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Hot Springs will host the $100,000 Mr. Crappie Invitational fishing tournament and the inaugural Crappie Expo Oct. 4-6, Visit Hot Springs announced in a news release.

One hundred of the top crappie-fishing teams in America will compete in the Mr. Crappie Invitational on Lake Hamilton, which also is to be the site, for the second year in a row, of the FLW Forrest Wood Cup World Championship of Bass Fishing in August.

Wally Marshall of Anna, Texas, known around the world as "Mister Crappie," is the organizer of the Expo and Invitational tournament, the release said.

The Crappie Expo will include over 100 crappie-related companies from across the country, including boat manufacturers and tackle dealers, along with fishing guides, seminar speakers, country music concerts, and the "World's Largest Crappie Fry," Marshall said in the release.

The tournament and expo will be headquartered at the Hot Springs Convention Center. All events will be free and open to the public.

"For the first time in fishing history, crappie fishing in America will have an expo and a tournament of this scale," Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said in the release. "This great event once again highlights another species of fish that can be caught in our local lakes along with all the other great species. Hot Springs has been proud to highlight the best in bass fishing in past tournaments and we are thrilled to help shine the spotlight on crappie fishing and its best anglers."

The tournament will draw crappie-fishing teams from across the country, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas, Marshall said.

The 100 teams will take off at 7 a.m. Oct. 4 from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ramp on Lake Hamilton. Spectators will be welcome to come and learn from the crappie pros, the release said.

At the first weigh-in at 3 p.m. Oct. 4, the 100 teams will be cut to 50 teams to compete on Oct. 5.

The 50 teams will take off again at 7 a.m. Oct. 5 from the ramp and fish until 2 p.m., at which time the weigh-in will be held at the Crappie Expo in the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The 50 Teams will be cut to 25 teams for the Mr. Crappie Invitational Championship on Oct. 6, taking off at 7 a.m. from the ramp on Lake Hamilton.

The championship weigh-in will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Crappie Expo to crown the winner of the "largest crappie tournament payout in crappie fishing history."

Marshall said the Crappie Expo will be a family friendly event free and open to the public.

"It will be a great opportunity for fishermen to come enjoy all the vendors, bait displays, boat manufacturers' displays and the opportunity to win two free fishing boats that will be given away -- one on Saturday and one on Sunday," Marshall said. "No purchase is needed to win one of the boats, but entrants must obtain a free ticket at the expo and must be present to win."

He said the AGFC will have crappie in waterholes at the expo where children can see and catch the fish.

Marshall said the World's Largest Crappie Fry will start at 11 a.m. Oct. 5, in the parking area on the south side of the convention center. Free tickets to the crappie fry will be given out at booths inside the expo. He said the free fish would be given away until the supply of fillets runs out.

Marshall has been putting on the Big Crappie Classic fishing tournament at locations around the country for 10 years, the release said.

For more information about the tournament and expo, or to reserve a booth, call Marshall at 214-683-4759 email [email protected], or visit

Local on 02/24/2019

Print Headline: City to host $100K Crappie fishing tournament, expo in October

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