Fly fishing responsible for B.A.S.S. C&R


Banned or Parked
For those of you who aren't FFF members (and should be), here's a letter from Ray Scott, founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society that was sent out to members today.

June 26, 2009

As fly anglers, some of you may not know me. My name is Ray Scott, the 1967 founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) and I'm writing to encourage your support of Federation of Fly Fishers Conservation programs.

In the summer of 1971 I attended one of the early FFF Conclaves in Aspen, Colorado. The event was not only eye-opening, but directly responsible for catch and release in B.A.S.S. fishing tournaments. I describe the experience in my book, Bass Boss, and what took place to change my thoughts on releasing fish. Here is an excerpt:

"We got out to this river - a small stream really - that was so small and narrow you could cast across it," Ray recalls. "All the fishermen were dressed up in their fancy suits and were casting about twenty yards apart. Suddenly, downstream, a guy stuck a fish. All of us anglers dropped our rods and moved down stream to watch this guy fighting his fish and to comment on what he was doing."

"Somehow the guy reached behind his back for a net and brought the fish up with it. The trout was not more than eleven or twelve inches long. Lord have mercy, I thought - bass bait. The guy brought out some little tool that he had stored somewhere on his costume, wet his hands and used the tool to unhook the trout. Then he released it, very, very gently. All the other fishermen began cheering and high fiving each other. I couldn't believe it."

"The next day on the way home, I replayed this scene in my mind. I thought, if they had so much fun releasing this piddlin' little trout, what would it be like if a big, hairy-legged bass fisherman released a five-pound bass?"

The rest is history. By 1972, all my B.A.S.S. tournaments were catch and release. The FFF ultimately made this happen.

The philosophy and conservation programs of the FFF have broad impacts that extend far beyond the world of fly fishing. With your continued support of FFF conservation programs, you'll see improved resources for years to come. I encourage you to donate generously this year to FFF conservation.


Ray Scott

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