Lost to History: H.W. Ross

Forest and Stream supposedly had evidence of Ross' giant bass, but when the magazine merged with Field & Stream in 1930 and began publishing a list of world records, Ross was forgotten or ignored.

Forest and Stream supposedly had evidence of Ross’ giant bass, but when the magazine merged with Field & Stream in 1930 and began publishing a list of world records, Ross was forgotten or ignored.

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a great piece for you by Ken Duke on a fish that time and a number of people have forgotten. It was a fish mentioned only briefly one time in James A. Henshall’s book More About the Black Bass, published in 1889. The fish of interest was supposedly caught by an H. W. Ross and weighed in at 23-1/8 pounds a weight that would still be the record. Ken Duke, in his usual fashion, disects what we know of this fish and the man, and brings up more questions than answers. We think you’ll enjoy this very early history of record-class bass.]

“Mr. H.W. Ross, when in Florida, caught, in a ‘clear, deep, lily-bound lake,’ near Altoona, in that state, a large-mouthed Black Bass which, he states, weighed twenty-three and one-eighth pounds, and measured, from tip of nose to tip of tail, thirty-seven and one-half inches, and in girth, twenty-nine and one-half inches. The head of this fish was sent to the office of ‘Forest and Stream,’ in New York, and its dimensions were given by the editor as follows: ‘Its maxillary bone measures four and three-fourths inches; the head is seven and one-half inches from the tip of the upper jaw to the end of the opercle, and the lower jaw projects one inch. The greatest girth of the head is sixteen and one-half inches.”

That passage is from James A. Henshall’s More About the Black Bass, his 1889 sequel to Book of the Black Bass (1881). It is the only reference I’ve seen to H.W. Ross or that fish. [Read more…]

Field and Stream Goes Bass-Specific

Field and Stream's Bass Fishing specific publication from 1982.

Field and Stream’s Bass Fishing specific publication from 1982.

Field & Stream magazine, founded in 1895, has always aimed to be something of an outdoor generalist publication, with stories about bass fishing sprinkled intermittently throughout a buffet of features and tips dealing with other topics including hunting, conservation, survivalism and other gun-related issues.

The magazine has undergone several ownership and formatting changes over its 120 years of history, with the most recent sale occurring in 2007, when it was one of 18 magazines sold to the Bonnier Group, a Swedish entity. [Read more…]

Thank You Bass Professor

This is the cover shot of the first article ever written about Doug Hannon in Bassmaster Magazine. January 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

This is the cover shot of the first article ever written about Doug Hannon in Bassmaster Magazine. January 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Since we started the Bass Fishing Archives in March of 2012, a number of legends have passed. It’s one of those things we expect as people get older but it’s also something that still surprises us when it happens. Last year when Uncle Homer went to that big lake in the sky, we all were surprised but not shocked as he was pushing the century mark. This week, though, I would venture to say we all were startled when we started hearing rumblings of Doug “The Bass Professor” Hannon passing away.

I personally refrained from the internet jabber about the event. First off, Hannon was too young and secondly, you can never believe what’s said on the internet unless it comes from a solid source. I sent out emails to some friends in the industry who would know of the unfortunate event – yet I didn’t get any replies. This can both be good and bad. [Read more…]

BBM – Before Bassmaster Magazine

Cover Sports Afield Magazine May 1956.

Imagine life without bass-centric magazines, bass-centric websites or even your ability to peruse Facebook and YouTube for bass fishing information. Imagine the only place to glean information for bass fishing was your local liars club – i.e. the local Ma-and-Pa Tackle Shop – or a monthly periodical, such as Sports Afield, which may only have one piece related to bass fishing in an issue. Seems foreign, huh?

Well, that’s the way life was during the pre-Ray Scott age. There was no Bassmaster Magazine, no bass fishing websites and no YouTube to teach you the latest and greatest techniques on how to catch your favorite gamefish. All there was were three magazines – Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and Field and Stream – and they were dedicated to the outdoorsman in general. [Read more…]

The Writers: Stan Fagerstrom – Part Two

Stan Fagerstrom in an Outdoor Life ad circa 1960s. Photo courtesy of Stan Fagerstrom.

In Part One of The Writers – Stan Fagerstrom, Stan talked about his childhood, his enlistment in the Army in 1942 and his first job with the Longview Daily News. In Part Two Stan talks about the first Bassmaster Classic and his relationships with Jason Lucas, Homer Circle and Ray Scott. To read Part One click here.

Major Impacts in the 60s

“I still couldn’t get bass out of my head and I was doing a whole lot of actual fishing whenever I could get away from the newspaper,” he said. “I kept a pair of coveralls and a pair of boots in the trunk of the first used car I was able to buy and in the evening and now and then when I had extra time at noon I’d run down to fish one of the Columbia River sloughs that was about seven miles away. [Read more…]

The Writers: Stan Fagerstrom – Part One

Stan Fagerstrom on the cover of US Bass Magazine, circa 1988.

Editor’s Note: This series is dedicated to those people who penned the many articles we read in order to learn more about our sport and become better anglers. Sure it may have been the anglers who developed the techniques, lures and equipment we use today but it was the writers’ job to make sure these bits of information got to the masses. Without the writers to communicate this, the world of bass fishing would be very different today.

Over the course of time there have been many writers who have taught us through their words. Some of them have taught us the ways and methods of other anglers, while others have taught us from their own experiences. This installment of The Writers focuses on a person who taught us from his own experience – a lifelong love of bass fishing and casting. That person is Stan Fagerstrom.

Because Stan Fagerstrom has been associated with bass fishing for over 60 years, his experiences couldn’t be told in a single piece. Therefore, we’ve split up his story into a series that covers important parts of his life. We hope you enjoy reading about one of bass fishing’s most accomplished ambassadors. [Read more…]