American Angler Subscription Give-Away Summer 1977 American Angler Magazine.

Magazines have always had subscription giveaways to build their base.  In the 1940s and ‘50s Sports Afield, Hunting and Fishing, and Hunter Trader Trapper offered fishing tackle gifts to people who would bring them more subscribers.  In today’s post, American Angler Subscription Giveaway, we look at the giveaway campaign of a magazine and tournament trail that was on the verge of going under.

American Angler started out as a TV show in the early 1970s, specializing in sportfishing in general.  Their early magazines were not bass-centric but encompassed fresh and saltwater angling.  By 1976, American Angler turned it into a bass magazine, TV show and tournament circuit to mimic that of Ray Scott’s Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society.

Unfortunately, American Angler wasn’t hitting the mark when it came to subscriptions and tournament entries.  In order to drum up more support, the company went on a subscription campaign to drive up its numbers.

John Fox may not have owned the company at the time but he was the face of American Angler the TV show and a national champion bass angler to boot.  American Angler used Fox’s stardom to promote the tournament circuit as well as the magazine and organization as a whole.

By 1977, when this subscription campaign came out, the American Angler tournament circuit was drawing right at 100 entrants per event compared to Ray Scott’s full fields of 250 anglers.  The writing seemed as if it was on the wall.

In this campaign, American Angler was offering not only some nice gift packs, but three guide trips to the people who brought in the most subscribers.  The Get-A-New-Member-Contest, as it was billed, offered tackle packs that ranged from a pack of lures to line, rods and reels, depending on how many people you got to subscribe to the organization.  The biggest prize requiring a member to sign up between 60 and 80 new members.  In all my years of bass fishing, I have never known maybe five people who didn’t belong to the organizations that I belonged to, and I wonder if that was the same for others.

The big prizes, though, were the guided trips with three nationally-known anglers of the day.  First prize was a 3-day trip with John Fox himself to fish and be on the American Angler TV show.  The second prize was a 2-day trip with Bassmaster Classic winner Tommy Martin.  Third prize was another 2-day fishing trip with Louisiana pro Phil Greene, a two-time Classic Qualifier and American Angler bass star.

The questions I have regarding this contest are; how many subscriptions did they get from this campaign, did anyone break 10 subscriptions, and lastly, did they end up giving away the grand prize guide trips?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know the results of the giveaway.  American Angler would only last another year before it would be bought out by Dewey Yopp of National Bass Association in 1978.  Then National Bass would succumb in late 1979, leaving only Bassmaster as the sole bass organization.