Daily Limit: From jumpsuits to jerseys

Editor's note: 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of B.A.S.S. As part of our celebration we’re publishing stories, videos and photos about the history of the sport, including the one below.

Signage the one constant in evolution of angler clothing

Most everything has changed for bass anglers over the years, and that includes the shirts on their backs. For the 50th anniversary of B.A.S.S., the Daily Limit looked into the evolution of tournament clothing, from the jumpsuits at the beginning to today’s computer-generated, high-tech jerseys.

Many fishing excursions 100 years ago were done in suits and ties, but fishing attire was certainly more casual around World War II. In old photos, flannel shirts, like the red plaid ones worn by hunters of the day, were commonly seen along with white T-shirts or just about any shirt the owner didn’t mind getting slimed.

Once Ray Scott began holding national tournaments, there was impetus to conform, to create some sort of unity in uniform. Jumpsuits, adorned solely with a B.A.S.S. patch before sponsors started chiming in, became that first unofficial uniform for a good percentage of the anglers.

Dave Precht, longtime editor of Bassmaster Magazine, wasn’t at those first events, but he has certainly played a major role in chronicling the sport.

“The very first pictures I saw from those tournaments in Arkansas and other places that Ray ran, there was a mixture of jumpsuits and then guys in khakis and dress shirts,” Precht said. “The other element I remember from the early days were the pork pie hats.”

The winners of the first two Classics, Bobby Murray in 1971 and then Don Butler, respectively, wore jumpsuits when accepting the trophy. Both had B.A.S.S. patches, and the only other difference, besides Murray’s being blue and Butler’s green, was Butler had his name embroidered over the breast pocket.