While the Saltwater Classic has come to a close, its financial impact becomes a never ending circle. That's because all the proceeds from the sport fishing contest go to help build artificial reefs, ones that will draw both fish and fishermen alike.
At the Saltwater Classic in Carrabelle, Florida you'll find plenty of fishermen, plenty of huge catches and plenty of reasons to continue the tradition. That's because year after year the tournament grows, bringing with it a large economic boost that's good for fishermen of all sorts.
All proceeds benefit the Organization for Artificial Reefs. The program, also known as OAR, creates artificial reefs using natural materials such as the old St. George Island Bridge.
Scott Vascavage, OAR Director, says, “We've been taking old bridge, making an artificial reef that's one and a half mile long and one-fourth mile wide.”
Lyle Floyd, an OAR official, adds, “It's about three fourths done. They've made over 25 drops off bridge, that's the big project now.”
The idea is to create a habitat where aquatic life can thrive. Once this is achieved the fish will proceed towards the reef.
Scott says, “Typically in [the] Big Bend we don't have coral reefs like south Florida, [a] lot of the bottom consists of natural limestone outcroppings.”
Vascavage says by building these reefs the fish find safe havens and fishermen find the jackpot, making tournaments like these even more memorable. OAR officials say fishermen are already reaping the benefits of the old bridge's reef, reeling in some Red Snapper, Gag Grouper and King Fish.