.
Matt Lee of Auburn University becomes the second angler to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic through the College B.A.S.S. National Championship program. He defeats his brother Jordan in the Bassmaster Classic bracket.
Brent Chapman wins the 2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
The name of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation is changed to B.A.S.S. Nation.
Cliff Pace wins the Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees.
Aaron Martens wins the 2013 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Jordan Lee of Auburn University wins the Bassmaster Classic bracket of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, earning a berth in the 2014 Classic.
Randy Howell wins the Bassmaster Classic on Guntersville Lake.
Greg Hackney wins the 2014 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Brett Preuett of the University of Louisiana at Monroe wins the Bassmaster Classic bracket of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, earning a berth in the 2015 Classic.
Casey Ashley wins the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell.
The Bassmaster LIVE Show launched this year at the Hartwell Classic. Casey Ashley caught the first keeper on live video with cameraman Rick Mason.
Aaron Martens wins the 2015 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Trevor Lo of the University of Minnesota wins the Bassmaster Classic bracket of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, earning a berth in the 2016 Classic.
Edwin Evers wins the Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees.
Gerald Swindle wins the 2016 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
John Garrett of the Bethel University wins the Bassmaster Classic bracket of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, earning a berth in the 2017 Classic.
Jordan Lee wins the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe.
Brandon Palaniuk earns the 2017 Toyota Bassmster Angler of the Year title.