The Earliest B.A.S.S. Ads

BASS early membership print ad. Fishing Facts, Sept. & Oct., 1969.

BASS early membership print ad. Fishing Facts, Sept. & Oct., 1969.

This post falls in line with the recent early B.A.S.S. stories and interviews that have been posted to the site. As you know, the idea for B.A.S.S. was hatched in 1967, and the organization was officially formed and incorporated in 1968. But like every other group starting out, B.A.S.S. had to initially advertise to try and generate interest and membership, frequently in the more popular sporting magazines already out on the market. The ad pictured in this post is likely one of the earliest in print, dating back to September and October of 1969. It appeared in the pages of Fishing Facts magazine, which at the time had been around for nearly 5 years and was seeing rapid growth in the Midwest markets.

There are several things of note with this early ad for the organization.

  1. There was no logo or emblem pictured. It wouldn’t be long before the familiar B.A.S.S. patch and decal would appear on jackets and pick-up trucks across America, but the only hints of it in these early ads is the mention of you receiving one when you join. Most future ads that followed always had the emblem included.
  2. There are no periods in ‘BASS’. While the organization’s name is all capitalized, nowhere does it appear with the familiar periods inserted (B.A.S.S.). That would come later.
  3. There is no mention of Ray Scott.
  4. There is no mention of a cost to join or membership fee. Most all future ads had a mail-in entry form attached that would make you a member immediately upon receipt. These early ads only offered to send you a brochure giving you further information on how and why to join.
  5. BASSMASTER was listed as only a quarterly magazine, not monthly.
  6. Their travel information service was one of the earliest touted benefits. This would last well into the 80s before being discontinued at some later point. Members could request information on specific lakes, and they would send out a page or two of type-written info, usually containing seasonal pattern basics, local hotel info, and often times the names and contact info of a few local members.
  7. They do mention the National BASS Tournaments that had already started with the “All-Americans.”

That’s all I’ve been able to pick up on so far. Anything else that stands out to you about the early ad?