June 23, 2014 Share

Can you Imagine a World Without Florida Bass?

Originally Published on Dec 28, 2011 “From the Docks” NBC Sports

It’s funny how time seems to stand still until you read the news …

In the past 12 months, singer Amy Winehouse and Elizabeth Taylor died, the Packers won the Super Bowl and my daughter, at age 13, surpassed my wife in height.

Historical records will never mention the last item on the list above, however, this era will be revisited in grade schools of the future as we are in the midst of a transition of historical proportions. Doubt it? Then drop me a line after you finish updating your Facebook page and checking your emails.

I’m a history buff who collects old sporting magazines, not to stuff them in plastic bags and display, but to read and reread issues dating back 30, 40, 50 years and more. This time span covers the golden era of magazines and also a period of explosive growth in the fishing and hunting markets. It’s fascinating to relive moments that still impact our world today.

Where would fishing be today if the massive numbers of impoundments had not been built in the South and West in the ‘30s, ’40s and ‘50s? We take inland striper and the Great Lakes salmon fisheries for granted, yet they didn’t exist a couple generations ago. And Florida bass were not found in Texas, California and many other states other waters… what fisheries would have dominated the angling press the past couple decades if stockings had not taken place?

What was it like to fish without a Lowrance or Humminbird sonar unit showing us not only depth and fish, let alone digital mapping that highlight bottom contours as small as a foot? When did electric trolling motors really become “must-have” equipment?

We’ve lived through some massive changes and yet, we are in the midst of one that is much larger than any of have been through before. This change is not only affecting our sport, it is changing the way we live our lives.

I read a copy of my hometown newspaper during breakfast today on my iPad. And when I got to my office I opened copies of two online angling publications; one designed to mimic the reading experience of a paper issue, the other featuring all video content.

I still subscribe to a number of printed magazines because I enjoy the experience of print, but wonder about its future. Postage costs are skyrocketing as are expenses for ink (tied to the cost of crude oil) and paper. Traditional publishers are struggling; caught in a time of transition when many readers want printed issues while others, usually those who grew up using computers, appear more interested in the online experience. How do you serve both groups?

In time, what’s new now will become the norm and like anglers who have spent a lifetime chasing Florida bass everywhere other than Florida, we’ll look back at life in 2011 with a feeling of nostalgia because the world will have changed.—Steve



Tags Ask Steve, Bass