Champion BASS magazine is another one of the short-lived bass magazines that many of us hoped would serve as a long-term supplement to the efforts of stalwarts like Bassmaster and In-Fisherman.
Within this issue’s advertisements, founder Ray Crosby made it apparent that he intended this one for mature audiences only: “Due to the advanced information contained in Champion BASS, it is NOT recommended for beginning or amateur bass fishermen,” he wrote. He further stated that he would not cover tournament results or politics, just hard core tournament tactics. Toward that end, he assembled a team including Jay Yelas, Kevin VanDam, Gary Klein, Ken Cook, Shaw Grigsy, Guido Hibdon and David Fritts to serve as regular columnists on the topics of their expertise. Berkley’s Dr. Keith Jones also penned an article under the heading “Bass Biology.”
Despite a few typos, this premier issue (January/February 1997) was a good start toward achieving Crosby’s goals. The one year subscription price of seven issues for $19.95 seemed like a reasonable offer. Unfortunately, I have no idea if subsequent issues were printed or distributed, nor whether the money back guarantee listed on the subscription card was honored.
As Terry has previously documented, Crosby, from Provo, Utah, had founded Bass West magazine in 1995. That title, under multiple subsequent ownerships, continued to publish sporadically until recently. Crosby fished some western events, including the US Open and the 1997 Bassmaster Arizona Invitational, and organized a 1997 multi-day tournament on Mead called the “Bass Bonanza.”
If you know whether additional issues were published, we’d love to hear from you or see copies if possible.
We’d also love to interview Crosby about his efforts. A cursory internet search for him turned up this 2005 story, about a Provo businessman of the same name, owner of a company called Champion Safe, who pled guilty to harboring illegal aliens after a 2003 Immigration and Naturalization Service raid of his business. We have not been able to confirm that it was the same Ray Crosby.