I Travel a lot for my day job, often times more than three weeks a month. The past four months have been especially difficult in that I’ve been on the road for more than 90-percent of that time. You know you travel a lot when you know, by name, flight attendants and hotel concierges – and I seem to know my share of them.
I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First I want to apologize to the readers and supporters of the site for not delivering better pieces – ones that I’ve either promised or need to do. Hopefully my day job will calm down some in the near future and I’ll be able to get back to the historical pieces I’ve had on the back burner for some time now.
The second reason I bring this up is due to a trip I took this past week to Arizona. The purpose of the trip was to see my in-laws off before they head home and be able to spend some time with my wife (who I haven’t seen much of this year) along with her sister. But at the same time, I have a dear friend who lives in the area and I had to make time to see him and his wife of 72 years. That friend is Bass Fishing Archives contributor, Stan Fagerstrom.
Stan was one of the first writers I remember from my childhood. He wrote for Western Bass, Bassmaster and a litany of other bass fishing magazines and publishers during my formative years. He taught me about pork rind, spinnerbaits and how to clip the bail off a Zebco Cardinal 3 and use my forefinger in order to help eliminate loops. I’m sure many of you have the same types of stories about Stan.
So, this past weekend I made the trip out to his house to sit down and shoot the bull with him. Not long after I arrived, Stan invited me to his office to look through some pictures – old black and white pictures many of which he and his wife Anita had taken over the 68 years they’ve been providing photo support to the sport. Imagine the number of boxes he might have and then multiply that by ten – it might give you a good idea of the number of pictures they’ve taken over the years.
Stan and I spent about 6 hours looking through pictures, many of which he gave me to share with you on this site. A large number of these pictures have never been seen before, while many have been published in the top magazines and books published in the early days of the sport. I’ll be sharing them with you from time to time as needed.
But the thing that really made my heart skip a few beats was when he asked if I had any need for old patches. My answer was a sheepish “yes.” If you’ve followed the site at all, you know I have a passion for anything that has to do with bass fishing memorabilia – and patches are a huge part of that. Well, Stan took me out into his garage, pointer to a large Rubbermaid container and said, “Grab that box and take it with you.” Mind you, this wasn’t a container you’d pile leftovers in for lunch the next day – it was a full-blown packing container meant to hold a good amount of stuff. In this case, 50-plus years’ worth of patches.
When I got back to the place I was staying, I had to check out the contents. Original Bomber patches, Norman patches, Ranger Boats patches – you name it, if they had a patch for it, it was in the box. But what really piqued my interest was the 1971 Bassmaster Classic patch I saw buried under a couple of Voyager Battery patches and an old Motor Guide patch. That led me to dump the entire container and dig deeper.
After a thorough inventory, I discovered Classic patches from every Classic from 1971 through 1994 minus 1972, 1984 and 1993 – the only three years Stan missed the Classic. I was amazed but more so, humbled that he’d even consider giving me such a treasure.
I am pretty sure many of you haven’t seen these patches so it’s our job to make sure you get a look at the history of the Bassmaster Classic through the patches. It also needs to be pointed out that B.A.S.S. starting in 1976, had special “Press Angler” patches made for the press anglers along with Classic patches made for the Classic attendees starting in 1986. These differed from the actual Classic angler patches – of which only the anglers received.
What we have here is a collection of Classic patches and Classic Press Writer patches that Stan had accumulated over the 30-plus years he covered the event. It’s an amazing look back in time and we hope you enjoy it. Most of all I want to thank Stan for his nearly 70 years of documenting the sport and for trusting me with not only the patches but the numerous pictures he gave me.