Professional bass anglers will never be considered trendsetting fashion plates, walking the runways of Milan or Paris – thank goodness. That said, there have been definite fashion trends in the world of pro bass angling through the ages. Today, we’ll take a quick look at those styles through the decades. Let’s begin in the 70s.
And what bass clubber or professional angler wouldn’t just be the envy of his peers sporting the one piece jumpsuit? Billed as “one of the best and most practical fishing suits we’ve ever come across” in the ad, for a mere $21.75 on your BankAmericard or master charge card, you too could be looking all the rage. Add in a Beetle-esque mop top haircut, a few sew on patches, and wah-lah, instant professional credentials.
But jumpsuits eventually faded out of favor, replaced by a more business-like attire. Beginning in the mid-80s and running all the way through the 90s, professional anglers started wearing the button down, pressed, long sleeve shirt, fully adorned with sponsor patches, as demonstrated here by none other than Woo Daves. By adopting this more professional look, pros started separating themselves from your average angler in a more fashionable way. Some had embroidered sponsor messages on their collars and sleeves. Others wore chests full of patches, some carrying over onto and down the length of their long sleeves. This was one of the longest running and most popular looks for the majority of professional anglers, but as always, fashion is ever changing, and bass anglers are no exception.
The early 2000s brought us the sponsor vest, here worn by none other than Larry Nixon. While collared shirts were still being worn, they were now sporting vests over them as an additional fashion statement. No longer was just a shirt enough. Patches were still being sewn or ironed on, and the vest and the shirt were frequently color coordinated. Most anglers could still keep their old collared shirts and simply ad a vest to the package and be just fine. However, this would turn out to be a pretty short lived trend.
Technology was soon to overtake the vest and lead us to our current trend, the sublimated jersey. Say good-bye to all those ironed on patches and embroidered names – a headache no more. Now you could put fancy graphics and color shading over an entire jersey, such as that shown by KVD, precisely positioning logos and names about anywhere you desired. An added benefit quickly became the coordinating of jerseys with boat wraps, adding a whole new dimension to the look of the professional angler. This newest trend seems to be with us for the foreseeable future, but suffice it to say, sooner or later, someone will start the next professional angler fashion trend. What will it be, we can only guess. Holographic imaging? Built-in LED billboards or messaging? Glow-in-the-dark or UV enhanced optics? I can’t wait to find out.