TUSCALOOSA Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama is known for some of the best bass fishing in the world. Our state is blessed with an abundance of rivers, reservoirs and waterways teeming with numerous black bass species, which means bass fishing tournaments abound throughout the state. Except for one location, Tuscaloosa.
Stan Adams, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports’ Executive Director of Sports, and Adam Hollingsworth, president of the University of Alabama (UA) Bass Fishing Team, want to do something about that, and it all starts with awareness.
Adams contacted Dr. Hobson Bryan at UA and Bob Hale at L&L Marine in Northport, and they told him Tuscaloosa County was missing out on millions in the economic impact that bass tournaments can produce, “We’re missing out on between $1.3 million and $3.5 million by not being able to have fishing tournaments.,” Adams said. “We knew this was huge.”
Adams said he is talking to the City of Northport about building a boat ramp capable of handling larger tournaments. “They have an area at Bankhead Dam where we want them to build a boat ramp that is six or eight lanes wide to accommodate a lot of boats and add parking,” he said. “I know the state of Alabama is all about fishing, and this is one of the untapped areas.
“Right now, everything is about Alabama football, and we appreciate that. But that’s just seven weekends a year. Fishing is our next focus.”
Hollingsworth said Adams reached out for some advice on how to boost the Tuscaloosa area’s reputation for bass fishing. Holt Reservoir is a 3,296-acre impoundment in the picturesque Appalachian Highlands. Upriver, Bankhead Lake is 9,200 acres and flows through Walker, Jefferson, and Tuscaloosa counties.
“I told them I would absolutely help because I’ve fished these rivers and lakes all my life,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s a very versatile place.”
While Hollingsworth is more than willing to help with the marketing, his role is actually fishing as a member of the UA team. Hollingsworth is considerably older than his UA fishing teammates. The 34-year-old former policeman, Army veteran and current member of the Army National Guard decided to go to UA to get his degree in criminal justice to further his career in law enforcement.
“It’s a game, and I like that challenge,” he said. “It’s a competitive thing between me and the fish. I’ll lock onto a fish for an hour, especially if I see it getting madder and madder. When they flare their gills or turn sideways, you know it’s on.”
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