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A Blast from the Past: Introducing the Bass Fishing Archives


Date: 3/5/12
Interview: Terry Battisti
Subject: Bass Fishing Archives Blog
Reviewer: Zander

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. 

Then 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. 

So, 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 bass fishing? 

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. 

Lures 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. 

If we 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 deserve.

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. 

The 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. 

Retro 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. 

Short 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. 

As 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. 

I 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 Bass Fishing Archives just click here.









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