What Started it All
The concept of this site has been a talking point for a long time between writer, colleague and close friend Pete Robbins and myself. Pete and I are obviously both bass fishing buffs, but bass fishing history is where we really connect. Too many hours to count have been spent on the phone, in a media room or in a boat talking about the whos, whats and whens of bass fishing – all great times.
What a lot of people don’t realize about Pete is he is the Rain Man of professional bass fishing. You want statistics from the 1974 Bassmaster Invitational on Watts Bar – Pete will rattle them off the top of his head as if the event happened yesterday and he covered it. Where Pete lacks, though, is in western history. It’s not his fault his western history is a little lacking – for crying out loud, he grew up on the (L)east coast.
Because of this, many of our conversations turn to west coast trivia; 1) because I lived it and 2) because he wants to cram more info into that Rain Man brain of his.
In the past, Pete has hounded me to write a book or an extended column on the subject of western bass fishing history. I really embraced the idea but found myself with little time or energy to do it. It’s one thing to write a couple of blurbs on the past but as soon as one opens that can of worms, there’s no stopping because there’s so much important history to tell. What do you write about and what do you leave out? It was a good idea but one I knew I wouldn’t take on, not because I didn’t want to but because it was such a daunting task. The idea was shelved.
Fast forward to November 2011. I was rummaging through a bunch of old magazines and found a 1974 California Lunker Club Magazine, Vol I Issue 2. Rip Nunnery had given it to me back in the ’80s, along with a couple other issues. Instead of putting the rag aside, I stood and read it cover-to-cover.
Inside the magazine, and that’s a far-reaching term to call this stapled paper rag, were pictures and stories of bass anglers that I grew up idolizing. Bobby Sandburg of San Diego, my friend and mentor Rip Nunnery, Mike Folkestad, Larry Hopper and Dee Thomas – to name a few. I couldn’t wait to scan it and send a copy to Pete.
The next day I sent the copy to Pete and the first words from his mouth, actually computer, were, “you need to write a history of western bass fishing.”
Now the wheels were turning. I contacted another western writer mentor of mine and pitched the idea to him. Of course he loved the idea, he’s actually been asked by a number of people to do the same, but unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to devote to such a project.
Again the project appeared to be shelved.
A month later I found myself in Huntsville, AL for work. Huntsville is the home of another esteemed writer friend, Alan Clemons. One night, Alan took me to one of his favorite bar-b-que joints. I don’t know if this is one of his favorites because of the ribs or the fact the place is filled with bass fishing memorabilia. In any event, our conversation turned to – you guessed it – bass fishing history. By the end of the night, Alan had broached the subject of writing about the history of bass fishing. At first I didn’t tell him of Pete’s pestering, mainly because I didn’t know if Pete had put him up to the task.
A couple hours later Alan and I talked on the phone about the subject, I told him of Pete’s unrelenting harassment and asked if he’d be willing to do something with me on the subject. He wanted to help but due to obligations beyond his control wouldn’t be able to take on the task.
What Alan did, though, was throw out the idea of starting a blog-style site and get Pete involved. During the next couple of weeks Alan and I convinced Pete to jump on board the project, we came up with a site name, purchased the domains and voila, Bass Fishing Archives was born.
Bass Fishing Archives is a passion for Pete and me. Each of us feel that the history of bass fishing needs to be archived, not just because the history is interesting but because so much information needs to be placed in ink – or pixels. Who can tell me right off the top of their head who invented the football jig? How about the Texas or Carolina rig? Very few people know, yet everyone, we feel, would like to know.
Our goal with this site is to bring you the facts about how our sport has evolved over its lifetime. We want to give credit to those forefathers who played a large role in its infancy and throughout its history. What started out as a “West Coast-only” concept has turned into a national, even international, historical documentation of how we got to where we are now.
Pete and I hope you all enjoy this fun ride back in time.