Time to get back to some organizational posts and today, we have just that. In BASS Lunker Lines 1976, we’re going to take a quick look at one of the early Federation Newsletters. Lunker Lines was the predecessor to BASS Times. The issue we’re going to talk about, Volume 5, Number 4, dated September/October 1976, covered the recent Chapter Championship held on Lake Texoma and announced the 1977 BASS Champs event, both topics we’ve already discussed on the Bass Fishing Archives.
But, since this is the earliest BASS Federation newsletter I have ever seen, I felt it might be worth it to show you all how far the Federation has come through the years and what the newsletter first looked like.
This issue was published when the Federation was still called The B.A.S.S. Chapter. The Chapters formed one infamous night in 1968 at a bank in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The man who played a big part in that formation was none of than Harold Sharp, B.A.S.S.’s first Tournament Director.
The story goes that Harold had fished Ray’s second event at Smith Lake, AL, and on the way home he and his two fishing buddies decided to start a bass club in Chattanooga based on the Tulsa club they’d seen at Smith. One thing led to the next and Ray Scott got wind of it.
Scott Called Sharp and told Harold that he was moving too fast. Harold’s reply was, “we’re holding out first meeting in two days and you’re welcome to attend.” The next day Scott got on an airplane headed for Tennessee. Harold picked up Scott at the airport and spent the day in his hotel room drafting the 1968 BASS Master Tournament rules while talking about bringing all bass clubs under one umbrella.
That night, at the first meeting which would result in the Chattanooga Bass Club being formed, Ray Scott took the podium and described his idea for bringing all bass clubs and fisherman under one roof. With their support, they could fight water pollution and possibly bring the sport of bass fishing into prominence.
To make a long story short, the attendees decided to form the club and also follow Ray Scott on his hair-brained idea of assembling all bass fishermen and clubs under the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Harold Sharp became the second member of B.A.S.S. and that night B.A.S.S. and the Chapters were formed.
Based on the volume number of this issue, Volume 5, the Chapter Newsletter had been in circulation since 1971. Having never seen one of the prior newsletters, it’s hard to tell what was written in them. If anyone out there has any of these early newsletters, please leave a note in the comments below.
In 1973 B.A.S.S. held the first Chapter Championship on Pickwick Lake, Alabama. Wendell Mann of Snow Camp, NC won that event and the first bid to go the classic from the Chapters.
Three years later, we come to this issue.
As stated above, the newsletter starts out on the front page with the report from the Championship and the upcoming 1977 BASS Champs event. Tennessee won its second championship in the history of the event. Mississippi took second, and the home team, Oklahoma, took third. You can find the full report here if you’re interested.
This event also picked the 10 anglers who would go to the 1977 BASS Champs event, to pit the amateurs against the top-10 from the 1976 BASS Masters Classic. The lake would not be announced until just before the event to give everyone a fair shot. You can read the results of the 1977 BASS Champs event here.
The newsletter also gave a report of the Third Annual Chapters National Presidents’ Conference that was held during the week of the Championship. Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Conservation, Outstanding Achievement in Safety, and Federation of the Year were handed out at the awards banquet.
On Page five, there was even an article on how the S.E. Oklahoma State University provided a team of “coeds” to convert all weights into metric as the weights were being tallied. Yes, at one point we were going to the metric system, and then it vanished. The newsletter is only 6 pages long but it had some good information in it.
As I said at the beginning of this piece, if anyone out there knows of more of these newsletters, please contact us through the comments below. The next issue I have is from July/August 1986 and by that time, the newsletter had been renamed BASS Times. It would be really cool to publish all these newsletters here on the Bass Fishing Archives for all to see.
I’d like to thank my buddy Mike McCabe of Angling Archeology for donating this newsletter to us here at the Bass Fishing Archives. You can find Mike on YouTube and Instagram.
For the complete newsletter, please check out the gallery below. Click on the first image and then use the arrows to scroll through the pages.