If Lebanon’s Troy Holley spent much more time on the water, he’d start sprouting gills and fins.
“Most of the time when I’m not working, I’m fishing,” says Holley, who figures he gets in an average of three days a week on area lakes throughout the year fishing primarily for bass and the occasional bonus rockfish.
In fact, he was on Old Hickory Lake one morning last week when he was interviewed for this story by cell phone.
He had put in a 12-hour night shift at BBA Fiberweb in Madison, gone home, loaded up his boat and tackle, and headed for the lake without any sleep. He had his first bass in the boat by 8 a.m.
“I started fishing when I was about six,” says Holley, 49, and I’ve been going at it ever since.”
Holley sometimes uses his hobby to turn a profit. He fishes a number of tournaments, and recently won one sponsored by his company at Kentucky Lake.
He took first place in the BBA Fiberweb Tournament in two categories -- total pounds of fish, and single big fish, a 7.2-pound largemouth.
The two prizes totaled $420, not a lot by today’s major tournament standards in which payouts can reach six figures. But, says Holley, it’s always nice to get paid for doing something he enjoys.
“We have some serous fishermen in the tournaments, and I enjoy the competition,” he says. “It’s fun, and the money comes in handy.”
The BBA Fiberweb Tournament was the season finale for a six-even series that began in the spring. It is a spin-off from the Dupont Sportsman’s Club that was organized a half-century ago.
Holley also fishes the Renegade Music City Tournament series with partner Kevin Yarborough.
The Renegade series consists of regional competitions held around the U.S., starting February and running through September. Much of the regional competition is held on area lakes such as Old Hickory and Percy Priest.
Regional winners compete in a year-end fish-off. The prize is a new boat.
The Renegade Tournament has a website that offers detailed information about the series, including lake sites and entry requirements.
Holley has four sons, one of which, Brock, 12, shares his dad’s passion for fishing.
“He’s a good fisherman and we enjoy getting out together every chance we get,” says Holley.
While some other tournament fishermen may go after larger paychecks – bigger fish in bigger ponds, so to speak -- none is more dedicated to angling than Holley.
“I’m out there just about every free minute,” he says. “Do I ever get burned out or tired of it? No, not a bit. As soon as I get back from one trip, I start planning the next one.”