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Sportsman Outdoors

B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott passes!

Jack Danchak
Posted 6/10/22

Ray Scott the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) passed away at age 88.

Scott founded the first national professional bass fishing circuit, the Bassmaster Tournament Trail in …

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Sportsman Outdoors

B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott passes!

Posted

Ray Scott the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) passed away at age 88.

Scott founded the first national professional bass fishing circuit, the Bassmaster Tournament Trail in 1967 and the following year founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, which would grow to become the largest fishing organization in the world.

B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson said, “Our entire organization was saddened to hear about Ray Scott, his passion and vision for bass fishing birthed our entire industry more than 50 years ago when he founded B.A.S.S. and started the first professional fishing tournament series. His legacy is felt to this day. Our hearts and prayers are with the Scott family.”

The bass tournament competition Scott created rewarded anglers who caught the heaviest limits of bass during the three or four-day tournament, which served as the proving grounds for rapid advancements in bass boats, outboard motor engines, fishing tackle, lures and electronics. Fishermen began purchasing whatever the bass pros were using to catch bass. This created a massive bass fishing industry that today has an economic impact in excess of $125 billion per year and employees more than 800,000 people nationwide.

Before Ray Scott began pursuing his dream of organizing America’s bass anglers, bass fishing was considered a southern pastime that was largely overlooked by the trout-focused national outdoor media. To serve B.A.S.S. members and to publicize the bass tournament trail, Scott launched Bassmaster Magazine, which would be delivered to 650,000 B.A.S.S. members monthly.

Not only did Scott help grow the sport of bass fishing, he also did more than any other individual to preserve it. In 1972 he started the “Don’t Kill Your Catch” campaign and mandated that all boats used in his bass tournaments must have an aerated live well to keep bass caught alive.

As a result the catch-and-release ethic caught on so well that more than 90 percent of all bass anglers today release all or most of the bass they catch.

In recognition of Scott’s accomplishments, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council, and in 2002 he was inducted into the National Boating Safety Hall of Fame.

The elder President Bush picked Scott as his Alabama state chairman during his 1979-80 presidential campaign, and the two remained good friends and fishing companions throughout Bush’s terms as vice-president and president of the United States.

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