More than 50 years ago, Bob Hamilton was told his world record spotted bass would probably never be broken. Hamilton, who wrote about how he caught the 8-pounder from Alabama’s Smith Lake for the first edition of Bassmaster Magazine, wasn’t so certain, ending his article with a prophetic line:
“I’ve always heard that records are made to be broken. So good fishing.”
The record, in fact, has been broken numerous times since, most recently at California’s New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir by fish stock from Smith Lake, another good story. Yet the underlying message, one that can be credited for Bassmaster Magazine’s longevity, are seeded in Hamilton’s final words – good fishing.
That pretty much sums up the mission statement of Bassmaster Magazine since B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott cobbled together that inaugural edition in the spring of 1968. Although greatly advanced in writing, photography, information, design and features, Bassmaster continues to print information to enhance the bass fishing experience of its readers.
Funnel feeds flow of fishing info
A major change from the first to second Bassmaster editions was using glossy paper instead of cheap print stock, but Scott’s idea to disseminate information on bass fishing was eagerly accepted no matter the presentation. Scott served as editor for that first magazine then soon after hired Bob Cobb, a newspaper man from Tulsa, as editor.
Searching for suitable copy, Cobb quickly found himself in a pickle … at least a pickle box. Scott had anglers from across the country send in their letters, stories and tips, and Cobb was the word wizard who turned those stacks into readable material that hooked generations.
“When I went to work for B.A.S.S., there was a box over in the corner – Whitfield Pickles,” Cobb said before reciting its jingle. “’The pickle with the perfect pucker, picked at the peak of perfection, by particular pickle picking people.’ In that box, there was clumsily written stuff, but it was pure prose from the standpoint of how to catch fish, and that’s what the bass fisherman was eager for.”