BASS Founder Named ABA Spokesman
Ray Scott, legendary angler and founder of B.A.S.S., will serve as the official spokesperson for American Bass Anglers, ABA officials announced before cheering ABA members at the 2011 American Fishing Tour National Championship on October 29, 2011.
"Ray has been a close personal friend of American Bass Anglers for many years and this solidifies our relationship," said Morris Sheehan, President of American Bass Anglers. "Ray is here today supporting this organization because of his love for the sport and the weekend bass angler. We are proud to have him represent American Bass Anglers -- the largest tournament trail for the weekend angler."
Ray Scott founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, better known as B.A.S.S., in 1968. Under his leadership, the organization grew to more than 600,000 members. A true angling pioneer, Ray ignited a multi-billion dollar industry and a highly competitive professional sport with millions of fans.
"It's like going home," said Scott of the warm reception he enjoyed at the competition. "The enthusiasm and camaraderie reminds me so much of the early days of B.A.S.S. The grassroots anglers are the foundation of our sport. We were kind of an underground movement before 1968. I recognized what a genuine passion bass fishermen had for their sport. It wasn't just fishing -- it was bass fishing. No other species would do and the passion cut through every socio-economic, ethnic, gender and age group. It is a truly awesome bond for anglers from U.S. presidents to pipefitters. ABA fully understands and respects that spirit."
The ABA was originally founded for military bass fishermen in 1975 and was called Military Bass Anglers Association (MBAA) at that time. In the early 1990s, non-military anglers were welcomed to join and the organization grew more rapidly. In 2000, Morris Sheehan, a life member of MBAA and once angler of the year, bought the organization and renamed it ABA to emphasize that the organization was open to all fishermen. At the same time, the organization retains its strong loyalty to the military and patriotic traditions while providing a tournament trail for military anglers.
"It's a great formula," Scott said, "and I've never seen such well run tournaments. The ABA staff is outstanding."
ABA operates about 1,000 bass tournaments across the country every year with three different trails for everyone including the B.A.S.S.-sanctioned Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, which was licensed to ABA in 2007. The boater/co-angler format lets boaters compete against boaters and co-anglers compete against co-anglers. At the end of the season, the national boater champion automatically advances to the Bassmaster Classic.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for good amateur anglers to have a crack at the world championship of bass fishing," said Scott who created the Classic event in 1970. He held that first Classic at a "mystery venue," which turned out to be Las Vegas. He points out that several pro anglers got ready for the big leagues in the ABA including Davy Hite, a former Bassmaster Classic champion who fished the original MBAA in the early 1990s.
"I have always loved the ‘Cinderella' angle in tournaments," Scott admitted. "ABA makes sure that anyone with a dream can work for that top spot. And what would we do without dreams?"
Contact Ray Scott
Scott's latest project is his Trophy Bass Retreat where guests can enjoy his personal guest facilities and world-class fishing on his legendary lakes in Pintlala, Alabama. For more information contact his office at 800-518-7222 or visit his website at www.rayscottbassretreat.com
About American Bass Anglers
American Bass Anglers is the largest tournament organization for the weekend angler. American Bass Anglers operates the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series and the American Couples Series. Each tour is designed specifically for the weekend angler, offering low-cost and close-to-home events where anglers can qualify for a larger championship. For more information on American Bass Anglers, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (888) 203-6222.