A Blast from the Past:
Introducing the Bass Fishing Archives
Introduction: Just like in professional bass angling there are
different tiers of outdoor writers and they just don't come any more well
respected than Terry Battisti and Pete Robbins, who have written for nearly
every bass publication out there, including TackleTour. We are pleased to call
both of them friends and they truly are ambassadors of the sport. It is their
passion for all things bass fishing that led them to create a new blog aptly
titled the "Bass Fishing Archives." We sit down with Terry to find out more
about this exciting new endeavor.
Circa 2009 - We met Terry and Skeet on the
water for "Media Day" at Lake Pardee
Zander: Congratulations on the launch of the new site Terry. A blog dedicated to
bass fishing history sounds like an interesting concept, can you tell us more
about how you came up with the idea?
Terry: It's actually been something I've wanted to do for years. I can't
take all the credit, though. My good friend and colleague, Pete Robbins, planted
the idea in my head a number of years ago. Pete and I are both what I'd guess
you'd call historians of the sport. He knows a lot about the eastern stuff and I
know a lot about the western stuff. He loves the western history and for years
has told me I need to write a book on it. That seemed like a lot of work so I
shelved the idea.
back in November I found an old copy of the California Lunker Club Magazine
(June 1974) in my basement. I read it cover to cover and sent an electronic copy
to Pete. He told me I needed to write a book - again. Over the next few weeks I
thought the idea might work in a blog format. Then the WONBass guys, namely Rich
Holland, came out with the Silver Eagles book, a 60-page magazine on western
bass history. That was an awesome read and the contributors like George Kramer,
Bill Rice, Bill Mays and others did a great job with it. The problem with it was
a lot of the history was left out as one can imagine. You can't put 40 years of
history in 60 pages.
the more I talked about it with Pete, the idea of a blog came up and that seemed
doable. I know it’s going to be a tough task, heck we’re talking over 40 years
of history from west to east, but Pete has committed some to the project and
hopefully we can keep it fresh and interesting.
A snapshot of Terry's new site, the Bass
Fishing Archives which is dedicated to Bass fishing History
Zander: Why do you think it’s important to explore this particular aspect of
Terry: That’s a good question Zander. I have three answers for you. First
off, studying the history of our sport gives us a good idea where we all came
from. How did we evolve from using 5 1/2-foot rods to using 7-foot rods for
example? Or what was the first Bass Master Classic like in 1971? Or what are the
differences in lures and their presentations between the early days of organized
bass fishing compared to today?
There’s so much to learn by going back. Look at boats, for example. Back in 1976
when we bought our first bass boat the rage was a 17-foot rig with a 115-horse
motor on it.
Secondly you know the cliché, “History repeats itself,” right? Well, in bass
fishing that holds true too. But if we take that cliché and turn it around a
little bit, we come up with, “If you don’t know the history, how do you know
what to repeat?” So much of bass fishing has been lost over time due to poor
documentation. I’m not just talking about tournament reports and such.
are a good example. I was just recently reading an old Bass Master Magazine and
saw an ad for a bait that is nearly an exact copy of a new bait that has had a
lot of publicity in the last 5 years as being a new genre of lures. In this
case, it was history repeating itself because no one remembered this old bait.
look back on history we can also see old things that worked in the late 60s and
70s that aren’t around today and use them to our benefit. That’s where the “You
don’t know what to repeat,” part comes into play.
Lastly, I think we all owe a lot to the forefathers of our sport. If we don’t
know the history we don’t know who to thank for developing our sport. Everyone
knows who Ray Scott, Roland Martin, Bill Dance and Tom Mann are. But who knows
who Dave Coolidge is? How about Shorty Evans, Bobby Sandberg or John Powell? If
you lived and fished during those old days, you know who they are. But the
anglers that started in the 90s have no clue what these people did for the
sport. Everyone needs to know who they are and give them the credit they so
The blog takes a look back into the early
days of tournament bass fishing
Zander: Tell us more about the section called "Pete's Box Score"
Terry: Pete’s Box Score. That’s kind of funny in a way to me. You know the
movie that had Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in it, don’t you? Rainman? Well,
Pete has one of the most amazing brains when it comes to bass fishing trivia. I
guarantee you he could list off the top 25 anglers from a B.A.S.S. event that
happened in 1973. Because of this, I call him Rainman.
Anyway, Pete’s Box Score is a little game where Pete gives a situation that
happened in bass fishing history and asks the reader to figure out what was
significant about it. It’ll test the best of the audience and we hope it gets a
lot of traffic.
"Retro Ads" is a fun section that takes a
look back at the hot tackle of the time, boy things sure have changed
Zander: Can you share any insight into what readers can expect to see as the
site progresses over the next few months?
Terry: Well, as you can see from the site, we have 6 columns; Features,
Eastern, Western, Pete’s Box Score, Retro Ads and Short Strikes.
Features will be longer pieces that are significant to all bass anglers and bass
fishing in general. For example, the first feature has to do with Dee Thomas and
the advent of Flippin’. Dee and Flippin’ isn’t just a west coast thing –it had
an impact, arguably the biggest impact, on bass fishing forever.
Eastern and Western columns will have pieces in them that give the history about
what happened in the east and west. We’ll cover old tournaments, anglers and
anything else that played a role in the development of bass fishing.
Ads – This is a fun column for Pete and I and I hope it is for the readers too.
These are ads from way back that either have a significance with bass fishing or
are just plain funny. This is probably my favorite part of the site and
obviously the most enjoyable for us to write.
Strikes is a column that will cover short articles on anything to do with the
history. Some pieces are interesting but they don’t warrant 1200 words. Still
they’re important. The subject matter here will cover the gamut.
for the way the site will run, we won’t be doing anything in chronological
order. It’s just going to be put out there randomly. I think that makes it more
interesting. The other thing I’m going to do is give credit to the many bass
fishing writers who have dedicated their lives to the sport. So many people
don’t realize that it’s primarily the writers that have to communicate to the
reader what a pro is or has done.
Another thing I want to let people know is we are going to cover the entire
country – maybe even continent or world – with respect to the history. This
isn’t a tournament report site. It’s about all that is bass fishing – boats,
motors, tackle, old ads, old anglers, gear, equipment, tackle, you name it.
also want to let the readers know we are interested in feedback and ideas. We
don’t know who the hot stick in Alabama or Indiana was during the early 70s or
80s for example. If one of our readers does, though, I’d hope they’d drop us a
line and let us know. This isn’t just a site for me to play around with. This is
a site for all who are interested and I hope the readers take part in good
discussions at the end of each entry. Like most blogs, people can post their
thoughts and ideas – as long as they keep them clean and respectful.
Zander: Thanks for spending the time with us to tell us more about the new blog
Terry. We wish you the very best in this new endeavor and will
definitely be checking in
to brush up on some history.
To visit the
Archives just click here.