Hunting and Fishing Cover July 1940.

Today in Magazine Covers 1940, we’re going to take a break and look at the cover art from some of the leading magazines of the time.  This is a big departure from what we normally do here, but I hope you’ll appreciate the history that goes with these images.

Up until 1968, there was no bass-centric magazine.  Not one.  Bass anglers had to wait to fulfill their needs by subscribing to one of the Big 3; Sports Afield, Field & Stream, or Outdoor Life, of one of the lesser magazines.

Hunting and Fishing Cover April 1940.
Outdoorsman Hunter Trader Trapper Cover May 1940.

In the late summer, fall, and into winter, you were hard pressed to find an article that addressed bass but come spring and early summer, there was at least one article in each magazine dedicated to the bass.  That was it.

The only other way to learn how to bass fish was to buy books from authors like Sheridan Jones, and a few others who penned most of the magazine articles of the day.  James Henshall’s book by 1940 was out of date and books from Ray Bergman, Charles Fox, and Jason Lucas wouldn’t be out for at least another seven years.

Sports Afield Cover June 1940.
Hunting and Fishing Cover June 1940.

It was slim pickens in the bass education department.

But were those old magazines worthless?  Maybe the staunch bass angler of the day thought so.  But today we find them a wealth of information with respect to documenting the history of our sport.  These old magazine contain treasure troves of old ads that help document the history of tackle companies as well as old articles on bass fishing.

Sports Afield Cover August 1940.
Hunting and Fishing Cover August 1940.

I find that as I scan these magazines for content to place on the site, I find myself admiring the cover art of a lot of the magazines.  It was truly amazing.  Most likely the images were painted in watercolor, colored pencil, or a combination of both.  The scenes representing what fishing meant back in the day.

I hope you enjoy these pieces of art for what they represent to our sport.  A slower time of contemplative fishing, 6-horsepower outboards strapped onto a canoe or wooden skiff.  Direct-drive reels on steel rods, and a South Bend Bass Oreno tied to the end of the braided nylon line.