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The Fishing League Worldwide will return with the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton.

The world championship of bass fishing is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs, and will feature 52 of the world's best bass-fishing professionals vying for the sport's top award -- $300,000 cash, a news release said.

Hot Springs and Lake Ouachita have played host to the tournament four times, the release said. Previously, the tournament has been held on Lake Hamilton one time in 2005.

"In that event Hot Springs' local legend, pro angler George Cochran, won the event literally in his own backyard, catching key fish on a buzzbait about 300 yards from his house. He attacked the shallows of Lake Hamilton with a trip of topwater baits to earn a decisive final-day victory and the illustrious title," the release said.

Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said the excitement is already building around the event which, in 2018, he said drew more than 63,000 attendees.

"This year we've got Trace Adkins playing the final day of the tournament and they've added the kayak fishing tournament which is exciting," Arrison told The Sentinel-Record. "Of course, we have the expo returning. It's a good family event all for free. People are getting excited. It's going to be bigger and better than ever.

"I think Justin Moore had a good draw and we've had him two times in a row, but I'm pleased with their selection of Trace Adkins because a lot of people are really excited about him."

Lake Hamilton offers only about 7,200 surface acres, but according to the release, it "fishes big enough for 52 pros" thanks to the miles of shoreline, docks and brush piles.

"It's interesting, I've had people telling me that they're seeing a lot of the fishermen pre-fishing on Lake Hamilton," Arrison said. "Previously, it was held on Lake Ouachita, but this year on Lake Hamilton the fishermen are really taking advantage of that pre-fishing time to find their spots for next week."

Polaris pro and four-time Angler of the Year David Dudley, of Lynchburg, Va., said in the release he is excited for the chance at bass-fishing's top prize of $300,000. Key wins in his career include the 2003 FLW Cup on James River where he won $500,000, and the 2002 Ranger M1 Millennium on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta worth $700,000, the release said.

Dudley said anglers will find Lake Hamilton displaying typical summertime patterns.

"Summertime fishing is always tough, but they'll be biting," Dudley said. "Hamilton is a small lake, but it has miles and miles of shoreline so I think it'll fish pretty big. It's going to be a grind, but I'd expect nothing less in August."

Tennessee's Brad Knight, who won the 2015 FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita said in the release he thinks the winning angler will need to boat 13 pounds per day to earn the title.

Anglers will take off from the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery, located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs, at 6:30 a.m. each morning, with daily weigh-ins held at 5 p.m. at Bank OZK Arena, 134 Convention Blvd.

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack was announced earlier this month and will be held on Lake Ouachita. The tournament will feature top kayak bass anglers from around the country competing for a for a total prize package of $18,000, with winners being recognized on the FLW stage, the release said.

The FLW Expo will be held each day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with activities, giveaways and games hosted by more than 40 FLW sponsors and showcasing the latest gear from more than 100 exhibitors -- including the expo's new Kayak Village.

A Ranger boat simulator, casting pond and a trout pond for children, as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with top professional anglers, including Hank Parker, Jimmy Houston, and many more also awaits fishing fans, it said.

On Aug. 10 and 11, the first 250 children each day 14 and younger will receive a voucher to redeem for a free rod-and-reel combo from Shakespeare rods after the evening's weigh-in. Children must be accompanied by an adult to receive the voucher.

On Aug. 10, one attendee will win a brand new Jackson Kayak Coosa FD following the weigh-in, and on Aug. 11 a new Ranger Z521L bass boat with a 250-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor will be awarded, the release said. The Kayak and Ranger Boat giveaways are free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of each day's final weigh-in to win.

The Bass & BBQ Festival will again be held in partnership with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and feature award-winning barbecue teams raising money for local charities. The festival will run all three days of the tournament from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Country music superstar Trace Adkins will perform a free concert on the weigh-in stage at the Bank OZK Arena on Aug. 11, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in. The concert is presented by Realtree and KSSN 96. Adkins' performance will also be live-streamed to fans around the globe at http://www.flwfishing.com.

The Morning Takeoff, FLW Expo, Bass & BBQ event, live concert and weigh-ins are all free and open to the public, the release said.

Television coverage of the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton will premiere in the fall of 2019. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network, the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America, the release said.

FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and South Africa, according to the release.

Local on 07/30/2019

Print Headline: Hot Springs readies for FLW's return

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