The annual Jacksonville Rotary Club Bass Tournament was begun in 2000 as a fundraiser for the club’s community activities. The 40 team buddy tournament is held the week before the lake opens on Lake Jacksonville with the assistance of the staff of the Jacksonville Parks and Lakes office. Applications are mailed and available in mid-February with an opportunity for anglers to compete for the “big Bass” as well as to weigh a maximum five fish to win the prize money. Prizes are awarded to the top eight teams. In addition to the prize money, Falcon fishing rods have been won by two lucky teams.
The Rotary tournament has funded or assisted many community events. One year, a fishing dock for children and handicapped individuals was constructed. Another year, Rotary helped with a fish replacement program. Over the 18 years, approximately $150,000 has been raised. The first year the tournament was held in 2000 and only 16 boats entered; however, as the tournament increased in popularity and reputation, the maximum 40 boats participated.