Bassmaster Classic began as mystery to anglers and organizers
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 6:20 AM
Watch a narrated aerial tour of Grand Lake on Google Earth. Play the Weigh-In challenge contest and win prizes. Read all our coverage and watch videos of the anglers discussing the event.Original Print Headline: Classic began as a complete mystery
Born on a car ride from Alabama to Georgia sometime in 1970, the idea for the first Bassmaster Classic came to life as an idea to boost publicity - with no money, no place to go and no name.
"The reason it was announced as a mystery tournament was we had no idea where we were going and we had no money to support it," former Tulsa Tribune outdoor writer Bob Cobb said in a recent interview from his Montgomery, Ala., home.
Cobb, who would become the first editor of Bassmaster Magazine, traveled the highway with BASS founder Ray Scott.
Scott said the conversation centered on trying to interest outdoors writers in bass fishing as a competitive sport. "We were talking about this and that and it came around to getting serious coverage because that was a way to get more membership," Scott said. "Bob said we ought to invite all the sports writers to a special tournament."
BASS was holding six tournaments per year. They decided they could develop a points system and the top anglers would qualify for the big annual tournament. "We announced it as a mystery location tournament. We had a year to figure all that out," Scott said.
On the way to Georgia, Cobb recalled, The Masters golf tournament was under way and that inspired the idea for the name.
The first Classic destination was Las Vegas and Nevada's Lake Mead, a destination not revealed until writers and anglers were on the airplane. "Imagine going to the managing editor with that one." Cobb said. "I need to go cover this tournament. 'Where is it?' I don't know."
The organizers paired a writer with each of the top 24 anglers for the 1971 Classic, and it has been drawing publicity and writers ever since.