A Look Way Back – Possibly The First Known Bass Tournament

Winners from the 1st-Annual Texas State Bass Tournament. Photo Waco Tribune Herald 1955.

Winners from the 1st-Annual Texas State Bass Tournament. Photo Waco Tribune Herald 1955.

Some say that competitive bass fishing originated in the states Alabama-Tennessee. That’s a difficult subject to argue when you consider the Bass Angler’s Sportsman Society has its roots deeply implanted in both Alabama and Tennessee. Some might also argue that Oklahoma should be included due to the help of Don Butler and the Tulsa Bassmasters. But the state of Texas also deserves some of the kudos.

Over the years, Texas has been a breeding ground for high-level bass anglers and famous bass waters. Reservoirs like Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn were ‘must-go’ destinations in the late 60s and early 70s. They were so important in those early years of tournament fishing that Ray Scott  started making at least one of them a yearly stop on the fledgling B.A.S.S. tournament trail in 1968.

What many people who follow competitive bass fishing don’t realize, though, is the state of Texas possibly lays claim to being the first state to hold a sanctioned bass tournament – a lot of fishing derbies back then were multi-species – and without a doubt, they were the first state to hold a state bass fishing championship.

I’ve hung out with a few bass-fishing Texans over my life and it’s very apparent that they hold a lot of pride in their state and its rich bass fishing history. Recently I had a short email conversation with longtime friend Sam Scroggins about Texas’ history with the sport. Because of that conversation Sam sent me this picture from the first Texas State Bass Tournament held in 1955 on Lake Whitney.

This weekend marks the 58th annual event and will be held out of Fin and Feather Resort on world-famous Toledo Bend Reservoir.

In the near future Sam and I will be getting together to discuss the history of the event and some of the names that have been associated with it over the years. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the paper clipping of the first year’s winners.

  • Tess Wyatt could clue you in on Texas history of events. Texas Fishing Hall of Fame Member.

    • Thanks Rick. I’ve been talking a bit to Sam Scroggins but we have yet to get a time when both of us can sit down on the phone and talk more in depth. If you have Tess’ number or email could you send it to me?