HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK — Get hooked on fishing and learn from some of the best in the crappie-fishing world at the inaugural Mr. Crappie Invitational and Crappie Expo in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Oct. 4-6.
One hundred of America’s top crappie-fishing teams have been invited to compete for $100,000 on Lake Hamilton, one of the most popular boating and angling destinations in Arkansas.
On Friday through Sunday, the anglers invited to the tournament will fish Lake Hamilton with take-off scheduled for 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will take place at the Hulsey Hatchery ramp on Friday and at Bank OZK Convention Center Saturday and Sunday. Spectators will be welcome to follow anglers throughout the day to learn how they dissect a lake and use a particular technique, but are reminded to please keep a respectful distance.
While the anglers are on the water, Bank OZK Arena will be full of exhibitors from across the country, working to make everyone’s next trip to the water a success. The family-friendly expo will be full of all sorts of displays as well as vendors selling the latest lures and gear for crappie fishing.
Wally Marshall of Anna, Texas, known around the world as Mister Crappie, organized the Expo and Invitational tournament to be the largest celebration of crappie fishing in the world.
“The Crappie Expo will consist of over 100 crappie-related companies from all over the U.S.A. displaying all of their products,” Marshall said. “We’ll have boat manufacturers, tackle dealers, fishing guides, seminar speakers, country music concerts, plus the world’s largest crappie fry.”
Marshall said his vision for the expo was to hold the world’s largest crappie store under one roof, not only for the fans, but also the vendors.
“I wanted to put something together where the people who make the lures and equipment have a chance to talk one-on-one with the anglers who use their products,” Marshall said. “Manufacturers learn all the time from anglers on how they’ve made tweaks to lures and other products to make them better, and I want to help make that happen. And any crappie fanatic looking to purchase the latest and greatest crappie products on the market will have everything right in front of them.”
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Berkley Fishing will have large mobile aquariums at the Expo to help educate attendees on fish found in Arkansas and anglers’ favorite lures to chase them.
Marshall said the World’s Largest Crappie Fry will be on Saturday, October 5, starting at 11 a.m. in the parking area behind the Convention Center. Free tickets to the crappie fry will be given out at booths inside the Expo. The free fish will be given away until the supply of fillets runs out.