1932-2005 / Fishing Lure Capital of the World
William Thomas "Tom" Mann
Family man, entrepreneur and bass angler legend, Tom Mann, achieved fame as a fishing lure designer/manufacturer and helped put Lake Eufaula on the map with his popular television shows. With an investment of $5, he and his wife, Ann, started Mann's Bait Company in 1958. Later, he would launch Humminbird Industries and Southern Plastics. Because of his business acumen, he made Eufaula the hub of the fishing lure industry. Mann developed the Junior Fisherman Program, was the owner of the Fish World fresh water aquarium, and made Leroy Brown the most famous bass in the country. Mann helped his lifetime friend and fellow industry pioneer Ray Scott start Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Mann qualified for seven BASS Master Classics with four top-five finishes. He was inducted into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2003 and was named by the Alabama Tourism Department as one of Alabama's "most unforgettable faces." To recognize his achievements, U.S. 431, between mile markers 72 & 73 has been declared the Tom Mann Memorial Highway.
Fishing Lure Capital of the World
Tom Mann's pioneering vision in the fishing industry helped establish Eufaula as the "fishing lure capital of the world. In his 2002 autobiography,
"Think Like a Fish he describes how he started a small home-based business that eventually generated auxiliary industries with a multimillion-dollar annual cash flow. The Jellyworm and the "Little George," named after Alabama Governor George Wallace, were among his most noteworthy products. Today, more fishing lures are manufactured in the Eufaula area than in any other part of the world. Companies that Mann started include Mann's Bait Co. and Southern Plastics. This inspired other entrepreneurs who started Eufaula Manufacturing, D & J Plastics, Big Bite Baits and Strikezone Lures. Together, these six companies, create millions of fishing lures annually, establishing Eufaula as the "Fishing Lure Capital of the World."