Spring is in the air and area anglers are itching to wet a line as members of the "Bobby Board" make plans for the 11th Annual Bobby Holloway Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament. This catch-and-release event is slated to take place on Saturday, March 28, at the Lee County Fishermen's Co-op on Maria Drive in St. James City.
The day will include cash prizes for the top finishing anglers as well as a barbecue and fish fry, awards ceremony, raffles and auction. Open to anglers of all ages, the tournament offers prizes in both adult and youth divisions.
The fee to participate is $200 - a reduced price from last year's $250 - per four anglers. Each additional team angler is an additional $50 in the adult division.
The first place adult team will receive a cash award of $1,000 sponsored by Williamson Bros. Docks and Lifts. Second place finishers will receive $600 sponsored by Goldberg Racila, D'Alessandro and Noone LLC Attorneys at Law. Third place will take home $400 sponsored by Stearns Custom Builders Inc., and the fourth place prize of $200 is sponsored by Dynamic South Incorporated. An additional fifth place will be awarded with a free entry for next year's tournament.
In addition to the possibility of netting a cash prize, the entry fee also includes a captains' dinner, ramping, parking, barbecue and fish fry, and a captain's bag. Additional dinner tickets will be sold for $8 per person.
The day will start with a mandatory check-in with the tournament director no later than 8:30 a.m. following a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. half a mile southwest of Demere Key. Officials will begin weighing fish at 11 a.m. at the co-op and the last of the day's catch must be brought to the weigh master no later than 3:30 p.m. All Florida fishing regulations apply.
What: Bobby Holloway Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament
When: Saturday, March 28
Where: Lee County Fishermen's Co-op, St. James City
Who: Bobby Board
Why: To benefit island youth
Each team may measure only one of each of the species - snook, redfish and a trout. An additional prize will be awarded to the team who brings a redfish with the most spots to the scales and this is the only additional fish that will be allowed.
A youth entry can not be used for the team total measurement and the total combined inches of all three species is used to determine the winners. Only live fish will be eligible, and in the case of a tie, the first team to check in will be declared the winner.
Funds from this and other fund-raisers sponsored by the Bobby Board have totaled more than $104,000 which has been distributed since the Bobby Holloway Jr. Memorial Fund was established in 2001. Among the benefactors are more than $6,000 in scholarships for continuing education, Pine Island Elementary School, Pine Island Little League, Matlacha Summer Camp, Pine Island Fire Explorers, Youth Swim Lessons at the Pine Island Pool, Pine Island Christmas Basket Brigade, Pine Island Elementary Fishing Tournament, People to People sponsorship, the Pine Island Library and Pine Island Children's Activities.
"This year, families seem to be struggling more than ever. We have had scholarship applications submitted by students we sponsored during their first year of college who are now in financial need, as in many cases a parent has lost a job and can no longer help with tuition," said Bobby Board member Elsie Stearns. "We also sponsored 25 kids to play baseball this year with the Pine Island Little League for the same reason."
The Bobby Holloway Memorial Corp., a not-for-profit organization, was founded in the memory of Bobby Holloway Jr., at Pine Island youngster who lost his life in a hunting accident in 1997 at the ages of 11. According to board members, he loved sports and the outdoors, especially boating and fishing.
Members of the Bobby Board include Bobby's mother, Ernestine Holloway Squires, Elsie Stearns, Ralph Herring, Chris Dohme, Joe Marzella and Dave Bradley. For more information or to register a team, call Holloway Squires at 281-8225, Ralph Herring at 283-2918 or Chris Dohme at 344-6159 or visit hollowaytourney.org