The First Issue of Bassmaster Magazine, Spring 1968. With permission.

By the spring of 1968, Ray Scott had held two events that changed the world of bass fishing. In late 1967, with these successes behind him, he forged ahead with his plan to bring all bass anglers together and formed the Bass Angler’s Sportsman Society, better known as B.A.S.S. Part of that plan was a magazine, Bassmaster Magazine to be more specific. This video showcases the first issue of Bassmaster Magazine, the cornerstone of what would become the first bass-centric magazine ever produced.

In this video we’ll go through the entire magazine, cover to cover. The magazine was designed to offer bass anglers unprecedented access to new fishing tips and techniques, written by anglers themselves, without the hard sell from professional writers and editors pushing product. The magazine and Society would also form a constituency of anglers concerned about industrial pollution and the quality of waters throughout the United States.

Ray Scott had a vision and it’s clearly stated in the BASS Purposes printed on the second page of this first issue. Those purposes were:

  • Organize the Bass Anglers of America
  • Stimulate public awareness of bass fishing as a major participation sport
  • Improve our skill as Bass Anglers through the exchange of expert Bass catching techniques and ideas
  • Offer our state conservation departments our organized moral and political support and encouragement
  • Demand adequate water standards and legal enforcement of existing regulatory standards
  • Encourage private and governmental study into why fishing on our lakes and streams “go bad,” and what can be done for these waters to restore and maintain top bass fishing for ourselves and children
  • Promote and encourage youth fishing
  • Present national championship BASS fishing tournaments

Scott had to have something to offer bass anglers to get them interested in joining the newly formed Society. He offered BASS Benefits, which included:

  • Yearly subscription to The BASSMASTER MAGAZINE
  • Silk embroidered official B.A.S.S. member’s patch
  • A.S.S. member identification card and B.A.S.S. yearly calendar
  • Become an “Investor” in the fulfillment of all the goals of The Bass Angler’s Sportsman Society.

In these BASS Benefits, Scott explains what his vision was for Bassmaster Magazine. Here are his words:

“If you’re tired of digging through Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and Field and Stream looking for just one good Bass feature, you can stop digging – THE BASSMASTER MAGAZINE is filled with exciting Bass fishing stories and techniques discussed by the expert BASS membership. This quarterly publication gives you the how, when, and where to consistently catch more and larger strings of Bass.

“THE BASSMASTER MAGAZINE will include BASS tournament information and current tournament tour schedules. THE BASSMASTER MAGAZINE will also feature up to date information on the better Bass lakes across the nation. For the true Bass Angler, THE BASSMASTER MAGAZINE is a maddening must.”

This first issue of Bassmaster Magazine marks the start of the bass fishing industry. Its pages hold the blueprint of how the industry started. We hope that you enjoy this look back in our history.

I would like to thank the folks at Bassmaster for giving us permission to video the first issue and share it with our viewers. Without their permission, this issue would be lost to only those who have the few remaining copies. We would also like to thank Bassmaster for granting us permission to record and share the first 5 years of the magazine. These videos will be published soon for all to see how B.A.S.S. and Bassmaster grew from a 24-page, quarterly publication into the powerhouse of the bass fishing industry.