Today’s Friday Finale historical photo, Harold on B.A.S.S., takes us back to 1982, and a piece written on how Harold Sharp and B.A.S.S. were such a good fit. For those who don’t know, Harold quit his job at Southern Pacific Railroad in Chattanooga back in 1970 to jump on board the B.A.S.S. train with Ray Scott. In the article, Harold states:
“I remember the day when I joined B.A.S.S. Ray told me that, in five years, he was hoping we would have 5,000 members. Instead, we had 300,000. It has definitely surpassed all our expectations.”
Another hallmark of those early days of B.A.S.S. were lawsuits and legal wranglings in the environmental arena. Harold recalled:
“We’ve had a lot to do with fighting water pollution across the country and, through our efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed. We filed suits against industries in New York, Texas, Tennessee and here in Alabama. We’ve brought the attention of water pollution to a lot of people.”
B.A.S.S.’ “Don’t Kill Your Catch” campaign in 1972 brought live release of bass catches to the forefront.
“We wanted to make it a point for fishermen to keep as many of their catches alive as possible,” said Harold. “At first, we gave fishermen a two-ounce bonus for every bass brought in alive. Now we take away two ounces for every bass brought in dead. Since we started the program, 84 percent of the bass caught were returned alive.”
On bass fishing as a sport, the article quotes Harold, saying:
“I guess baseball is still America’s pastime, but pro fishing has grown by leaps and bounds. A guy like you or me couldn’t just go out on a golf course and expect to beat Jack Nicklaus. But on a given day, anyone can catch a lot of fish.”
For those of you who remember the first iteration of this site, you know that Harold contributed several articles about the early days of B.A.S.S. Most of all, Harold was a big supporter of the site and offered a lot of insight into the early years of B.A.S.S. If you’re interested in reading some of the articles penned by Harold for the site, just search Harold Sharp in the search bar in the upper right of the main page.