Reviewed by: Sarah Gronberg
We sat down with Buddy Vines, the sixth-generation owner of a popular fish camp on the outskirts of Birmingham, to learn more about the property. Keep reading to learn the fascinating and fun history of one of Birmingham’s oldest businesses.
Buddy Vines Fishing Camp has been family-owned since the beginning
Buddy Vines Fishing Camp, founded in 1915, has been family-owned since the very beginning. Buddy Vines’ great-great grandfather settled the land before Alabama was even a state. In the year that the Bankhead Lock and Dam turned the Locust Fork branch of the Black Warrior River into a much larger waterway, Vines’ grandfather started the fishing camp.
In 1915, cabins were built on the banks of the Locust fork of the Warrior River. A small sawmill was down on the southern end of the camp, and cottages were built from wood that was harvested on the property. Back then, the price to rent a cottage for a year was equal to the price spent to build it. In the year 1915, it cost $15 to build a cottage, so the rent was just a little over $1 a month.
Fun fact: during the first few years, they had to stop weekend rentals after several married politicians were caught entertaining girlfriends there.
Buddy Vines Fishing Camp today
Now the camp has 15 cottages and 14 camper spots. Everyone who stays at the camp is a member. Most families have been coming for years and have built a close community at the camp. Parents let their kids run wild without worrying if they’re going to be safe.
Buddy’s wife Maria does all the books for the camp and helps run the camp. Buddy spends most of his time trying to improve the camp—from trimming trees to cutting grass or building piers and sea walls.
“The thing I enjoy the most is seeing our members enjoy the camp. Seeing kids grow up as I did on the river fishing, riding in their golf carts, interacting with other members and grilling out and just having a great time. It absolutely warms my heart to see people love this property the way that I love it.”Buddy Vines
“We’re really, we may be the owners on paper, but we’re just the caretakers for the next generation. Our members here are just like family, in fact that we consider them family members, and they might knock on our door at anytime, day or night, and they’re welcome here.”Maria Vines
Buddy believes the thing that really makes the camp different is the people. He shared that their members are those that can count on each other in tough times—and they like to have a good time.
Buddy and Maria hope their two daughters will run the camp when they’re gone and that it will be open for at least another 115 years.