NEXT MONTH, Texas Fish & Game will celebrate its thirty-fifth anniversary. But this month, we’re celebrating the same milestone of one of our partners in this great business we we’re both lucky to be a part of.
Sealy Outdoors is exactly one month older than TF&G. They have been producing the Big Bass Splash fishing tournaments since April 1984, and in doing so virtually re-invented the concept of tournament fishing.
For one thing, the Sealy tournaments are for amateurs only—no pros or guides allowed. Yet, the crowds of spectators drawn to their events rival those of the professional bass circuits.
Another unique feature pioneered by Sealy is the hourly winners competition. Throughout each day of each tournament, anglers weigh in their best catches and can win cash prizes from as many as 15 places in a single hour, with top prizes in the thousands of dollars. Sealy’s events have offered total payouts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prize packages that include boats, trucks and other huge-ticket items. These payouts, like the crowds the tournaments draw, also rival the winnings offered by the professional competitions, giving credence to Sealy’s long-standing slogan, “Where Amateurs Win Like Pros.”
The Big Bass Splash was the brainchild of Bob Sealy, who, along with his wife and partner Donna, host tournaments each year at Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend and Lake Fork, as well as several tournaments in other states. Each of these events draws thousands of entries, making the series one of the largest—if not the largest—tournament series in the nation.
To mark their 35th anniversary, Bob, Donna, and their daughter Nicole Sealy Bennett (who joined the family business several years ago) have organized their biggest event yet, scheduled for April 26-28 at Sam Rayburn.
They are guaranteeing more than $1 Million in cash and prizes with First Place overall—the biggest bass caught over the three days—winning a sportsman package worth $300,000 that will include a RAM pickup, 5th wheel trailer and a powered and trailered Triton boat. Second through fifth largest fish win cash prizes ranging from $100,000 to $25,000 and the hourly payout will total a whopping $376,950. Biggest fish each hour wins $5,000 and there will be 15 cash winners each hour. Additional prizes will include $10,000 awards to the first anglers with fish weighing exactly 3.00, 4.00 and 5.00 pounds, an “Elimination” drawing for a new Triton boat, five $500 Academy gift cards, and a $15,000 UTV.
No wonder almost 8,000 anglers are expected to enter this year’s Anniversary event.
TEXAS FISH & GAME and Sealy Outdoors have been collaborating sponsors of each other’s respective enterprises for more than twenty years. It has been a fruitful partnership that has greatly benefitted both sides. Hundreds of thousands of our readers have learned about this rich tournament series through our pages, and our audience base has been enriched by the addition of thousands of avid bass anglers who have become regular subscribers.
By making such a dramatic financial commitment, backed by a truly innovative event structure, Bob and Donna Sealy have created a remarkable engine for driving interest and enthusiasm into the sport of fishing. On top of that, their tournaments support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Bob Sealy, a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, says that he believes his purpose in life is to give back to worthy causes and to help people. What he, Donna and Nicole have accomplished over the past 35 years has certainly fulfilled that purpose. Get more details at sealyoutdoors.com.