Tourney Triumphs: Barbara “Bobby” Wells recalls first TIFT

Special to the PRESS

With the 79th Annual Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT) commencing this week, the PRESS visited with veteran tournament participant Barbara “Bobby” Wells, who reminisced about her experiences in the world-renowned event.

“‘What’s TIFT?’ is like asking ‘What’s Christmas?’ around here”, said Wells, who has attended every TIFT tournament since the first annual tourney in 1934.

Not many Laguna Madre locals participated in TIFT — then called the Tarpon Fishing Rodeo — in its early days. Port Isabel was a humble fishing town in the 1930s, and the tournament was established as a promotional tool for the area. Only the more affluent adult population of the region could afford the $5 entry fee, and these anglers tended to come from the northern parts of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.

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