Fishing event brings tourist dollars to city

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

On your mark, get set &045;


That’s what about 70 fishers, both professional and amateur, plan to do this Saturday at the city marina. According to Lauri Cothran, executive vice-president of the Selma-Dallas County Centre for Commerce Tourism Division, a qualifying fishing tournament will start at first light on the Alabama River this Saturday.

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Professional participants who advance to the final tournament have a chance to win $8,000. Amateurs have a chance to get $4,000.

The tournament is sponsored by Angler’s Paradise, a weekly television show which airs Sundays on Comcast/Charter Sports. Cothran said commercials for Selma will appear on the television show for 16 weeks. &uot;That in itself is a $5,000 value,&uot; Cothran said.

Highlights from the tournament will also appear on the television show and Selma will receive mentions in print, on radio and television.

Cothran said that the tournament has guaranteed at least 70 participating boats. With about 140 fishers, 75 family members and several spectators, Selma can expect to reel in a boatload of sales and lodging tax.

Cothran added that all participants will fill out questionnaires detailing where they stayed and how much money they spent while in town. The information will be given to the Centre for Commerce.

The fun officially starts Friday at noon, but Cothran noted fishers might be practicing on the Alabama River a few days before the tournament. This is to give the fishers a chance to find the spot they want to use on Saturday.

On Friday, participants will gather on the far side of the Edmund-Pettus Bridge for a &uot;parade&uot; to the marina. It’s expected they’ll resume fishing after the caravan reaches the river.

On Friday night names will be drawn from a hat determining which professional is matched with which rookie.

The tournament begins Saturday morning at &uot;safe light.&uot;

Safe light is the time when enough sunlight exists to safely get out on the water. Fishers will have until 3 p.m. to catch their fish and return to the marina for the weigh in.

Spectators are welcome at the event.

The marina is reached by traveling west on Dallas Avenue from Broad Street.

Immediately after crossing Valley Creek, turn left onto Marina Drive and follow it to the marina.