Bill Dance Outdoors

Remembering Ray Scott, a True Friend to all Anglers

By Johnny Morris

Ray helped make dreams come true for many!

It fills my heart with joy and deep gratitude to remember a very special friend in my life, Ray Scott. Ray, the founder of the Bass Angler Sportsmen's Society, B.A.S.S., and the father of modern-day bass fishing passed away peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Mother's Day evening May 8th.

Ray was a true daydreamer and a bigger than life character ! He was like the Barnum and Bailey of the fishing world - a tremendous promoter of the sport! The original pioneer of professional bass fishing tournament competitions, Ray almost single handedly re-energized the entire fishing and boating industry and introduced millions of anglers to the joys of the great sport of fishing along the way.

Ray Scott opened the doors that created many wonderful, life­changing opportunities for me and countless others and I thank God for bringing me to know him !

I was 22 years old when I first met Ray while competing in his All American National B.A.S.S. Tournament on Table Rock Lake in 1970. There can be no doubt that if I had not fished in that tournament, Bass Pro Shops would never have come to be. I don't know what I would have done in my life, but I do know it would not have been near as much fun and gratifying as having the opportunity of spending a lifetime being so closely connected to the great sport of fishing. Like many others, I am forever grateful to Ray Scott !

Competing on the B.A.S.S. pro tour for the first five years Bass Pro Shops was in business were some of the happiest times of my life ! Besides the fun, competing on Ray's Tournament Trail helped us stay very close to our customers and kept us abreast of the latest trends in fishing and advancements in gear.

A remarkable visionary, Ray was well ahead of his time in advocating for fisheries conservation and boating safety. Far beyond having a positive impact on the fishing and boating industries and conservation, Ray helped spread true joy and happiness to millions of anglers of all ages and from all walks of life around the world.

There can be no doubt; however, that what always mattered the most to Ray was his faith and his family; his bride of 36 years Susan and their sons Big Wilson, Little Wilson, Steve and their daughter Jennifer, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Through his big smile and positive attitude, Ray always provided genuine positive inspiration to all around him. He was one of the kindest grand gentlemen ever and a bigger than life character! May God continue to bless Ray Scott and the Scott family. We love you Ray, and are proud to join generations of anglers around the world who are forever grateful to our steadfast fishing friend !


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