Expressions from the Past – Bob Cobb

Bassmaster’s first Editor, Bob Cobb. Photo courtesy of BassMaster magazine.

I was reading in the 1972 July-August issue of Bassmaster magazine over the weekend and something caught my eye. Bassmaster used to print a section titled, “Along the Tournament Trail,” which was essentially the latest tournament reports, penned by Bassmaster legend Bob Cobb.

Cobb, who is arguably one of the best fishing videographers of the time, and mastermind with the Bassmaster TV series, was also one of the forefathers of bass print. His words graced the pages of Bassmaster magazine with countless articles on the hows, wheres and whatfors of bass fishing in its early days. But, he also had a knack with words – funny strings of words at that. Take these few dingers for example (written as printed):

“The good looker in the hip-hugger britches, Hollywood shades and take-a-look top let out a WHOOP, ‘Boy, I’ve been around and seen a bunch of things, but these bass fishermen are the craziest.’”

Cobb talking about Ray Scott working to develop a new strain of hybrid bass; “A super bass capable of snapping 20-pound lines with a single swirl, able to leap high log jams with a single flop, faster than a speeding trolling motor, and quicker than a used car salesman.”

Cobb in the 1972 Nov-Dec issue talking about Roland Martin’s AOY feat; “Mark 1972 as Roland Martin’s year on bass fishing’s professional Tournament Trail. He has been busier than a one-eyed man at a topless fish fry.”

That’s just good stuff in my opinion and provided a hefty LOL for me. Would that stuff ever get past the editing desk in today’s bass world? I think not. It’s akin to commercial TV’s “All in the Family” or “Sanford and Son” – it was okay back then but not appropriate today. Unfortunately, those TV shows offered a lot to think about way back when. What we have today is too canned and contrived. How I long to have been a writer in the early days of bass fishing.

  • Jojo Norwood.

    Met Mr. Cobb in Nov. ’96 the first time BASS came to Russell. Nice guy he got me on TV even. LOL

  • When I was doing a lot of writing for Bob, he shared his “Rules of the Can” with me. Writing rules based on the premise that BASSMaster was read primarily in the can. I only recall a few of them. Most importantly, #1. A man’s legs start to fall asleep on the toilet before he can finish an article longer than 1300 words, so keep it short. Don’t remember what number it was, but one was, “Bubba don’t keep a dictionary in the can, so don’t give him any words he’ll have to look up.” And then there was, “There’s no place for a semicolon in the can. If a comma won’t do it, use a period and start a new sentence.

  • That’s good stuff Rich. I remember when I started writing you gave me that same tip. 🙂 I eventually passed it on to another budding writer and both of us try to live by the “Rules of the Can” today.

    You gotta love the way Cobb put things into perspective. Reading through all these old magazines has really given me a respect for him I didn’t have before (and I’ve always respected him). The words that came through his fingertips and into the pages of Bass Master were awesome.

    “There’s no place for a semicolon in the can.” That will forever make me laugh.

    Thanks for the comments Rich!