This past weekend Bob Sealy, owner of Sealy Outdoors, brought his Big Bass Splash to Scottboro for the 14th consecutive year. Approximately 1200 anglers converged on the town to try for a piece of the 220,000-dollars in guaranteed cash and prized to be given away. The number includes not one, but TWO Triton boats powered by Mercury Outboards. It goes without saying that many people left with a little heavier wallet. $105,000 dollars of the total went to anglers in hourly payouts. No other tournament series in America pays this kind of money to amateurs. Amidst all the angler payouts they also made a $5000.00 donation to the Ronald McDonald House, a charity that Bob Sealy holds near and dear to his heart.
Day one brought pretty good weather and plenty of fish. The wind was the only thing folks had to battle. Throughout the day all the hourly exact weight bass spots were paid as well as $5000.00 an hour all day.
Day two was chilly and breezy, but the Lake Guntersville bass were ready to show out. Once again as the day progressed the anglers slowly, but surely filled their pockets with thousands of dollars. The kids were the highlight of the day. Watching some of the little anglers weigh their perch, crappie, catfish, and bass gives one hope that the future of fishing is in good hands. The kids get paid also for the top three of each species every day. This event has brought families back to fishing that may have otherwise not participated together.
As the sun came up on day three we realized it had rained that night, and it was not a warm spring rain. Lake temps had dropped a degree or more and the skies threatened more rain, but the rain held off and the wind laid down. By the time the last hour had come and gone the anglers were wore down from three full days of run and gun bass fishing. For some it paid off and for others it did not. I met an angler who won $275.00 dollars on day one, then went out and destroyed his lower unit the afternoon of day two. His only comment was “that’s why I have boat insurance and a spare boat”. Yes, they had towed a spare boat in from Tennessee just in case trouble came and it paid big dividends. Two other anglers I met had a blown powerhead but kept fishing under power of the trolling motor. When the scales closed the big winner was Jamie Moore, of Cullman AL, with a 10.81-pound bass. Some people say Chickamauga has replaced Guntersville as a prime big bass lake. I say horse puckey as last month it only took 10.86 to win at Chic. Lake Guntersville will always, barring some tragedy, be a top tier southern Bass Lake.
The one thing missing at the awards ceremony was Bob Himself. It seems he got very sick Saturday and the doctor said he had to stay in bed and rest for a day or two. We all hope Bob makes a speedy recovery. His stand in did a knock out job and the ceremony as always, was a great time for all. He had eluded to a big announcement about next years event and it being the 15th year in Scottsboro. I guess we will have to wait for that one.
The City knows the impact this event has on Scottsboro, over three million dollars gets pumped into the Scottsboro and Jackson County economy in 5-6 days. There were anglers from not only all walks of life, but many states and a few came from Canada just to fish this wonderful lake.