FTR and BASS founder passes away

Ray Scott, the man who founded Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine and the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) and blazed a trail for the US sportfishing industry, has died in Alabama, aged 88.

Born in 1933, the one-time insurance salesman always dreamed of taking bass fishing to a wider audience so, in 1967, he came up with the idea of creating a bass tournament format that would be fair, honest and compelling, hoping it would one day become a professional, televised sport.

In later years, Ray said: “It all just came to me. I knew it would work.”

In June 1967, he ran the All-American bass fishing tournament on Beaver Lake in Arkansas — the first modern bass competition and the template for all that have followed.

Six months later, he started BASS, one of the largest fishing membership organisations in history. In 1968, he published the first issue of Bassmaster Magazine then 18 years later he launched “The Bassmasters” television program.

Around the same time, he started Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine as a division of BASS and it was this move into the wider tackle trade which brought major success.

FTR co-publisher Brian Thurston said: “He created an entire industry. Ray was probably the most influential individual sportfishing has ever seen and one of the best promoters of all time.”

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and four children.