“The people here tonight are the top fishermen on the trail,” Sylacauga Marine founder Bobby Ray Holmes said. “They fish two days and at the end of the day Saturday, the top 10 fishermen fish again Sunday. They eliminate down to the top 10 fishermen.”
Holmes explained the Anglers of the Year are rewarded for winning the season with expenses paid for the following season.
“The Angler of the Year gets all entry fees for next year free,” Holmes said. “They base it on points of where you finish—you get so many points for first place, second place and third place. The one who ends up with the most points gets Angler of the Year. “
Another essential portion of the Thursday night event was determining which lake will be the site for the classic tournament.
“Tonight, each team gets to put in a lake for an official classic and they’ll draw for a lake,” Holmes said. “It won’t give anybody an advantage because everybody puts in their lake, we draw one out and that’s the lake we fish at. You can’t fish at the same one as last year. It’s one of the largest and most lucrative tournaments in the state.”
Clear Creek on Logan Martin Lake was chosen to be this year’s site for the classic tournament.
While Holmes founded the company, his sons Lee and Ray and stepson Rob Peoples now own the company. The company’s owners worked hard to get B.A.S.S. involved in the classic tournament.
“This coming year B.A.S.S. had got involved in it and if you fish this tournament all the way through, you can eventually if you’re good enough—it’s kind of a long trail because you have to win this one, win the next one and go to Kentucky Lake and win it—but you can eventually get an all-expenses paid entry to the National Bass Tournament Trail, which is the biggest thing in the nation,” Holmes explained.
Bobby Ray Holmes started Sylacauga Marine in 1965. According to Holmes, it is the oldest and largest marine dealer in the state of Alabama. Lee and Ray Holmes got the tournament trail off the ground and have seen it steadily grow over the years. One factor in the tournament trails growth was the involvement of the Nitro boat company. The statewide tournament has a first place award of a $28,000 Nitro boat. Other teams received cash prizes. Even getting 10th place nets a team $300. Those who don’t finish in the top 10 have a chance of winning sundry prizes through a series of drawings Saturday night.
“This is the oldest and largest marine dealer in the state of Alabama,” Holmes said. “My two sons started the tournament trail. The Nitro boat company came into it with them. It’s a statewide tournament. The top fishermen get to fish in the classic for a $40,000 boat.”
The classic tournament will be held at Clear Creek on Logan Martin Lake Saturday and Sunday with fishing concluding at 3 p.m. each day. For more information, call Sylacauga Marine at 256-245-8970.