TV icon and professional fisherman Ray Scott has reportedly passed away. The founder of the Bassmaster TV franchise was 88 years old. His death was reported by Deadline but the circumstances and cause of death are unclear.
Scott is known for turning a passion into a wildly successful career when he sought to get fishing covered alongside other sports on broadcast TV. He is survived by his wife Hope Susan Scott, four children – Ray Wilson Scott III, Steven Leo Scott, Jennifer Eunice Epperson, Wilson Freeman Scott – 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Scott was married once before to Eunice Hiott Scott who passed away before him, as did his brothers Daniel and Edward Scott. The family has not announced any plans for a public memorial.
Scott's story is a famously straightforward one in the entertainment industry. He worked as an insurance salesman for over a decade before finding his way into the media industry. According to the bio on his website, it began when a weekend-long fishing trip he had planned was canceled by heavy rain. Forced to stay home, Scott wondered why basketball was the only sport available for him to watch on TV.
"Why doesn't someone cover fishing on TV? There's more folks fishing than playing basketball," he reportedly thought to himself. Scott took that idea and ran with it, beginning with a national professional bass-fishing tournament that still persists to this day. He founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society – B.A.S.S.
Scott used his experience in promotions and advertising to take his organization nationwide in no time. B.A.S.S. launched Bassmaster Magazine which soon had 650,000 subscribers. From there, Scott himself was invited onto national TV where his efforts caught even more attention and found their way to a great audience.
Scott started B.A.S.S. in 1967 and finally made it to TV in 1984. He and the editor-in-chief of his magazine at the time, Bob Cobb, created The Bassmasters for The Nashville Network. The show is still broadcast on Fox Sports to this day.
Meanwhile, the Bassmaster Classic tournament itself has been joined by The Bassmaster Elite Series and the Classic Outdoor Expo, among others. Fox has also expanded the TV franchise and plans to create more related content in the years to come. On top of that, B.A.S.S. has been lauded for its work in the field of nature conservation over the years.
Scott sold B.A.S.S. to an investment group in 1986 but continued to make appearances at events for several years after that. He also fished with former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, along with other prominent public figures. Fans everywhere are mourning Scott's passing and celebrating his achievements.