SPRINGS, Arkansas – Bob Cobb, the first editor of BASSMASTER
Magazine and producer of the award-winning The BASSMASTERS television
series, was honored May 25, 2002 along with five legendary anglers as
inductees into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in
ceremonies at the Hot Springs Convention and Civic Center.
of Montgomery, Alabama joins pro fishing greats Jimmy Houston of
, Guido Hibdon of
, and Denny Brauer of Camdenton,
, lure manufacturer Cotton Cordell of Hot Springs, and Johnny Morris,
the founder of Bass Pro Shops, as inductees into the PBF Hall of Fame.
years ago, as outdoor editor of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Tribune newspaper,
at a press conference in Springdale, Arkansas Bob Cobb scribbled notes
as Ray Scott revealed his vision to elevate bass fishing from a
weekend recreation to a professional level sport.
After the meeting, Scott and Cobb talked.
Bonded, if you will. Two
strangers but with common desires to see bass fishing’s importance
and acceptance grow in the sports world.
1967, if you couldn’t punt, dribble or hit it, sports pages didn’t
report it. Fishing was
viewed as a relaxing, cork-and-bobber pastime.
To make the newspaper headlines there had to be a game.
Tournament-style bass fishing provided the W-L (winners-losers)
standings. Facts and
figures the sports fan or sports reporters understand.
Scott’s first All-American Invitational Bass Tournament at
in June 1967 proved the point. But,
it was only the launch point. Remarkably
the wheels stayed on and cast-for-cash bass fishing has become a
the “By Bob Cobb” byline has been along for the ride.
BASSMASTER Magazine’s status as the “Bible of Bass
Fishing” is a point in pride for the former editor.
Taking over the job in 1969, Ray Scott introduced Bob Cobb as
the “first editor that can read and write.”
hand-written collection of manuscripts found in a cardboard box
submitted by members of the fledgling Bass Anglers Sportsman
Society’s 2,000-odd readers provided another launch pad.
Scrawled on sheets from a “Big Chief” tablet were how-to
techniques, the wisdom of years of on-the-water experience, willingly
being unveiled by the angler to fellow B.A.S.S. members.
As BASSMASTER Magazine’s editor Cobb eagerly discovered the
many buried gems, marveling at the innovations and winning ways of the
successful bass angler.
were not the average outdoor adventure tales printed in the “Big
3’s” slick magazines based in
New York City
. But, backwater bassers
from the bayou telling how-to catch “green trout.”
BASSMASTER became an instruction manual on how-to find and
catch more bass.
the Bassmaster Tournament Trail developed, the proof was in the creel.
Tournaments, like a huge funnel, collected the raw fishing data
and what dripped out at the final weigh-in provided pure how-to facts.
And, here the bass fishing stars – names like Bill Dance,
Roland Martin and Tom Mann – began to shine and build bass
formation of the B.A.S.S. News Service spread the story.
But, it was the idea for the BASS Masters Classic world
championship spawned on a drive between
that proved the promotional
savvy of the Scott-Cobb tandem. The
“mystery tournament” concept caught the imagination of the
outdoor, as well as, sports desk copy editors and the Associated Press
wires. Cobb’s way with
words put the phrase “Test-of-the-Best” into the fishing jargon
along with the “Gold In Them Thar Gills” characterized the
1969-1986, Cobb switched hats between BASSMASTER Magazine editor, to
director of B.A.S.S. News Service, book author in cooperation with
growing angling greats, Bill Dance, Tom Mann and Al Lindner and press
director for the BASS Masters
Classic as well as editor of the BASS Classic Report, the press
Guide for the Classic.
1984, Rick Clunn won the Classic at
in dramatic fashion, an event that was magnified with the B.A.S.S.
News Service’s first effort at uplinking satellite TV news coverage.
Clunn’s story was so compelling that the news clips were
compiled into a 30-minute TV special and the program evolved into the
popular “The BASSMASTERS” television series.
producer/director of the “The BASSMASTERS”, Cobb assembled a team
of top outdoor communicators, and the weekly half-hour program climbed
to the top of the ratings on The Nashville Network (TNN).
The average weekend audience numbered over 1.3 million homes.
BASSMASTERS” went inside the B.A.S.S. Tournament Trail and showed
weekend anglers how the pros solved the bass fishing puzzle.
With on-the-water reporters and video crews and a revealing
graphic presentation, the how-to secrets of the pros were broadcast
“The BASSMASTERS” received the highest tribute from the TV cable
industry, being nominated for the annual ACE Awards for excellence in
programming. Teaming with
TNN, “The BASSMASTERS” crew produced the first “live”
broadcast of the BASS Masters Classic in 1987 at
served in the dual roles as producer, director, writer and, at times,
on-air host of “The BASSMASTERS” through the 1999 season on The
Nashville Network, producing over 250 programs and BASS Masters
Classic specials. As
the “first” editor of BASSMASTER
Magazine, Cobb created a how-to reporting format
with in-depth Tournament Trail coverage that at its peak reached over
650,000 B.A.S.S. members and readers worldwide.
the way, Cobb served on the original advisory board for Ray Scott’s
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, a member of the founding executive
board of the Bass Research Foundation, the head of public relations
for Zebco Fishing Tackle, honored as the Conservation Communicator of
the Year by the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation and presented the Award
of Merit by the American Association for Conservation Information, and
a 1958 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in
Cobb is information director for Ray Scott Outdoors, Inc., a fishing
and marine industry marketing and consulting group based in
. Cobb and his wife,
Barbara, make their home in