IB Hooked - March 23, 2007
This kind of SNAFU can only happen in the Rio Grande Valley. The fine city of McAllen lured the Texas Outdoor Writers Association’s annual conference to the border. Got us a great rate at the Wyndham by the airport and through a hell of a cocktail party at the Birdin’ Center. The only problem was them troglodytes at the TABC had paid the hotel a visit a couple of weeks prior and shut down the bar. Why am I surprised? This is the buffer zone between the real world and the third world.
The one thing that nobody could screw up was the keynote speaker whom enjoys rock star status in the fishin’ world. If the great unwashed thinks I’m thumbin’ my nose at ya, I am cuz we got to spend a couple of days with Ray Scott.
This is the pied piper that founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society back in 1967 on a string, wing and a prayer. Early on he was invited to a trout fishin’ shindig in Aspen and was shocked to see how the buggy whip gang reacted to one of their own catchin’ a foot long trout. They’d stand behind the angler and critique their form durin’ the fight and if the dude actually landed the critter they’d roar with applause when it was released to fight another day.
This got the onetime insurance salesman to thinkin’ about his tournaments cuz he was getting’ uncomfortable with killin’ all them bass. Sooooo, the next year he didn’t make an edict or a mandate like a bureaucrat would he did what the private sector does best, he told the boyz that they’d get a one ounce bonus for every live fish they brought to the scales. As he tells it, them boyz got down right inventive for the next tournament. Some showed up with a washtub in the bottom of their johnboat and used a coffee can to change out the water to keep the critters lively. By 1969, his good buddy Don Butler had filed for the first patent on a livewell and as they say the rest is history. The pied piper can rightly claim that his good ol’ boyz pioneered bass conservation and now you get docked points if ya bring in a dead fish.
If the picture made the rag, that’s Ray with the now retired Chairette of TOWA Jonette Childs, publisher of Saltwater Texas. By the way, for the first time in history a professional bass fishin’ tournament will be fished on Lake Fork in East Texas April 13-15, sponsored by Toyota and probably the Share-A-Lunker program. This should be interesting, anybody want to bet on a new State record?